Chronic pain is a major reason that people will seek treatment at our clinic. This is reflected in the broader public, as 1 in 5 Australians live with chronic pain at any one time. Over the age of 65, it is 1 in 3 Australians who are affected. This statistic is expected to increase as the population ages (Pain Australia, 2018). The use of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic pain has a body of evidence to support its effectiveness.
Presented below are a number of systematic reviews and meta-analysis that have found acupuncture to be useful in the management of chronic pain.
- Vickers et. al. (2012) found that acupuncture was associated with a greater pain reduction when compared to no intervention in the treatment of non-specific musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, shoulder pain
- Yuan et. al. (2016) assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture in pain reduction for a number of conditions including neck pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, osteoarthritis, temporomandibular joint pain, fibromayalgia and rheumatic arthritis. This study found a moderate pain reduction for musculoskeletal pain and acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture in the treatment of chronic neck pain, shoulder pain, temporomandibular joint pain. It found no difference between the fibromyalgia groups when compared to sham acupuncture and for the other groups there was insufficient evidence.
- Vickers and Linde (2014) again reported upon whether or not there were benefits of acupuncture in the management of pain. It found acupuncture is associated with improved pain outcomes when compared to no acupuncture or sham acupuncture.
- Liu et. al. (2015) conducted an overview of a number of systematic reviews and found that "systematic reviews of variable quality showed that acupuncture, either used in isolation or as an adjunct to conventional therapy, provides short-term improvements in pain and function for chronic LBP".
- The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association recently released a literature review of the conditions that acupuncture can be useful in treating. It found strong evidence for acupuncture in the treatment of chronic low back pain, chronic headache, knee osteoarthritis and post operative pain. It also found moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture for cancer pain, lateral elbow pain (tennis elbow), neck pain, plantar heel pain, post stroke shoulder pain, sciatica, shoulder impingement syndrome (frozen shoulder) and Temporomandibular pain (TMJ).
This research establishes the benefit of acupuncture in the treatment and support of chronic pain. For some conditions there is strong evidence and for others there is moderate evidence of a positive effect. It was also said that when treating low back pain, it is safe and well tolerated but as with any other therapy, it can be occasionally associated with adverse effects in individual cases(McDonald & Janz, 2016). Don't let chronic pain take control of you this year, consider acupuncture and give our clinic a call to see how we can help you.
Based in Melbourne, the Coburg Acupuncture clinic is located in the heart of Coburg on Sydney Rd and provides Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage and cupping services. The Coburg Clinic services people from Coburg and surrounding Northern suburbs such as Brunswick, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Fawkner, Thornbury, Northcote. We have a special interest in working with musculoskeletal and pain disorders, anxiety, stress, fertility, IVF, and woman's health.
Call us to arrange an appointment on 03 9041 6569 or click the button below to book an appointment online.
Liu, L., Skinner, M., McDonough, S., Mabire, L., & Baxter, G. D. (2015). Acupuncture for Low Back Pain: An Overview of Systematic Reviews. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2015, 328196. http://doi.org/10.1155/2015/328196
McDonald, John & Janz, Stephen. (2016). The Acupuncture Evidence Project : A Comparative Literature Review (Revised). Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, Coorparoo
Pain Australia. (2018). Painful Facts. Retrieved 15 January 2017, from http://www.painaustralia.org.au/about-pain/painful-facts
Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, Lewith G, MacPherson H, Foster NE, Sherman KJ, Witt CM, Linde K, Acupuncture Trialists' Collaboration FT. (2012). Acupuncture for Chronic PainIndividual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. (19):1444–1453. http://doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654
Vickers, A. J., & Linde, K. (2014). Acupuncture for chronic pain. JAMA : The Journal of the American Medical Association, 311(9), 955–956. http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2013.285478
Yuan, Q.L, Wang, P., Liu, L., Sun, F., Cai, Y.S., Wu, W.T., Ye, M.L., Ma, J.T., Xu, B.B., & Zhang Y.G. (2016). Acupuncture for musculoskeletal pain: A meta-analysis and meta-regression of sham controlled randomized clinical trials. Scientific Reports. 6. http://doi:10.1038/srep30675