Morning Report

Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: The Latest Research

Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH


November 17, 2017

Hello. I'm Dr Arefa Cassoobhoy, a practicing internist, Medscape advisor, and senior medical director for WebMD. Welcome to Morning Report, our 1-minute news story for primary care.

Another Option for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a major medical issue faced by many of our patients. And with the opioid epidemic, we're in greater need of more nonpharmacologic interventions. Acupuncture has emerged as a viable complementary treatment to conventional pain management.

An analysis of 29 higher-quality trials with almost 18,000 patients was presented at the Academy of Integrative Pain Management meeting. Acupuncture was statistically superior to both sham acupuncture and non-acupuncture for neck and lower back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, and chronic headache. Sham acupuncture and non-acupuncture also improved pain somewhat, so the power of placebo is clearly a factor that needs to be understood better.

Finding alternative therapies for pain, like acupuncture, is important, especially given our aging population. So consider it as a possible option, along with your standard treatment, the next time you're addressing chronic pain.

Follow Dr Cassoobhoy on Twitter at @ArefaMD


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