In May 2018, The Journal of Pain, Vol 19, No 5 published a new critical review in association with the American Pain Society regarding Acupuncture for chronic pain. Study link

The review was a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials regarding chronic pain management utilizing acupuncture. The analysis studied 39 individual trials, with a total of 20,827 patients that had either: chronic headaches, musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, or shoulder pain. The main outcomes the studies measured were pain level and function.

According to the analysis, Acupuncture was superior to sham as well as no acupuncture control group for each pain condition with the difference being .5 Standard deviation and .2 standard deviations. They also “found clear evidence that the effects of acupuncture persist over time with only a small decrease, approximately 15%, in treatment effect at 1 year.” That last sentence is an important one that shows that not only did acupuncture benefit the patients while receiving treatments, but the results were still being felt by the patient 1 year later which is huge when we as a society are trying to deal with chronic pain and the heavy reliance on opioids to deal with chronic pain.

Their final perspective, which can be read in the initial abstract of the journal, is as follow:
“Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal, headache, and arthritis pain. Treatment effects of acupuncture persist over time and cannot be explained solely in terms of placebo effects. Referral for a course of acupuncture treatment is a reasonable option for a patient with chronic pain.”

If you or anybody you know has been dealing with chronic pain, acupuncture is definitely something worth trying, especially before needing to rely on opioids or requiring surgery. If you have any questions about if acupuncture can help you, or would like to schedule an appointment, feel free to give me a call at (360) 892-4355 or email me at