Chronic pain is one of the most significant conditions affecting many people worldwide. Medical practitioners play a vital role in providing patients with several options to temporarily alleviate or improve these symptoms like medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. However, survey results have suggested that patients who suffer from chronic pains would like to consider alternative treatments and therapies that might provide them with better results.
One such therapy that has received attention is acupuncture, so it became the focal point of several studies in various countries. The results of one study were published in the May edition of the Journal of Pain, which includes a clinical study of acupuncture by researchers and Acupuncture trialists. It concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain.
Researchers also believe that the effects of acupuncture persist over time and that the benefits of acupuncture are a real and accurate phenomenon, occurring after several acupuncture treatment sessions.
Details of the study
In the 2012 meta-analysis, researchers have included patient data from various controlled trials published in 2008 and the updated data they gathered through their trials. They included patients with the following criteria:
- Patients who experienced neck pain, shoulder pain, osteoarthritis and chronic headache.
- Patients who have pain lasting at least one month for musculoskeletal disorders.
- Patients who have never received an acupuncture treatment before.
The research has incorporated data from 20,827 patients who participated in over 39 trials. More than half of the participants used acupuncture based on traditional Chinese techniques, while others used Western techniques or a combination of the two.
Acupuncture points were selected based on a fixed needle formula, and additional points were chosen based on each patient’s diagnosis or symptoms. The clinical trials consisted of six to fifteen acupuncture sessions. All of the participants received acupuncture one to two times per week.
Researchers have confirmed and also strengthened the previous findings that acupuncture demonstrated a clinically relevant effect on about 95% of the participants. In most cases, the positive effects persisted for at least a year after receiving the acupuncture treatment. Researchers added that the effects were due to the stimulation of the correct acupuncture points, and this contributed to the benefits derived from receiving acupuncture.
This research suggests that acupuncture is a viable alternative treatment for chronic pain, but it must only be administered by a licensed and experienced practitioner. Acupuncture can also help with many other conditions, including the symptoms of vertigo, menopause and hearing loss.