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Acupuncture for Pain

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Acupuncture is a treatment technique that requires the insertion of very thin needles through a person’s skin at specific points on the body to various depths. Research suggest that this method can be used to help relieve pain, but is also used for a wide range of

other issues.

It is claimed that acupuncture can help to boost well-being and may even cure a variety of illnesses. It is most commonly used for overall wellness and stress management, but has been used to treat:

  • chemotherapy-induced/ postoperative nausea and vomiting

  • dental pain

  • headaches (tension and migraine)

  • labor pain

  • low back pain

  • neck pain

  • osteoarthritis

  • muscle cramps

  • respiratory disorders

The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure, but many people find it helpful as a means to control a variety of painful conditions.

The initial evaluation and treatment may take up to 60 minutes. Subsequent appointments may take less time. A common treatment plan for a single issue would normally involve one or two treatments a week. The number of treatments will depend on the condition being treated and its severity. It’s generally common to receive six to eight treatments.

Acupuncture points are situated in all areas of the body. Sometimes the appropriate points are far removed from the area of your pain. Your acupuncture practitioner will tell you the general site of the planned treatment and whether you need to remove any clothing. A gown, towel or sheet will be provided. You lie on a padded table for the treatment, which involves:

  • Needle insertion: The needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes little discomfort. Between five and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. You may feel a mild aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth

  • Needle manipulation: Your practitioner may gently move or twirl the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles.

  • Needle removal: In most cases, the needles remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no discomfort when the needles are removed.


Several studiesindicate that some types of simulated acupuncture appear to work just as well as real acupuncture. There’s also evidence that acupuncture works best in people who expect it to work.

Acupuncture has few side effects, so it may be worth a try if you’re having trouble

controlling pain with more-conventional methods.

If your symptoms don’t begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not

be right for you.

**Ask your primary care physician if acupuncture is safe for you **Ask acupuncturist how likely it is that the treatment will fix your issue specifically

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