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Acupuncture Is Safer and Effective for Pain

Suzanna treats knee pain with acupuncture and more.

Acupuncture Relieves Pain!

Acupuncture has been found to be more effective for reducing the intensity of osteoarthritic pain than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and Tylenol. (Davis, 2017)

A meta-analysis of 82 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that included nearly 18,000 patients, provided solid evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain for patients experiencing back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and chronic headaches. The researchers concluded that, “Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo.” (Vickers, A. et al. 2012)

Electroacupuncture Is Especially Good for Nerve Pain 

Two more recent studies proved the effectiveness of electroacupuncture for neuropathic pain. (Ren, W. et al, 2012 and Zhang et al, 2018)

Another recent study demonstrated that electroacupuncture benefitted patients in many ways including: lessoning the inflammatory response, reducing pain, and preventing myelin destruction. (Liu, et al, 2016)

FDA Warns Against Epidural Injections

In 2014, the U.S. FDA issued a “Medwatch Alert” to warn the public that epidural steroid injections (ESI’s) for back and neck pain can be very dangerous. The alert states that, “Injection of corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine may result in rare but serious adverse events, including loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death.”

Gabapentin Blocks Nerve-Communication Cells

According to Stanford University School of Medicine research, the nerve-pain reducing medications, gabapentin (Neurontin) and the more potent pregabalin (Lyrica) work by halting the formation of new neural synapses - important connections between nerve cells - by interrupting functioning of astrocytes, the most abundant nerve-supporting cells in the CNS. It was further noted that these drugs easily cross the blood-placenta barrier and could interfere with fetal brain development. Based on these findings, physicians now carefully consider how and when they prescribe gabapentin and lyrica.



Davis, R. et al. “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain in the Vermont Medicaid Population: A Prospective, Pragmatic Intervention Trial.” Global Advances in Health and Medicine 7 (2018): 2164956118769557. PMC. Web. 7 July 2018. 

Liu, H. et al., Analgesic Effects and Neuropathology Changes of Electroacupuncture on Curing a Rat Model of Brachial Plexus Neuralgia Induced by Cobra Venom. Pain Physician. 2016 Mar;19(3):E435-47. Web. 30 June 2018.

Ren, W. et al. “Electroacupuncture Improves Neuropathic Pain: Adenosine, Adenosine 5’-Triphosphate Disodium and Their Receptors Perhaps Change Simultaneously.” Neural Regeneration Research 7.33 (2012): 2618–2623. PMC. Web. 2 July 2018.

Vickers, A. et al. “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis.” Archives of internal medicine 172.19 (2012): 1444–1453. PubMed Central Web. 2 July 2018.

United States Food and Drug Administration. FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA requires label changes to warn of rare but serious neurologic problems after epidural corticosteroid injections for pain. (2014) Web. 7 July 2018.

Zhang, H., et al. “Contralateral Electroacupuncture Relieves Chronic Neuropathic Pain in Rats with Spared Nerve Injury.” Medical Science Monitor?: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research 24 (2018): 2970–2974. PMC. Web. 30 June 2018.