AcupunctureChronic pain can be tough to cope with, and acupuncture is often overlooked as a potential source of relief. Find out who it can help, the types of pain it can treat, and how it works, to help you decide if it’s something you ought to try.

Who should consider this treatment

There’s a wide range of people who could benefit from trying acupuncture (AP). For some people, AP is a last resort since all mainstream treatments have failed. For others, it’s a first choice because they don’t tolerate their prescribed pain medications or other treatments, or flat out don’t want to use them. And finally, some people are hoping to augment the results of other remedies that are only providing partial relief.

Types of pain that can be treated with acupuncture

AP can be used to treat many types of pain, including pain associated with the following conditions:

-muscle pain (e.g., neck and back pain)

-joint pain, such as from osteoarthritis

-chronic headache

There are many more conditions than those listed above that can be helped with AP, so if you don’t see yours there, be sure to ask your practitioner if it would benefit from this treatment method.


AP has many advantages, including the fact that compared to pain medication it has a lower rate of complications and side effects when performed by a practitioner who is experienced and has the proper training. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about AP interacting with your other medications.

How it works

During treatment, very fine needles will be inserted at specific points in your body (the location they’re placed depends on the condition being treated). According to traditional Chinese medicine, doing so in the right way will stimulate invisible meridians that contain life energy (called “qi” and pronounced “chee”) and bring balance to the body. Many practitioners use modern medical terms to describe how it works. For example, they might say it helps pain by stimulating the release of specific hormones or neurotransmitters.

Most people start with weekly treatments, then as improvement is noticed, they gradually increase the time between appointments.

If you’re looking for pain solutions, ask about acupuncture

Many people worry that it won’t be effective, but more and more studies are proving that AP can indeed reduce pain by a significant amount. And in some cases, patients report that their pain has gone away completely after treatment. Either way, if you’re not satisfied with your current pain management options for any reason, it’s worth taking the time to find out if AP might be suitable for your situation.