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In the News: Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

shirleyli / 2013-02-28
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In the News: Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

A recent NCCAM-funded study, employing individual patient data meta-analyses published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, provides the most rigorous evidence to date that acupuncture may be helpful for chronic pain. In addition, results from the study provide robust evidence that the effects of acupuncture on pain are attributable to two components. The larger component includes factors such as the patient’s belief that treatment will be effective, as well as placebo and other context effects. A smalleracupuncture-specific component involves such issues as the locations of specific needling points or depth of needling.

Although millions of Americans use acupuncture each year, often for chronic pain, there has been considerable controversy surrounding its value as a therapy and whether it is anything more than an elaborate placebo. Research exploring a number of possible mechanisms for acupuncture’s pain-relieving effects is ongoing.


  • Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino A, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: a meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012.

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