One of the most common uses for acupuncture is in treating chronic pain. One analysis of the most robust studies available concluded that acupuncture has a clear effect in reducing chronic pain, more so than standard pain treatment. Study participants receiving acupuncture reported an average 50 percent reduction in pain, compared to a 28 percent pain reduction for standard pain treatment without acupuncture.
Even fibromyalgia pain, which can be difficult to treat and is associated with sleep problems, fatigue and depression, may be improved. In one study, 10 weeks of acupuncture decreased pain scores in fibromyalgia patients by an average of 41 percent, compared with 27 percent in those who received a sham procedure.
Acupuncture also appears to be a safe and effective treatment for relieving chronic pain in children. In a study of 55 children with chronic pain, those who received eight acupuncture sessions (each lasting about 30 minutes) reported significant reductions in pain and improved quality of life.
Archives of Internal Medicine 2012 Sep 10:1-10 [Epub ahead of print]
Acupunct Med. 2016 Feb 15.
Alternative and Complementary Therapies. December 2015, 21(6): 255-260.