Does Acupuncture Work for Pain Relief?

Acupuncture may be the most popular Chinese’s traditional technique. It is thought can help provide numerous health benefits. Even many professional therapists believe that it can help ease pain of many different health conditions, too.

How does acupuncture work?

It is an age-old healing Chinese therapy in which some needles (thin needles) are inserted and pointed at specific points of the body. Many people of western countries (such as USA, UK, and France) have tried and used it to help relieve pain.

It can help release a positive energy called ‘chi or the body’s vital energy’ by stimulating crucial points along 14 energy pathways.

Some people worry that taking this therapy is painful. Does it really hurt? Well, the needles for acupuncture are very thin. So, you should feel almost no pain when they are inserted. But soreness may occur in some people.

Scientifically, the use of needles in acupuncture may stimulate the body to release natural painkillers called endorphins. Furthermore, the needles may help improve the blood circulation in the body.

What is acupuncture for?

However, some experts suspect that this traditional therapy only cause placebo effect. It only works when people believe it will.

But in fact, there are also lots of medical practitioners that recommend this therapy to help ease pain of the following conditions.


Some experts believe that it may help ease pain of migraines /tension headaches. According to some studies, people taking it experienced fewer days with headaches or migraines than those taking conventional care.

Low back pain

If you are looking for alternative treatment for your low back pain, acupuncture may be one of your options. One large study found that acupuncture may work better than conventional treatment for low back pain.

Arthritis Pain

Arthritis is a group of joint problems. There are several forms of arthritis, and osteoarthritis (OA) is one of them. Even OA is the most common type.

And according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, acupuncture may be helpful to be used for complementary therapy along with the conventional treatment for osteoarthritis.

Fibromyalgia pain

It is a widespread pain condition with unknown cause. Yap, the exact reason and cause of this long-term condition is not known yet. However, it is thought as the result from the abnormality of certain chemical levels in the brain and central nervous system.

Does acupuncture really work for fibromyalgia pain? The results of studies that have analyzed this issue come with mixed-results. While some found that it may help ease fibromyalgia pain, others found nothing.

Dental Pain

Some studies show that the use of acupuncture may help provide dental pan relief such as in tooth extraction or dental surgery.

Pain of carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be so painful. The pain usually comes with other classic symptoms such as numbness and tingling sensation. It occurs when median nerve that has crucial function to help control the movement and sensation in the hands is compressed and inflamed.

Steroid pills are one of treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome. According to a Taiwan study, the use of acupuncture may work better than the use of steroid pills.

However, while this study and other similar studies have been promising, but overall acupuncture is not officially recommended yet for carpal tunnel syndrome. More studies may be required for more evidence!

Other pain conditions

For many years, acupuncture also has been used for muscle pain, tennis elbow, neck pain, menstrual cramps, or just for alternative treatment (hoping to avoid conventional medicines and the potential side effects).

WHO has listed about more than 20 health conditions that sometimes can be treated with acupuncture for alternative treatment!