There are a lot of common questions I get as an Acupuncturist. One of the most common questions is "What conditions can Acupuncture help with?" So I would like to share five common conditions that Acupuncture treat from a research based position. Here are the top 5!
1. Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common conditions treated with Acupuncture. Regardless of the cause of low back pain, Acupuncture can be an excellent option in the treatment of low back pain. Researchers claim that up to 85% of people will experience low back pain at some in their life. A German study compared outcomes of 1162 patients with low back pain treated with real Acupuncture, sham Acupuncture (fake), or conventional treatments. Those who had Acupuncture were twice as likely to have significant reductions (at least 33%) of pain up to 6 months later.
As we get older, we all have the tendency to accumulate wear and tear injuries which produce pain. One of the most common pain conditions experienced as we mature is osteoarthritis. Acupuncture can be a great help for pain due to arthritis. A 2014 Australian study involving 282 people showed that Acupuncture was much better at relieving knee pain from osteoarthritis than no treatment at all. Other studies have shown similar results: Acupuncture is effective for treating osteoarthritis.
Temporomandibular Joint Pain (TMJ) is a very common condition people come in to Acupuncture for. TMJ often manifests as jaw pain however it can also affect other parts of the face, head, or around the ear. A 2007 double blind study published on Ncbi.gov looked at the efficacy of Acupuncture treatment for TMJ. It took place in the school of dentistry at the University of Manchester. Statistically, the results revealed that Acupuncture had a significant positive influence on TMJ pain over those who had “sham” Acupuncture.
Migraines are another pain condition treated effectively with Acupuncture. A 2008 research study published in Headwise Magazine, compared real Traditional Chinese Acupuncture with “sham” Acupuncture and a control group. Traditional Acupuncture was the only therapy that provided steady improvement other than migraine medication. The “sham” Acupuncture group only experienced short term improvement brought on by a placebo effect.
5. Neck Pain
Finally, Acupuncture is used frequently for neck pain. A large German study of 14,000 people looked at adding Acupuncture to usual and standard care for neck pain. Though the researchers did not test sham Acupuncture, they found that participants reported greater pain relief than those who did not receive it. The take away from these articles is that Acupuncture is not only good for various pain conditions, but that research is backing it up.
Michael Johnson, LAc. is a licensed acupuncturist at the Alaska Center for Natural Medicine. He enjoys Star Wars, Kung Fu, and listening to old records which no one listens to anymore. To learn more about Michael, read his bio (click here). To make an acupuncture appointment call ACNM's front desk 907.452.3600.
This article can also be seen in Alaska Center for Natural Medicine's Fall 2016 Newsletter.