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Surgery for Chronic Pain: Risky and Costly

does acupuncture help knee pain
Medpage Today
  • by Christopher Cheney, HealthLeaders MediaSeptember 23, 2018

There is inadequate evidence to justify surgical procedures to treat chronic pain, recent research shows.

“Given their high cost and safety concerns, more rigorous studies are required before invasive procedures are routinely used for patients with chronic pain,”researchers reported inPain Medicine.

Chronic pain is a widespread and costly condition in the United States, affecting more than 100 million people and costing as much as $635 billion annually.

The review of 25 clinical trials involved 2,000 patients with conditions including lower back pain, arthritis, angina, abdominal pain, and endometriosis.

Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide, and it’s often difficult to manage with conventional treatments. However, acupuncture has gained popularity as an effective alternative to traditional Western medicine. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, acupuncture may be a viable treatment option for chronic pain relief.


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body known as acupoints. The goal of acupuncture is to stimulate the flow of Qi (vital energy) and restore balance to the body’s energy systems. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating various types of pain, including lower back pain, osteoarthritis, and migraines.

Less Pain

The JAMA study looked at over 500 patients with chronic pain conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, and knee osteoarthritis. The participants were divided into two groups, one receiving acupuncture treatments and the other receiving sham acupuncture. The results showed that the group receiving actual acupuncture had a statistically significant improvement in their pain scores compared to the sham acupuncture group.

Endorphin Release

One explanation for acupuncture’s efficacy is its ability to promote the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Additionally, acupuncture may help reduce inflammation, a common factor in chronic pain conditions.

Low Risk

Moreover, acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a licensed practitioner. The most common side effects are mild bruising and soreness at the needle insertion sites, which usually resolve within a few days. However, it’s essential to discuss any medical conditions or medications you are taking before beginning acupuncture treatment.

In conclusion, acupuncture shows promising potential as a treatment option for chronic pain relief. The JAMA study adds to a growing body of research supporting the use of acupuncture as an effective alternative to traditional Western medicine. If you’re struggling with chronic pain and looking for a natural and non-invasive approach, acupuncture may be an excellent option to explore. It’s crucial to consult with a licensed acupuncturist to discuss the potential benefits and risks of treatment. Remember, acupuncture is a complementary therapy and should not replace conventional medical treatment without consultation with your physician.