Back & Neck Pain

 Back pain, sciatica, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, tennis elbow, wrist pain, peripheral neuropathy – all comprise the 150 diseases and syndromes known as Musculoskeletal conditions. The World Health Organisation includes these conditions when it states that it recognises that acupuncture is effective in treating 40 common conditions.

 The musculoskeletal system consists of connective tissues, including joints, tendons and ligaments. If there are problems with this musculoskeletal system then inflammation, pain and reduced health of the body can manifest. More and more people are looking for natural ways to get relief instead of relying on medications.

 The pain may differ from one individual to another and it could be chronic or acute. Rather than pain it could be discomfort. The nerves, bones or muscles could be involved. Whether it is due to an injury, “wear and tear”, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other cause, acupuncture can be very effective in relieving the discomfort or pain and improving quality of life too.

 Occasionally other Chinese treatment therapies may be used with acupuncture or on their own. These include Tui Na, cupping ,moxibustion or dietary and lifestyle advice.

 Apart from the positive results I see in my clinic, there have been numerous studies done with results showing the positive effects acupuncture can bring. As part of 2015 Acupuncture Awareness Week, the following conditions and studies were given:


Fibromyalgia, Low Back Pain & Osteoarthritis 

According to the 2013 report from Arthritis Research UK, acupuncture is the most effective form of complementary therapy for treating osteoarthritis, low back pain and fibromyalgia (Arthritis Research, 2013).

Frozen Shoulder 

(adhesive capsulitis), a common, painful and sometimes disabling condition that can last for months or years. The pragmatic German Randomised Acupuncture Trial for chronic shoulder pain (GRASP) showed that Chinese acupuncture is more effective than conventional standard therapy with NSAIDs and physiotherapy (Molsberger et al., 2010).

 Neck pain

In a study of 517 patients with neck pain of a median duration of 6 years, acupuncture treatment led to significant reductions in neck pain and associated disability compared with usual care at 12 months (MacPherson et al., 2013).

Knee pain 

In a study to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture with other relevant physical treatments for alleviating pain due to knee osteoarthritis, acupuncture treatment was found to be significantly better than standard care (Corbett et al., 2013).

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Affects 1 in 10 people and involves potentially disabling sensory and/or motor symptoms in the hand. Researchers in a 2010 RCT concluded that acupuncture was as effective as orthodox treatment of night splinting in terms of overall symptoms and function, and superior to it for pain control (Kumnerddee & Kaewtong, 2010).

 Tennis elbow

A systematic review of RCTs of acupuncture and moxabustion for lateral elbow pain showed that the acupuncture group had a significantly higher cured rate than conventional therapy, including prednisolone injection, triamcinolone acetonide, lidocaine injection and oral administration of meloxicam tablets (Gadau et al., 2014).

Plantar fasciitis

Researchers concluded that the results of a 2011 RCT showed that acupuncture can provide pain relief to patient with plantar fasciitis (Zhang et al., 2011).

Shin splints (tibial stress syndrome) In a 2002 clinical study of 40 athletes, those in the acupuncture groups experienced greater pain relief and took significantly fewer doses of NSAIDs during the course of the study than athletes in the sports medicine only group (Callison, 2002).

Patellofemoral pain syndrome

A systematic review of the quality of randomized controlled trials for patellofemoral pain syndrome concluded that acupuncture was effective in decreasing pain and improving function in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome (Bizzini et al., 2003).

Soft tissue disease

In a 1989 study, 360 observations were made on 120 cases of soft tissue injury divided into groups. The researchers concluded that acupuncture treatment on soft tissue disease based on TCM syndrome differentiation theory is thus shown to be effective (Yuan et al., 1989).

Achilles Tendinopathy 

Researchers found that compared with exercise therapy, acupuncture can produce significant and more rapid improvements in pain and activity levels in patients with chronic Achilles Tendinopathy (Zhang et al., 2013).

Performance & Recovery

A systematic review supports the use of acupuncture as a means to enhance exercise performance and post-exercise recovery (Urroz et al., 2013).

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