Acupuncture helps relieve chronic pain in the back, neck, and shoulders, as well as pain from osteoarthritis and headaches, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
To compare acupuncture with conventional pain therapy, researchers pooled the findings of 29 past studies involving nearly 18,000 people. The study revealed that some, but not all, of the pain relief was due to the placebo effect, in which people experience benefits from treatments that may not have a documented effect.
Many people use acupuncture as an addition to standard treatments, especially when they are not entirely satisfactory. Medical insurers typically do not pay for acupuncture.
If you try acupuncture, look for a practitioner certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Start your search at http://www.nccaom.org.