One in five adults suffer from chronic pain in Australia (Blyth et al., 2001) and the cost of treatment and loss of productivity is estimated to be more than $34 billion per year (MBF Foundation, 2007). Chronic pain is our third highest health care expense after cardiovascular disease and muscular skeletal injuries.
While chronic pain is the main cause of early retirement, more than 20% of children also live with chronic pain.
Chronic pain can be caused by surgery, accident, injury, degenerative disease, or idiopathic or ‘unknown factors.’ It affects all age groups. However, one in 3 people over 65 will experience chronic pain. Pain is considered chronic after it has lasted for more than 3 months.
Our team has a special interest in chronic pain and research suggests that acupuncture provides marked clinical improvements while being a cost-effective solution (Wit et al., 2006). This meta-analysis of the results of the acupuncture treatment on chronic lower back pain showed very promising outcomes both economically and clinically.
More recently, Dalamagka (2015) in her systematic review showed good efficacy for chronic lower back pain and migraine relief through acupuncture compared to current and no intervention.
In 2015 Yuan et al also conducted a meta-analysis that suggested evidence of pain reduction using acupuncture for chronic neck and lower back pain.
Another systematic review in 2017 (Mu et al., 2017) also established efficacy for acupuncture and chronic lower back pain.
In the same year (MacPherson et al., 2017), conducted a meta-analysis to see if the pain relief of acupuncture for chronic lower back pain lasted, and found that the relief was sustained 12 months after intervention.
Lin and colleagues (2016) conducted a meta-analysis on the use of acupuncture for chronic knee pain related to osteoarthritis and found efficacy for function and use as well as short term pain relief, but not long-term pain relief.
1. Blyth et al., (2001) “Chronic pain in Australia: a prevalence study” Pain, 89: 127-1342.
2. Elder C1, Ritenbaugh C, Aickin M, Hammerschlag R, Dworkin S, Mist S, Harris RE. Reductions in pain medication use associated with traditional Chinese medicine for chronic pain. Perm J. 2012 Summer; 16(3):18-23.
3. Kundu Anjana, Berma Brian. Acupuncture for pediatric pain and symptom management. Paediatric clinics of North America. Dec 2007, Vol. 54, No. 6: 885-899.
4. MBF Foundation (2007) The high price of pain: the economic impact of persistent pain in Australia. Pain management research institute, University of Sydney.
5. Dalamagka, M. Systematic Review: Acupuncture in chronic pain, low back pain and migraine. Journal of Pain and Relief. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/systematic-review-acupuncture-in-chronic-pain-low-back-pain-andmigraine-2167-0846-1000195.php?aid=60183
6. Lin et al. The effects of acupuncture on chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis: A meta-analysis. JBJS: September 21st, 2016 -Volume 98 – Issue 18 -p 1578-1585
7. MacPherson et al., The persistence of the effects of acupuncture after a course of treatment: Ameta-analysis of patients with chronic pain. Pain. 2017 May; 158(5): 784–793.
8. Mu et al., Acupuncture for chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The 16th Meeting of (2017)
9. Pomeraz, Bruce. Scientific research into Acupuncture for the relief of pain. The Journal of alternative and complementary Medicine. August 2007, 2(1). 53-60.dol: 10-1089/acm. 1996.2L53.
10. Wit et al., (2006) Pragmatic randomised trial evaluating the clinical and economic effectiveness acupuncture for chronic lower back pain. Am J Epidemiol 2006; 164:487-496.
11. Yuan Q-l, Guo T-m, Liu L, Sun F, Zhang Y-g (2015) Traditional Chinese Medicine for Neck Pain and Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0117146. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0117146
12. Zhong y, Wang C, Wang L, Parks GS, Zhang X, Guo Z, Ke Y, Li KW. Anovel analgesic isolated from a traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Biol. 2014 Jan 20; 24(2).117-23. dol: 10, 1016/ j.cub.2013.11.039.Epub 2014 Jan 2.