The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said there was “little or no evidence” the commonly used drugs for chronic primary pain made any difference to people’s quality of life, pain or psychological distress.
But the draft guidance, published on Monday, said there was evidence they can cause harm, including addiction.
The draft guidance said that people with the condition should be offered supervised group exercise programs, some types of psychological therapy, or acupuncture.
The experts from Harvard university Drs Helen Langevin and Carolyn Berstein set the record straight on the subject of acupuncture for pain.
Individual large-scale clinical studies have consistently demonstrated that acupuncture provided better pain relief compared with usual care. However, most studies also showed little difference between real and sham (fake) acupuncture. In order to address this concern, a 2012 meta-analysis combined data from roughly 18,000 individual patients in 23 high-quality randomized controlled trials of acupuncture for common pain conditions. This analysis conclusively demonstrated that acupuncture is superior to sham for low back pain, headache, and osteoarthritis, and improvements seen were similar to that of other widely used non-opiate pain relievers.
And the safety profile of acupuncture is excellent, with very few adverse events when performed by a trained practitioner. Meanwhile, basic science studies of acupuncture involving animals and humans have shown other potential benefits, from lowering blood pressure to long-lasting improvements in brain function. More broadly, acupuncture research has resulted in a number of insights and advances in biomedicine, with applications beyond the field of acupuncture itself."
If you are living with chronic pain acupuncture can offer you an effective alternative to painkillers. My treatment will be specific to your needs, incorporating acupuncture, bodywork, stretching exercises, and lifestyle advice to help get your life back on track.