Acupuncture is effective for both acute and chronic pain. In my practice, I utilize various techniques to address neurological, muscular, abdominal, and arthritic pain. Also pain from repetitive stress, from inflammation, from illnesses, genetic syndromes, or trauma. For more severe pain, it is often advisable to get acupuncture twice a week. Otherwise, once a week is often sufficient. I usually recommend four to five weekly treatments to assess effectiveness. Everyone's situation is unique and there are many possible ways to approach pain using acupuncture. Therefore, it can take a couple initial treatments to determine the optimal treatment strategy for your case, ultimately leading to the fastest path to relief.
Many insurance policies in the state of California cover acupuncture specifically, and sometimes exclusively, for pain and nausea. This is largely because, in 1998, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, published a Consensus Statement on the efficacy of acupuncture, and concluded that "promising results have emerged ... showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations, such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program."1
Since 1998, additional research has emerged showing that acupuncture is also effective for sciatica, knee pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, jaw pain, and more. 2