Acupuncture/ pressurePain

The long-term value of self-acupuncture for chronic musculoskeletal pain

Acupuncture is expensive, but self-acupuncture might offer an effective treatment alternative. A retrospective audit of patients in the U.K. with chronic pain who were taught self-acupuncture as a home pain management strategy has been published. Each patient had responded to acupuncture previously and been taught self-acupuncture successfully using three acupuncture points (LI4, ST44, LR3).

Here’s a summary or the results.

  • 52 patients (70% female)
  • 38 valid questionnaires returned (73%)
  • 87% still used self-acupuncture and experienced pain reduction
  • Pain relief of 5.7 on a visual analogue scale
  • Improved quality of life reported by 74%
  • No serious adverse effects reported

Other studies summarized here concluded that for persistent non-specific low back pain, a short course of acupuncture appeared to provide modest benefit to health, at a relatively minor extra cost to the U.K. healthcare system.

When used as self-treatment at home, patients who respond initially appear to have a good chance of continued pain relief.

9/24/06 10:14 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.