Does Acupuncture Relieve Pain, And Can It Be Harmful?

Dr. Edward Paul answers the question: 'Does Acupuncture Relieve Pain?'

ByABC News
December 24, 2007, 12:40 PM

— -- Question: Does Acupuncture Work And Can It Be Harmful?

Answer: Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and is relatively new to the United States in terms of a healthcare modality, or treatment modality for patients with pain. It was never intended in its origin to be a pain therapy back in Ancient China, but it certainly is the most common reason acupuncture is used in this country.

Acupuncture works well for many conditions, and having practiced it for 10 years, I find it -- I continue to find it -- to be fascinating and very effective for various types of pain. My most common reasons for using it are back pain, headache pain, and joint pain, which are the most common types of pain that we see, and though we don't understand exactly how acupuncture works from a conventional science perspective or at the cellular level, it is one of the safest things that I do in medical practice, and, therefore, I use it oftentimes to control pain.

The safety aspect of acupuncture and any alternative therapy that's out there for use for healthcare in general, but specifically for pain, is a very important factor for me. And I think something to always keep in mind is, though we don't understand it, is it something that is going to do me harm potentially, or is it a relatively safe thing to try, such as acupuncture, with very little bit of a downside. That is, if it doesn't work, am I going to be worse off for having tried it?

So, I think safety when it comes to alternative therapies including acupuncture is a very important thing to consider.

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