The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has
published a new guideline for Chronic Pain. Acupuncture is now
recommended ahead of traditional pharmaceutical interventions.
This guideline was driven by the urgent need to cut down
prescriptions of opioids and other painkillers.
NICE considered a number of treatments for Chronic pain in creating this guideline
including opioid drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, paracetamol,
benzodiazepines (Valium). None of these were found to
have evidence of benefit for chronic pain and there are possible
harms associated with their use.
Acupuncture, however, was found to be
superior to both sham (a placebo acupuncture) and usual treatments and medications for
pain according to the 32 high quality studies reviewed by NICE.
Some common conditions that NICE stated would benefit from acupuncture
include fibromyalgia, myofascial pain (i.e. in the muscles and
surrounding connective tissue), chronic neck pain and chronic
pelvic pain, as well as many others.
Around a third of the population may be affected by chronic pain;
many of those also have a diagnosis of depression, and it is a major
contributor to absence from work.
I very much welcome this scientific validation, which whole
heartedly supports my experience of treating chronic pain for over
20 years in clinic. Should you wish to discuss how acupuncture can
help improve your quality of life then please contact me at the
Bower Mount Clinic. Craig Minto