Acupuncture and pain: a review of the literature
Eshkevari L.
Nurse Anesthesia Graduate Program,
Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Sciences,
Washington, DC, USA.
AANA J. 2003 Oct;71(5):361-70.


In the United States today, as many as one third of the population suffers from chronic pain conditions. These syndromes cost an estimated $80 billion and are a major source of burden to the healthcare system as well as to the suffering patients. According to a study by Harvard Medical School in 1997, visits to alternative medicine providers had reached 629 million, mostly for these pain conditions. The action of acupuncture as an analgesic, although widely accepted, remains somewhat of an enigma. In reviewing the literature it became evident that many investigators have had conflicting data; however, with regard to acupuncture in pain management, quite a few results were found to be positive. Many now believe that acupuncture should be considered a valuable asset in the specialty of pain, and that it can be of value in comprehensive pain clinics as well as physical therapy practice. Acupuncture is certainly not a cure-all; however, researchers and experienced clinicians both attest to its benefits. This article is a review of the literature with regard to acupuncture as a modality for pain management.
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