Acupuncture - Common uses 

Common uses of acupuncture 

There is no one health condition or set of conditions that acupuncture is meant to treat.

Instead, acupuncturists use the treatment for an extremely wide range of health conditions.

The use of acupuncture is not always based on scientific evidence. This means that practitioners may use acupuncture to treat a certain health condition, even though there have not been scientific trials showing that acupuncture works for that condition. For more information about the evidence on acupuncture and specific health conditions, see evidence for acupuncture.

Sometimes, patients combine acupuncture with conventional treatments that have been prescribed by a GP or hospital consultant. If you are being treated by an acupuncturist for a health condition, it is advisable to discuss this with your GP.

NICE recommended uses

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines to the NHS on use of treatments and care of patients. Currently, NICE recommends that acupuncture is considered as a treatment option for one condition:

  • persistent lower back pain

Other common uses

Acupuncture is often used to treat musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including:

  • headache and migraine
  • chronic pain, including neck and back pain
  • joint pain
  • dental pain
  • post-operative pain

Some acupuncturists use acupuncture to treat a far wider range of conditions, including:

  • post-operative nausea and vomiting
  • allergies, including hay fever and eczema
  • fatigue
  • depression and anxiety
  • digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • infertility and menstrual disorders
  • insomnia

Page last reviewed: 22/05/2012

Next review due: 22/05/2014

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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Tracey69 said on 19 February 2014

I have used acupuncture on several occassions for different problems. When using an NHS one, they only treated the problem area, which whilst helped with the problem, did not address the body as a whole. I had acupuncture for tendonitus in my arm which was very successful. I also had it for leg pain due to disc problems and it did help. I have recently been seeing an acupuncturist privately and have received a totally different experience. I initially saw her for cluster migraines that conventional medicine was not helping with. She treats my body as a whole and I feel she has helped with my general well being not just my migraines. The process is painless and very calming.

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