top of page

How Does Acupuncture Work to Relieve Pain?

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

The ancient art of acupuncture has been used for centuries to relieve pain. Acupuncture has been used to treat everything from low back pain to headaches to endometriosis and more. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acupuncture works particularly well on chronic pain and is a reasonable option for individuals who suffer from it. Today, Arise Acupuncture goes over how acupuncture relieves pain by helping the body release natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain.

Acupuncture and Chronic Pain: How Acupuncture Reduces Pain

Practical Pain Management, an online journal that contains tutorial articles designed to help diagnose and treat various aspects of pain, found that acupuncture can inactivate an individual’s source of pain by regulating endorphin levels.

During an acupuncture treatment, an acupuncturist will insert thin needles into the skin at certain acupoints to help facilitate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals. These acupoints are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat pain or facilitate healing.

Accessing these acupoints stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain which increases serotonin. Serotonin acts as a mood stabilizer, and a boost in serotonin can boost your overall mood. An acupuncturist might also burn a therapeutic herb near your skin during your session to enhance these healing effects, which is called moxibustion.

Which Types of Pain Can Acupuncture Reduce?

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for the following types of pain:

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Face and neck pain (TMJ)

  • Back pain

  • Menstrual cramps

  • Dental pain

  • Osteoarthritis and knee pain

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Post-operative pain

  • Labor pain

  • Sports injuries

  • Pregnancy discomforts

In fact, according to Harvard Health, acupuncture is one of the most appreciated therapies used for chronic knee pain.

Can Acupuncture Help with Low-Back Pain?

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) has found that low-back pain is the leading cause of global disability and increases as our population grows and gets older. Fortunately, many individuals who suffer from low-back pain found relief through acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been proven to provide short-term relief from chronic low-back pain. It has also been proven to improve chronic low-back pain in individuals over time. The American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians have stated that doctors should consider using acupuncture as an alternative therapy for patients who have chronic low-back pain that will not go away with conventional treatments.

How Does Acupuncture Help Reduce Low-Back Pain?

Acupuncture can help trigger the release of natural chemicals in the brain that reduces pain and promotes sleep. Scientists believe the effects of acupuncture stimulate the central nervous system which triggers the release of certain chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, thus altering pain.

How Often Should You Get Acupuncture for Chronic Pain?

You should speak to a licensed acupuncturist to determine how many acupuncture sessions you will need. A common treatment plan for a single complaint might consist of one to two treatments per week. It is important to remember that the number of treatments will vary and depend on the severity and the type of condition you have.

Are you interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help with pain? Schedule an acupuncture consultation today by getting in touch with us online

144 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page