Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York have found that while acupuncture may effective in relieving chronic back, joint and shoulder pain, some of the benefits may be due to the "placebo effect".
Researchers led by Andrew Vickers analyzed around 29 studies involving more than 18,000 adults. All patients had pain due to recurring headaches, arthritis or back, neck and shoulder pain. The study found that acupuncture worked slightly better than fake acupuncture and other alternate pain remedies.
The researchers suggested that the results "provide the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option." The researchers also reported that 50 percent of patients had their symptoms reduced with acupuncture, compared to almost 43 percent of those treated with sham acupuncture and 30 percent with no needle therapy.
The study details appear in the latest issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.