The average person in Austin knows a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or acquaintance who has tried acupuncture. Many of these first-time clients come in for pain-related conditions, as acupuncture is known to be very effective at treating pain. It is a relatively non-invasive and affordable option when compared to surgery, and patients don’t run the risk chemical dependency as they do with opioids.
Here are a couple of exciting policy changes and research regarding the treatment and medication of pain in the US:
- May 2017: proposed changes on educating providers about treating pain from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They recommend that doctors “get information about chiropractic care and acupuncture as therapies that might help patients avoid prescription opioids."
- Starting in 2019: Blue Cross Blue Shield Tennessee made changes to its opioid coverage. They now cover a week of short-term opioid prescriptions and instead added acupuncture as a covered alternative pain therapy for clients.
- New Research for Acute Pain: Emergency departments are starting to look away from the use of opioids as a first line of treatment, and studying how acupuncture can be used in this setting. The Journal of Pain released a study in their April 2019 publication on how acupuncture was received in an emergency room setting. In 2017, 706 emergency department patients were approached and 379 of those agreed to try acupuncture (53.7%). Those who chose to receive opioids did not show improvement during their time at the clinic (self reported, 0-10 scale). Acupuncture “significantly decreased pain regardless of whether a patient received opioids during their [...] visit.”
We know that acupuncture works for pain already, but it was interesting to see that most people in the study were willing to try it as a solution for acute pain. As the national debate on the use of opioids continues, it’s encouraging to see patients who chose more natural options as a first-line therapy for pain management.
Current research on acupuncture’s effects on pain are vital to change the way patients, doctors and policymakers make decisions on and recommendations for pain management. Are you interested in participating in a Doctoral survey study on pain? Doctoral candidate Zhenni Jin is looking for 15-20 participants for a survey.
This study might be a good fit for you if:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You have had persistent pain longer than 12 weeks
- You have not had acupuncture in the last 3 months
Your responsibilities by participating:
- Complete survey before initial treatment
- Complete survey after third treatment
- Complete survey after fifth treatment
Contact Zhenni Jin directly at 737-203-7138 if interested in participating!