I get it…your initial reaction to an individual patient data meta-analysis is that it may sound a little too research-y…or boring, even? BUT, it is the highest-quality evidence available and the results of this study carry a strong take home point.
The use of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic pain remains controversial. While there are several short-term physiological effects of acupuncture that are relevant to pain, there is no explanation of how these effects could persist. In a previous individual patient data meta-analysis article by these same authors, clinically and statistically significant differences were found between acupuncture and control in trials without sham (placebo), with acupuncture found to be significantly superior to sham controls. Although the differences were modest, this suggests the effects of acupuncture are not solely explicable in terms of placebo. The objective of this paper was to update the findings from a prior individual patient data meta-analysis to determine the effect size of acupuncture for four chronic pain conditions: 1) non-specific musculoskeletal pain; 2) osteoarthritis; 3) chronic headache; and 4) shoulder pain…LOG IN OR SUBSCRIBE TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS REVIEW!

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