An audit of almost 6000 patients who attended a pain clinic in Spain over a nine year period, including those treated with acupuncture for headache pain, revealed an average success rate of 79.7%. For the audit, “success” was defined as an improvement of at least 50% in five factors: pain intensity, pain frequency, consumption of painkillers, level of incapacity, and sleep disturbance.
The highest success rate (93%) was achieved in patients with headaches. The authors conclude acupuncture is effective, carries with it no severe adverse events, and considerably reduces the consumption of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs.
(Effectiveness of acupuncture and related techniques in treating non-oncological pain in primary healthcare-an audit. Acupuncture in Medicine, June 2007.)