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What Acupuncture Can Treat

What Can Acupuncture treat?

The Acupuncture Evidence Project a Comparative Literature Review by John McDonald and Stephen Janz was published earlier in 2017. This paper undertook  a full Literature review on all the studies recently published on acupuncture. From this review they found evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for 117 conditions, with stronger evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness for some conditions. 11 of which were proven to be cost effective.

The 11 conditions for which acupuncture has evidence of cost-effectiveness are:

  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Ambulatory anaesthesia
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Dysmenorrhoea
  • Headache
  • Lower back pain
  • Migraine
  • Neck pain (plus usual medical care)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-operative nausea and vomiting

The conditions for which acupuncture has been proved with strong evidence through controlled clinical trials to be an effective treatment.

  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (with anti-emetics)
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Headache (tension-type and chronic
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Migraine prophylaxis
  • Postoperative nausea & Vomiting
  • Postoperative pain

The conditions for which acupuncture has been proved with moderate evidence of effectiveness of acupuncture

  • Acute low back pain
  • Acute stroke
  • Ambulatory anaesthesia
  • Anxiety
  • Aromatase-inhibitor-induced arthralgia
  • Asthma in adults
  • Back or pelvic pain during pregnancy
  • Cancer pain
  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Craniotomy anaesthesia
  • Depression
  • Dry eye
  • Hypertension (with medication)
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Labour pain
  • Lateral elbow pain
  • Menopausal hot flushes
  • Modulating sensory perception thresholds
  • Neck pain
  • Obesity
  • Perimenopausal & postmenopausal insomnia
  • Plantar heel pain
  • Post-stroke insomnia
  • Post-stroke shoulder pain
  • Post-stroke spasticity
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Prostatitis pain/ chronic pelvic pain syndrome
  • Recovery after colorectal cancer resection
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Schizophrenia (with antipsychotics)
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome (early stage)(with exercise)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Smoking cessation (up to 3 months)
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Temporomandibular pain

The conditions for which acupuncture has been proved with weak positive/ unclear evidence supporting effectiveness of acupuncture

  • Acupuncture in Emergency Department
  • Acute ankle sprain
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Angina pectoris
  • Assisted conception in ART
  • Asthma in children
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Bladder pain syndrome
  • Cancer-related insomnia
  • Cancer-related psychological symptoms
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic urinary retention due to spinal cord injury
  • Chronic urticaria
  • Dysmenorrhoea
  • Dyspepsia in diabetic gastroparesis (DGP)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Exercise performance & post-exercise recovery
  • Fatigue in systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Gag reflex in dentistry
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart failure
  • Hot flushes in breast cancer
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum
  • Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in neonates
  • Induction of labour
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Itch
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Melasma
  • Meniere’s disease/syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Mumps in children
  • Myelosuppression after chemotherapy
  • Oocyte retrieval pain relief
  • Opiate addiction
  • Opioid detoxification
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Poor sperm quality
  • Postnatal depression
  • Postoperative gastroparesis syndrome (PGS)
  • Postoperative ileus
  • Post-stroke hiccoughs
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Primary sjogren’s syndrome
  • Psoriasis vulgaris
  • Rheumatoid  arthritis
  • Slowing progression of myopia
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stress urinary incontinence in adults
  • Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
  • Surgery analgesia
  • Tinnitus
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Vascular dementia
  • Whiplash associated disorder (WAD)
  • Xerostomia in cancer

The conditions with little or no evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture

  • Alcohol dependence
  • Cocaine addiction
  • Epilepsy
  • Nausea in pregnancy
  • Smoking cessation (more than 6 months)

References:

McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017. http://www.acupuncture.org.au.

http://www.acupuncture.org.au/OURSERVICES/Publications/AcupunctureEvidenceProject.aspx