1 Cockburn Halls, George St, Ormiston

Clinic Hours:

9:00am – 5:00pm (Mon and Thu) 

Clinic Number


Acupuncture for Pain

Acupuncture for Pain

Did you know? Pain is the number one reason patients visit their doctor!

And the treatment? Usually a painkiller. 

Often this is a powerful NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), sometimes a steroid and if pain goes on and is bad, an opioid (opioids are based on the chemicals in opium, like morphine and oxycontin – very addictive).

Apparently around one-third of adults in America have chronic pain and probably it’s much the same in the UK – and possibly the same in many ‘developed’ countries.

However, many people don’t see their doctor because they self-medicate, using OTC (Over-The-Counter) painkillers like acetaminophen – paracetamol ( brand name Panadol or Tylenol) or NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen which reduce inflammation. 

Well – there’s been research! 

Research on Painkillers

What researchers on pain-killers found may surprise you!

They looked at 21 OTC painkillers which were being used either individually or in combination.

They found that Acetaminophen (paracetamol) and aspirin, were the least effective for acute pain, helping just 11% users. However, when taken with Ibuprofen, the effect of acetaminophen rose to 70%.

But these powerful medicines aren’t harmless! 

NSAIDs are bad news for your digestion, often causing stomach bleeding and/or ulcers.

In one study of 713 patients who had died, 244 had been taking NSAIDs and when examined post-mortem, 30% of the drug group had ulcers compared to 13% in the non-drug group. (Postgrad Med J, 2001; 77: 82–8)

white oval medication pill on blue surface

When Acute pain becomes Chronic:

If your acute pain goes on for over two weeks, researchers re-classify it as chronic.

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence  (NICE) which assesses the effectiveness and cost of drugs before they allow the British NHS to prescribe them, says that drugs like those mentioned above but also benzodiazepines and opioids, used for acute pain, should NOT be prescribed for chronic pain.

(They say that what may be more effective than painkillers are antidepressants for the psychological effects of pain.)

They go on to say that doctors should instead suggest group exercise programmes, psychological therapy or acupuncture. (NICE draft clinical guidelines, August 3, 2020)

It also turns out that taking painkillers like NSAIDS, acetaminophen and steroids interferes with the chemicals your body produces to mend the underlying cause of pain, making you suffer for longer.

These chemicals are your neutrophils, your white blood cells, which are your immune system’s first line of defence to deal with inflammation and then repair damage. When these are prevented from working, you don’t get the essential inflammation which triggers repair so no repair takes place. The unfortunate result is that, in effect, the ’acute’ pain becomes chronic. (Sci Transl Med, 2022; 14(644): eabj9954)

As they say:

 “Analysis of pain trajectories of human subjects reporting acute back pain in the UK Biobank identified elevated risk of pain persistence for subjects taking NSAIDs. Thus, despite analgesic efficacy at early time points, the management of acute inflammation may be counterproductive for long-term outcomes of LBP (low back pain) sufferers.”

Of course, morphine and opioids do mask pain but they can lead to addiction, not to mention depression, increased risk of heart attack and irregular heartbeat, hormonal problems, weak bones and eventually, surprisingly, increased pain. (Opioid Side Effects | Short and Long-Term Effects of Opioids (

So, it turns out that modern research supports the ancient idea that acupuncture can help chronic pain. (However, we often find it works for acute pain too!)

person holding silver and white pen

Recently, we've used acupuncture for:

  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Knee pain
  • Headache and/or migraine
  • Ankle pain
  • Repetitive injury and strain pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Wrist pain
  • Neck pain
  • Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhoea)
  • Digestion pain (eg reflux, burning, IBS)
  • Leg pain, like sciatica


But there are lots of kinds of pain and the above covers just some recent examples.

Acupuncture for Pain offer

An introductory offer:

We have a special introductory offer.

Come four times over two or at most three weeks, and the cost is substantially reduced.

However, you can’t book this directly through our normal booking system (which is at

Instead, you contact Jonathan first. He needs to talk to you to establish if he thinks you might benefit from this offer. That’s because he only wants people whom he’s fairly sure he can help.

He’ll send you the link to book the first appointment.

Contact Jonathan on 07950-012501 or email

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