Earlier this week the updated National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidelines for the treatment of chronic pain (primary and secondary) in over 16s were released in the UK. 

In a major change of pain treatment policy, it is recommended that in future, doctors should advise sufferers to use physical and psychological therapies, including acupuncture, rather than analgesics to manage chronic primary pain.

Overall, the committee agreed that there was a large evidence base showing acupuncture to be clinically effective in the short term (3 months); the original economic modelling also showed it is likely to be cost effective.

Although written specifically for the UK, the NICE Guidelines are acknowledged throughout the world as setting the benchmark for treatment of many diseases and conditions. NICE already recommend acupuncture be considered for the treatment of migraine and chronic tension-type headaches.