Acupuncture is truly a procedure which is outside of the realm of allopathic medicine. It comes from an alternative medicine approach that is thousands of years old. Attempts to classify it in terms of our current scientific understanding of pain and nerve impulses have largely failed. It is instead a procedure based upon ancient Chinese medicine that uses the Tao as its underpinning. Given all of this, it is still clear that acupuncture can be quite helpful for some painful conditions. In pain medicine it can be used as a part of an overall alternative approach to western medicine or it can be incorporated into more traditionally western approaches.

Many patients find that acupuncture affords considerable releif for nerve pain, chronic muscle spasm and nociceptive pain. Additionally there have been some studies that show acupuncture to be an effective adjunct to approaches for overall pain management. Acupuncture also has its detreactors and there is some controversy as to whether or not its effects are merely placebo responses. This seems unlikely, but the jury is still out as to its general applicability.