Acupuncture vs. Painkillers

Some of the most miraculous drugs of the 21st century are painkillers. Synthetic forms of morphine such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet have helped millions of people to cope with pain from surgeries, illnesses, and dreaded diseases. However, they come at a price. Opioids are addictive, and over 1,000 Americans are sent to the E.R. every day due to opioid misuse. For most patients with short term pain, these drugs are effective and fairly safe. However, the risk of addictions is much greater for long term users, and patients with chronic painful conditions are at high risk for addiction. Not only are opiates an issue, but it is now known that long-term use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and stomach ulcers.

There are safer alternatives however. A 2011 study by the Medical Journal of Australia tested 1,964 patients to see how acupuncture compared to opioid prescription to stop pain. These 1,964 patients were admitted to the E.R. for either back pain, migraines, or ankle sprains and they were divided into 3 groups. One took painkillers. The second had painkillers and acupuncture. The third had acupuncture alone. Shockingly, researchers found that patients with acupuncture alone reported just as much pain relief as the patients taking prescription painkillers. 83% of the patients who received acupuncture alone said they would choose that treatment again.

It is due to this and hundreds of similar studies that most insurance companies have started adding acupuncture to their covered treatments. Six states have now allowed medicaid to cover acupuncture and New York’s largest insurance plan, NYSHIP has excellent acupuncture coverage for chronic pain.

As the owner of a local acupuncture clinic, I enjoy reading these studies but don’t need them to tell me acupuncture relieves pain. I see it everyday in the clinic. A Monsey resident in his 70’s with shoulder pain used to take tylenol to fall asleep every night and still woke up at 2:00 in the morning from his shoulder hurting. After six acupuncture sessions at our clinic, he was able to quit the tylenol and sleep from night till morning for the first time in years. Another patient of mine, a young teacher from Pomona, fell while rock climbing and fractured his spine. For four years he was in pain despite regular cortisone injections. Shortly after beginning acupuncture in January, he quit his cortisone shots and can now touch his toes again.

Pain relieving drugs are wonderful but used over a long time, they can become dangerous. Acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative that is proven to work.


Prescription Painkillers

Proven in Clinical Studies to Relieve Pain

Proven in Clinical Studies to Relieve Pain

Relieves Stress, Boosts Energy

Addictive, Causes Confusion

Covered by Many Insurance Plans

Covered by All Insurance Plans,
Including Medicare/Medicaid

Treats the root cause of pain

Treats the symptoms of pain

Regularly Prescribed by the Top Ten Hospitals in America (Rankings by U.S. News)

Regularly Prescribed by the Top Ten Hospitals in America (Rankings by U.S. News)

Stimulates Production of Endorphins, the Body’s Natural Painkillers

Mimics the Body’s Natural Painkillers, Endorphins


by Daniel Rose

Daniel Rose is a licensed East Asian Medical Practitioner and founder of the Azamra Acupuncture clinic in Pomona - Reach him at @azamraacupuncture