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Chronic Pain and Arthritis

Pain in the muscles and joints, either acute or chronic, can make life miserable.


Over the years, acupuncture has long been recognized as an effective treatment for pain.


  • Guidelines from the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians suggest considering acupuncture as an alternative therapy with chronic pain that's not helped by conventional treatment.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture as a treatment for back pain.

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recognized acupuncture as effective in relieving back pain, including sciatica.

  • Cleveland Clinic does not recommend chronic pain patients to go through surgery unless acupuncture has been tried and it does not relieve pain.


For more details, read our full article on how acupuncture works physiologically for pain relief

“Research suggests acupuncture may be an effective tool for treating chronic pain conditions.”

                                                       - WebMD

Here at Rapha Acupuncture, we treat a range of pain-related conditions, including:


Joint pain
Lower Back Pain & Upper Back Pain

Back Pain

In the United States, more than 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in life. Among people under 40 years old, back pain is the top reason for the inability to perform daily tasks. It also is the direct cause of enormous healthcare expenses, with estimates as high as $60 billion annually. Back pain is the second most common reason people seek medical care. Research shows pain, especially back pain, is the top reason people look to acupuncture as a treatment option.

Common causes of lower back pain include excessive and prolonged poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, stress, trauma, fracture, injury, surgery, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, pinched nerve in back, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, spondylolisthesis, inflamed and irritated surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons. Very few cases of lower back pain can be due to non-spinal causes, including abdominal aortic aneurysms, kidney stone, perforating stomach ulcer, cancer or infection (less than 1%). In traditional Chinese medicine, pain is caused by blockage on the meridians, imbalance of Qi and and poor flow of energy force.

Low Back Pain

Acute back pain subsides within a few days to two weeks; chronic back pain can last beyond 2 to 4 weeks. Acupuncture appears to inhibit neural impulses associated with pain and stimulate the central nervous system to release endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural pain-killers, into the muscles and joints. Study shows that acupuncture provides short-term pain relief. It also shows there is greater improvement in pain for people who get acupuncture compared to those who received a sham acupuncture. Compared to standard treatment, acupuncture is more effective for treating chronic back pain. If other treatments have failed and you are considering acupuncture, talk to your doctor first. 

Sciatica, Hip pain, Leg pain


What is sciatica and how does it happen?

Sciatic pain is a symptom of an underlying medical condition, not a medical diagnosis.

Sciatica symptoms are typically felt on one side of the body, including a combination of constant pain, weakness, numbness or limited movement.

Pain of sciatica originates in the lower back, radiating along the large sciatic nerve to buttock then down the back of leg, foot and toes, and gets worse with sitting or standing.

Sciatic pain is described as burning, tingling, searing, shooting, sharp, achy, prickling or throbbing.

The location of the painful symptoms is based on where the sciatic nerve is compressed in the lower back.

Common lower back problems causing sciatica symptoms include:

  • Herniated lumbar disc (bulging disc, pinched nerve) between L4 and S1 level pressing lumbar nerve root.

  • Chronic disc degeneration or lumbar spinal stenosis compressing the large sciatic nerve

  • Pregnancy

Sciatica Nerve and Pain

What can Oriental medicine do to treat sciatica?

By stimulating the specific points with hair-thin, disposable and stainless steel needles, acupuncture triggers a response from the nervous system which initiates body's self-healing ablity to restore balance. Modern research shows that acupuncture can:

  • alter sensory information to the brain;

  • inhibit neural impulses associated with pain;

  • stimulate the release of natural pain-killing chemicals - endorphins and enkephalins.

For more details, read our full article on Acupuncture FAQs.

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