Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncturist

How long does it take for acupuncture to work for pain?

I am a 37 year old female. I want to know how long does it take for acupuncture to work for pain?

17 Answers

That is completely dependent on the type of pain, the reason for it, and how long you’ve had it. I’d recommend coming in for a consultation to be able to give you a better idea.
It depends, sometime people find relief after just one session sometimes it takes many .
Depends on diagnosis
It depends is the pain acute or chronic. If it is acute (short time) it responds faster. Usually within the days you will see results.
The length of time would depend on several factors including the type of pain, length of time it has been present, and how you respond to treatment. I would say generally you can notice a shift in acute condition within 6-10 sessions. Chronic conditions may take longer. Acupuncture works in a series of treatments. These treatments build on each other. I generally see patients twice a week for the first two weeks, so we can really get you feeling better quicker. Then I see patients every week for a session until we get the pain to start to shift.

We want you to feel better and better and better not regress. If I treat you today, and the pain returns before your next treatment are scheduled then we’ve gone too long between sessions and may lose any progress we have made in teaching your body how to heal itself. So we stay at once a week until your symptoms are managed and then we move you to every 2 weeks. Once your symptoms are stable at sessions every 2 weeks then we can move the sessions out longer periods of time with the understanding that if your symptoms start to come e back you call for an appointment right away so we don’t lose the progress we have made.

So treatment duration is based on the individual and their response to the treatments. It is not a cookie-cutter approach to medicine. No two people with pain are the same. I look to find the root cause of your pain, heal it naturally, and enable the body to heal itself. If this sounds like something you would like to do, I encourage you to visit my acupuncture clinic in Towson Maryland.

Jean Donati Acupuncture, LLC.

Feel better naturally….
Jean Donati, L.Ac
Yes acupuncture with massage and herbs would work for your pain which is gradually relieving, and you should get rid of your pain!
The effect of acupuncture depends on the nature of the disease being treated, which mainly includes the following cases.
1. Acute painful diseases: For acute pain, the therapeutic effect of acupuncture may be immediate, such as the appearance of joint pain, and the pain will be relieved immediately after acupuncture, although it cannot be cured, the pain level will be reduced. So for headaches, migraine, neuralgia, etc., acupuncture treatment can be carried out, and acupuncture for pain is faster and more effective.
2, chronic diseases: the effect may not be very fast, such as neurological diseases, such as hemiplegia and paraplegia, etc. The effect cannot be seen when the number of acupuncture is small, and it often takes 1-2 weeks of treatment to observe the effect. Because damage to the nervous system is not easily repaired, diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease require enough time and patience for acupuncture treatments to work well.
We have a saying in Acupuncture, "The longer in the making, the longer in the fixing." If this is an acute pain you're experiencing, it may dissipate very quickly, in just a couple of sessions. But if it is chronic, it will need many more. It should be assessed in person.
Depending on the cause of the pain, relief may be experienced after one or two treatments, and sometimes it can take 6-8 weeks of weekly acupuncture.
It can work right away
For acute pain, 1-2 times; for chronic pain, 6-20 visits.
That is highly variable. It can take 1-2 sessions or it could take 18, it depends on how severe the pain is, how long you have had it, and how your individual body responds to the treatment.
That depends on how long you have been experiencing the pain, and your compliance with your practitioner's treatment plan. Generally speaking, the longer something has been in existence, the longer it will take to resolve. That being said, if you're not finding some changes or improvements within 5-8 treatments, I recommend trying a different style of acupuncture or a different acupuncturist.
Some times it happens immediately, sometimes it takes months and is very slow/gradual.
Nobody can answer that, I'm afraid. The longer you've had something, the longer it takes to reverse it. Some things can be taken care of fairly quickly, others need a long series of treatments because we are creating a cure, not a temporary bandaid.
It may depend on what kind of pain you have. Some pain can be immediately relieved such as stomachache; some may take several sessions, such as cancer-caused pain or knee pain, but each session will reduce the pain.
I'm a nationally board certified, state licensed, doctor of acupuncture who specializes in pain management. Here's my typical timeline:

Patients usually get at least a 50% reduction in pain on the first treatment. This reduction lasts for 24-48 hours and then the pain starts to come back and/or moves.

Each subsequent treatment adds a day or two to how long the pain reduction or elimination persists such that by treatment 4 or 5 the patient doesn't require weekly treatment. Then we start skipping weeks, spreading the treatments out until either the pain resolves and doesn't come back or we find some interval where the pain stays mostly under control.

Treatment intervals can vary. For some people a treatment every 4-6 weeks will keep things under control. Other people may only come in 2-3 times per year.

There is about 5% of the population who never respond to acupuncture. There can be a variety of reasons for this, but my general rule of thumb is: if a patient has been to 3 treatments, spaced one week apart, and isn't experiencing any change, it's unlikely they will experience a change with acupuncture.

The other wild-card here is that there are providers in the US offering 'acupuncture-like' services under the scope of some other practice license. Depending on the state this can be people like chiropractors, physical therapists, and, occasionally, MD/DO or nurses. Most of these folks have never attended school for Chinese medicine, many have less than 100 hours of training and no supervised practice in an educational setting. Some of them can be pretty good, many of them are simply reading points out of a book. Patients have no way of knowing the good practitioners from the bad in this case.

As a consumer, you're looking for one or more of the following:

1. If your acupuncture provider is an MD/DO, they should have an ABMA board certification. Without this, in most states, they could literally have woken up that morning and decided to be an acupuncturist for the day. In other words - they could be completely untrained in acupuncture.

2. Any other provider should have a national board certification from NCCAOM and either an L.Ac. or R.Ac. state credential. Without this, you have no way of knowing what their base training level is.

To find NCCAOM credentialed providers, go to and use their 'Find a Practitioner' lookup.