Acupuncturist Questions Acupunturist

How long does acupuncture pain relief last?

I am a 47 year old female. I will have an acupuncture treatment for pain relief. How long does acupuncture pain relief last?

18 Answers

My goal as an acupuncturist is to get my patients to the place where they no longer have any pain. That, however, takes a series of treatments. I start my patients coming in twice a week, and when the pain stays down between treatments, I start spreading them out to once a week, then once every other week, etc. until they no longer have pain. At the beginning, relief may last only minutes or hours.
Usually I tell my patients, the effect is cumulative, given the treatments are grouped together in a timely manner. After the first treatment, there can be anywhere from a day of relief to multiple days of relief. Then, if the patient comes on a frequent basis, the relief should last longer and longer after each, provided the diagnosis and treatment are accurate.
Oriental medicine is a medicine to treat the cause. And almost all pain is related to inner organs. Therefore, when the inner organs are restored to normal, the pain disappears.
I would need to know a lot more about you to answer that. But i can tell you this: what you are doing in your lifestyle and possibly some of the genes you inherited caused your current state of imbalance (and pain symptoms). If you come to me and acupuncture works (your pain goes away), it will likely last a while, but without changing the causes of the imbalance, eventually the imbalance will return and you will experience it again. That is not a failure of acupuncture, it is the constant stress of life causing the imbalance to return. I hope that makes sense. Do feel free to send me another more specific question if you want.
Acupuncture pain relief can last differently from person to person as well as depending on what is the cause of the pain and what activities contribute to the return of pain.

For example, if it is an acute neck & upper back muscular tightness that is causing the pain then it may only take one treatment to get rid of the pain completely until the next time the next gets strained again. Or if it is back pain do to spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal which pinches the spinal cord) then the pain relief may only last a few hours to a day or two before it returns, this is because in this case it will take time to correct the narrowing if at all. These are just examples. The general rule of thumb is if the correct diagnosis is made and the appropriate corresponding acupuncture treatment prescription is utilized usually I see at least a 50% reduction in pain symptoms if it is not completely gone with the first treatment. I then ask the patient to see how long the pain relief lasts. Based on their response it is a good idea to schedule the next acupuncture treatment as soon as the pain symptoms start to return. That way you aren't riding the pain rollercoaster. For example, let's say that you come in with neck pain and it is at a 10 out-of-10 on the pain scale. I treat you with acupuncture and your pain subsides. If the pain starts to come back and we waited then it could get back to being a 10 but, if we don't wait and you come in as soon as it starts to hurt again then you can decrease the intensity and increase the length of time that the pain relief lasts longer so that you can eventually get out of pain & discomfort altogether. Unless there is something underlying that is physically inhibiting the healing process for example a bone spur, etc.
That depends on your condition, how bad it is and how long you have had it, as well as your health. I have treated patients once and never had to treat the again for that issue. Other patients have to come in once a week.
Acupuncture therapy has a cumulative effect so it is possible to feel some relief after a treatment but it usually takes more than a few treatments. It is important to consider the type of injury, the duration of the injury and the pain level. If your condition is only a few days old, and only muscular without any tear, one or two treatments should provide some relief. If your injury is caused by physical activities and if you continue the same pattern after your acupuncture treatment, then the effect of a treatment is going to be minimal. There are a lot of factors affecting the relief duration.

Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
It depends on your history of the condition; cause of the pain and underline of cause, chronic or acute and most importantly your constitution.  If you are going to have a acupuncture session soon, let your acupuncturist evaluate you and get assessment.  Most of the pain cases, you need to come back for another session until you reach to the threshold.
Shuko Ward DAOM, LAc., Dipl.OM, FABORM
Everyone is experiencing the pain relief duration by Acupuncture differently. It depends on the status of your illnesses. One may feel free of pain for months to years, and other might need a regular treatment for tune such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and more..
Acupuncture can be very effective for relieving pain. How long the pain relief lasts really depends on what's going on that's causing the pain, how long you've been experiencing the pain and a little bit more about you as an individual and how you got into the condition that's causing pain. Most people who seek pain relief acupuncture will feel a significant shift in their pain on the first visit; however, it generally requires several consecutive visits (usually 1x/ weekly, but sometimes 2-3x/wk). I typically recommend 6-8 consecutive treatments to start, evaluated weekly to make sure we're making progress. After that time, we can determine a maintenance schedule if you are able to sustain a pain free state for 7 days.

Be well,

Larissa Stewart, L.Ac
It all depends about the level and severity of pathology one has. Sometimes it can fully eliminate the pain and sustainably. Other times if extremely severe pathology it may only last a day or two.
All depends on your Qi and on the technique used. Treatment will last as long as your Qi remain stable. Your acupuncturist can tell you about it, according to your problem.

That depends on the style of acupuncture you are receiving, and your compliance with your practitioner's treatment protocols (applying heat, exercising, stretching, etc.).
That being said, acupuncture has a cumulative effect. So as you continue with regular treatments, the relief will last longer and longer.
Each acupuncture case is different, typically if your pain is acute (onset: 2-4 days), you will have immediate relief. Anything lasting for months (6 weeks or longer), is chronic and the relief my last only a few days to a week. Subsequent visits are always recommended for chronic conditions.
The acupuncture pain will relieve for a long time, it depends on conditions. Some can be relieved forever, some cases, the pain will come back again after a while.
There is no single answer to this question. All patients respond differently and conditions differ from person to person. I have had patients get relief for months to years and others from hours to days.

Discuss your body's reaction to the treatments with your practitioner so they can modify and/or record how the work progresses and they can help you in real time.

Good luck.
According to research studies done, the effect of acupuncture can last from 2 hours to 5 days.
There are a lot of variables that can go in to how long a treatment might last:

1. How severe is the pain?
2. Is the pain chronic or acute? In other words, how long has the patient been experiencing the pain?
3. Are there lifestyle adjustments which may impact the pain?
4. Is there a definite cause for the pain?
5. How good is the acupuncturist at treating pain?

Generally speaking, acupuncture is not a "one and done" type of treatment. Most studies show pain relieving effects kick in, on average, at around 8 treatments. Some people will respond more quickly, some more slowly.

Studies also show that once a patient hits the loading dose 8 treatment number, pain relief can persist for an average of 12 months with little fall off in effect.

I specialize in pain management and my "sweet spot" for most pain conditions is around 4 treatments. After that, we start spacing the treatments out so we can find a maintenance interval that works for a given individual. Every case is different; some will have a 4-6 week maintenance interval and some will have a 4-6 month maintenance interval. Sometimes the stars align, we hit the nail on the head, and the pain resolves.