Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
When it comes to pain management, though, acupuncture has been shown to be more effective than medications and has little to no side effects. So, I generally advise acu over meds for daily pains, headaches, muscle aches and the like.
A lot will depend on:
1. What's being treated.
2. How long the patient has been experiencing the issue.
3. The experience of the provider in treating that particular issue.
I specialize in pain management and I work a lot with headache and migraine. My 'success' rate with these issues is hovers between 75% and 80% - assuming one thing:
1. Headaches generally have a lifestyle component - high stress, poor food choices, poor dietary habits (meal skipping), etc. If a patient can make lifestyle changes, generally I can help bring the headaches under control or eliminate them. Where I don't often see good results is when patients want to treat acupuncture like a pill - they only come in when there's an issue and do little to nothing on their own to make positive changes relative to their issue.
Another thing to be aware of is that acupuncture is rarely a 'one and done' type of treatment. Occasionally we hit the nail on the head at the first treatment and the problem goes away. More often we're looking at a series of 3-5 treatments to get things where we want them to be. Again, the lifestyle component can have a huge effect on how many treatments might be required.