Medical Acupuncture for Pain Management

The OHSU Comprehensive Pain Center (CPC) offers medical acupuncture to treat chronic pain. Medical acupuncture is a term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in Western medicine who also has had thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in meridians (regular patterns) through your body and over its surface. These meridians are like rivers flowing through your body to moisten and nourish your tissues.

By inserting needles in acupuncture points, we can affect these meridians. This process can unblock barriers and reestablish regular flow through your meridians.

Western medicine has shown that inserting needles in acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals might change how you feel pain. They also might trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones that influence your body's internal regulating system.

What Conditions Does OHSU Treat With Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) for treating a wide range of medical conditions, including:

  • Headaches and neck pain
  • Frozen shoulder and tennis elbow
  • Various forms of tendonitis
  • Low back pain and sciatica
  • Osteoarthritis

The OHSU Comprehensive Pain Center uses medical acupuncture to treat these conditions when appropriate.

Does Health Insurance Cover Acupuncture?

Some insurance companies cover (pay for) acupuncture. Others do not. Medicare does not cover acupuncture. Our office staff will talk with your insurance company about your coverage before you begin acupuncture treatment.