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NICE guideline for chronic pain: painkillers out, acupuncture in

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is delighted to see that acupuncture is one of only four treatments to be recommended for chronic pain by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). From now on, painkillers and all other drugs apart from anti-depressants will be off the menu.

Around a third of the population may be affected by chronic pain – many also have a diagnosis of depression, and two-thirds are unable to go out to work. The new recommendations cover conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic neck, muscular or pelvic pain. Traditional acupuncture can provide benefits across the whole spectrum of health issues: emotional support as well as pain relief.

Acupuncture is one of the best options for painful conditions – it is also very safe when given by well trained practitioners, and we set stringent standards for our members to follow. The BAcC is registered with the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), allowing GPs to refer their patients to our members for acupuncture, as long as NHS funding allows.

This NICE guideline is open for consultation until 14 September. The BAcC will be responding to NICE and also launching a campaign on acupuncture and chronic pain in time for the release of the final report in January 2021.

You can find out more about acupuncture for chronic pain from your local practitioner – use the 'Find an acupuncturist' search above to contact a BAcC member in your area.

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The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has a membership of around 3,000 professionally qualified acupuncturists. It is the UK's largest professional/ self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture

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