Acupuncture has a demonstrated benefit in treating a wide range of conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hiccups, anxiety, nausea and even chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, headaches, musculoskeletal pains and joint pains.

Does acupuncture hurt?

First let’s clear up a common misconception. Many people dismiss acupuncture because they hate needles. Well, did you know the filament used in acupuncture is not a needle at all?

Pull out a strand of hair and poke yourself with it. Did it hurt? If you said “no,” then an acupuncture “needle” or filament won’t hurt either. Needles go through cells; acupuncture goes between cells.

Acupressure is also another option that acts in the same fashion as acupuncture, but pressure is used instead of a filament.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture acts on energy centers to help the body release its own pain-relieving chemicals. Usually, a few sessions of acupuncture are required to see a benefit, although some people experience the benefits of acupuncture after just one session. Every person and every pain is unique.

The benefit of acupuncture is that it is not invasive, there is negligible risk, and it can provide significant benefit for your child’s pain.

If you’re interested in acupuncture, ask your child’s chronic pain physician if it would be a good modality to include in your child’s chronic pain treatment.


Elisha Peterson Elisha Peterson, MD, FAAP, is a board certified pediatric anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician.

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