Consultation of NICE in draft guideline for commonly used treatments for chronic pain.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care in England.

NICE guidelines are evidence-based recommendations for health and care in England.

They set out the care and services suitable for most people with a specific condition or need, and people in particular circumstances or settings.

The guidelines help health and social care professionals to: prevent ill health, promote and protect good health, improve the quality of care and services, adapt and provide health and social care services.

Chronic pain is often difficult to treat and can have a significant impact on individuals and their families and carers. Chronic pain may affect between 30% and 50% of the population.

A number of commonly used drug treatments for chronic primary pain have little or no evidence that they work and shouldn’t be prescribed.

A draft clinical guidance for Chronic primary pain was published on 3 August 2020 for public consultation until 14th September 2020. Acupuncture is recommended as an option for some people with chronic primary pain, provided it is delivered within certain, clearly defined parameters.

What is your opinions about acupuncture? Get involved and have your say by making comment of consultation.

In this draft of Chronic pain: assessment and management, 240 research papers were analysed to provide evidence review for the effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic pain. Acupuncture for chronic primary pain was assessed here. What is the clinical and cost? effectiveness of acupuncture or dry needling for the management of chronic primary pain? These questions are answered.

The committee’s opinions:

The committee discussed the applicability of the evidence to clinical practice, and noted that there was variation among the interventions included within the review. They agreed that this was reflected in current practice, which showed a similarly wide variation in terms of type of acupuncture, length of sessions and duration of treatment programme. The committee considered the overall benefit of acupuncture, particularly for reducing pain and improving quality of life, in combination with the lack of harm, other than discontinuation from the therapy. The committee agreed that although there was some uncertainty within some of the  outcomes (with a small proportion of outcomes crossing the line of no effect), there was  generally a benefit of acupuncture seen within the evidence when compared to both usual  care and sham. The committee considered that the evidence base was large enough to justify a recommendation, and therefore agreed to recommend the use of acupuncture in clinical practice for people with chronic primary pain.


Acupuncture is recommended in NICE guidelines for tension headaches and migraines for prevention of headaches.

A course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture over 5–8 weeks for the prophylactic treatment of chronic tension-type headache and migraines is considered.


For an acupuncture appointment

Kensington book online  or call at  020 3011 0355  2 min walk from High Street Kensington tube station.

Chelsea book online   or call at 020 3362 3366  5 min walk from Chelsea and Westminster hospital.