| One-Minute Clinician

Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions: Acupuncture?

Pain conditions—such as vulvodynia, temporomandibular disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and chronic tension-type and migraine headache—often occur together and either solely or predominantly affect women. Would acupuncture help?


  • There’s probably some benefit for some patients with abdominal and pelvic pain, including patients with endometriosis
  • We don’t really understand which patients would benefit
  • We know there’s very little harm
  • It’s certainly something that I would encourage patients to do as part of an overall rehabilitation and pain management strategy

While studies are limited, there’s definitely clear evidence that both acupressure and acupuncture can be helpful for symptoms of chronic pain and pelvic pain symptoms. It’s rare that one thing will cure all symptoms. A comprehensive approach from every angle is probably what’s going to be most effective for most patients.