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Opioids no more effective than placebo for acute back and neck pain. So what is an effective option?

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Opioids no more effective than Placebo
Mark Bayley Acupuncture Chinese Medicine Back Pain

Recent research findings from The University Of Sydney have found that:

"Opioid pain-relieving medicines are not more effective than a placebo in relieving acute back and neck pain and may even cause harm."

In fact they go as far as to state that:

“Opioids should not be recommended for acute back and neck pain full stop."


Numerous clients of mine are well aware of the efficacy of acupuncture in helping with their pain, however for the uninitiated these words are from the;

"Acupuncture can be considered as an evidence-based therapeutic option. Acupuncture has a favourable safety profile and may be a viable alternative if the use of pharmacological analgesics is undesirable". (

It also "has the advantage of being a safe treatment when practiced by a trained professional." (

Mark Bayley Acupuncture / backpain
Acupuncture Back Pain


Australian Medical Acupuncture College.

Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association.

The Lancet.

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