Who is acupuncture recommended for?

For chronic pain in the muscles and joints—lower back pain and arthritis are among the most common tormenters in men—the standard approach usually includes anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, appropriate exercise or stretching, and rest. But when usual care fails to get the job done, acupuncture is an increasingly attractive option.

Men with chronic pain may find relief in acupuncture that conventional medicine did not provide—and it is safe. “I think the benefit of acupuncture is clear, and the complications and potential adverse effects of acupuncture are low compared with medication,” says Dr. Lucy Chen, a board-certified anesthesiologist, specialist in pain medicine, and practicing acupuncturist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.