Chronic pain is a major public health problem that places many burdens on individuals,
including impairment of physical and psychological functioning, lost productivity, and side
effects of medications used to treat pain. There is also substantial evidence that minority
populations differ both in prevalence and outcomes of chronic pain; access to care is a key
component in these differences. Strong evidence now supports the use of acupuncture in the
treatment of chronic pain conditions, including when provided in the primary care setting to
patients from ethnically diverse, medically underserved populations. Acupuncture is slowly
being integrated into pain management in many conventional health care settings, but cost
and reimbursement for this service remain obstacles to offering acupuncture, especially in
primary care and safety net settings. Because group acupuncture can be offered at much lower
cost, demonstrating that individual and group delivery are equally effective could reduce
barriers to use of this effective pain management approach.
The primary aim of this study will be to evaluate whether acupuncture delivered in the group
setting for patients with chronic pain is equal to acupuncture delivered in the individual
setting. A secondary objective will be to use qualitative analysis to understand and
describe the patient experience of both acupuncture approaches, and to utilize this data to
inform intervention delivery and dissemination, to better incorporate the patient
- Referred by a primary care provider from one of our participating primary care health
- Provider-documented diagnosis of osteoarthritis (any joint), neck pain, OR back pain
- Self-reported pain score of ≥4 for at least 3 months prior to program entry
- Able to provide consent for treatment and data collection in either English or
- < 21 years of age
- Chronic pain not documented OR self reported pain of ≥4 for less than 3 months.
- Currently taking oral or injectable anticoagulants.
- Lack of contact information OR unavailable for duration of entire treatment period
- Inability to consent to treatment and data collection.
- Active psychosis
- Active substance abuse
M. Diane McKee, MD, MS
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Eric N Gil, BA