Chronic pain and the use of opioids as treatment is a major ongoing health crisis in the United States. According to the NIH, 23.5 million (11%) American adults have experienced daily pain that has persisted for at least 3 months. Nearly 40 million adults experience severe levels of pain .
The American College of Physicians now recommends acupuncture along with other non-pharmacological treatments for the treatment of chronic back pain . The ACP based this recommendation from the growing number of large clinical trials, such as those shown below, that support acupuncture as an effective treatment for pain.
A 2012 meta-analysis reviewed 29 clinical trials with a total of 17,922 patients analyzed for the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain. The study concluded that "Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo" 
In 2017 the data set for the 2012 meta analysis was used to further analyze the long effect of acupuncture. Published in the journal Pain, the authors found that 'the effects of a course of acupuncture treatment for patients with chronic pain do not seem to decrease importantly over 12 months. Patients can generally be reassured that treatment effects persist". In other words, acupuncture treatment is an effective long-term treatment for pain.