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Acupuncture for Sore Throat


Posted by Joe Downer |  | 

Let’s look at the more common causes of sore throat, characterized by scratchiness, pain and/or tenderness:

  • Virus or bacteria
  • Tonsillitis
  • Chronic pharyngitis
  • Common cold
  • Mononucleosis
  • Strep throat
  • Allergy
  • Mouth breathing
  • Tracheal intubation during surgery
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Smoking
  • Shouting

Because so many incidents of sore throat resolve in a few days most initial treatments consist of over-the-counter remedies designed to mask the pain.  This typically is the approach of most prescribed remedies.  These may have unpleasant side effects.

Fever, problems swallowing or breathing, worsening symptoms, or the condition lingering for many days should be a signal that you need to be examined by a doctor.

Sore throat, viewed as an “ordinary” pain, responds well to acupuncture.  See our blog entry below: “ACUPUNCTURE AND PAIN.” 

Acupuncture for Sore Throat

Because there are many different causes of sore throat, acupuncture is well suited to addressing this condition.  The diagnostic procedure by an acupuncturist looks for “patterns”, and may include taking note of current and past symptoms, how the illness arose, dietary habits, the look of the tongue, and a variety of pulses (Western medicine focuses only on the pulse rate).  As a result, what superficially appears to be the same kind of sore throat in two patients may be treated in each patient by applications at different acupuncture points.

Acupuncture can also play a role as a preventive.  A 2013 non-randomized clinical study (NRS) was carried out in a hospital in Teheran, Iran among 228 patients undergoing elective surgery.  The acupuncture group received acupuncture treatments before surgery along with normal pre-operative care.  The other group received only normal pre-operative care.  The incidence of sore throat within the first 24 hours postoperatively in the acupuncture group was half the rate of the non-acupuncture group.

Where an infection is involved, acupuncture can be an effective partner to address the pain while the doctor is treating the cause of the illness.  Furthermore, acupuncture helps by freeing any energy blockages that may be hindering the immune system. 

Acupuncture in preventing postoperative anesthesia-related sore throat: a comparison with no acupuncture. Esmaeili S1, Alizadeh R, Shoar S, Naderan M, Shoar N.


Stratford Acupuncture & Nutritional Wellness Center
1000 Bridgeport Ave
Shelton, CT 06484
Phone: 959-600-6335
Fax: 203-345-9827

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