You’ve no doubt heard that acupuncture can be a useful tool in managing pain. Now new research highlighted in this India Times piece adds more weight to the idea, finding that acupuncture can help alleviate pain that often sends people to the emergency room.

The study, conducted in Australia by researchers at RMIT University, found that acupuncture may be a safe alternative to traditional painkillers in providing relief for emergency room patients. In the study, 528 patients who sought emergency room treatment for acute lower back pain, migraines or ankle sprains were split into three groups. One received only acupuncture, another was treated with acupuncture and pharmacotherapy and the last received only pharmacotherapy. There was little difference in how well the different treatments lowered pain immediately, but 48 hours later, “82.8 percent of acupuncture-only patients saying they would probably or definitely repeat their treatment, compared with 80.8 percent in the combined group, and 78.2 percent in the pharmacotherapy-only group,” according to India Times writer Arushi Chaturvedi.

Lead study author Marc Cohen told the India Times, “Our study has shown acupuncture is a viable alternative and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions,” Cohen noted. “But it’s clear we need more research overall to develop better medical approaches to pain management, as the study also showed patients initially remained in some pain, no matter what treatment they received.”

Read more on the India Times.