A bibliometric approach using quantitative analytical methods was applied to explore the development of research investigating acupuncture for the treatment of pain. This study also evaluated the current status of acupuncture analgesia with a visualization analysis of journal articles.
Articles on acupuncture for pain control that were published from 2000 to 2019 were retrieved from the Web of Science database. Extracted records were analyzed in terms of year of publication, country, journal, research area, authors, and organizational affiliations. The VOSviewer program was used to visualize trends in research on acupuncture for pain control.
Analyses of 4595 original and review articles revealed that the total number of publications has continually increased over the last 20 years. The country producing the most articles in this field was the United States, followed by China and South Korea. A network analysis based on the cooccurrence of keywords revealed the following three major types of studies: clinical studies, pain management studies, and mechanism studies.