The opioid drug crisis impacting millions of Americans is prompting physicians to look for innovative, non-narcotic alternatives for treating pain. Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital Orthopedic Specialist David Mann, DO uses the ancient practice of acupuncture as an effective pain management procedure.


“I use acupuncture as an adjunct to pain management,” Mann said. “There’s a huge opioid crisis in America and in Texas, so any alternative therapy we can utilize for pain management is a good thing.”


Mann, who completed training in acupuncture during his 20-year career in the U.S. Navy, says he typically applies traditional Western medicine pain management modalities before turning to acupuncture. Treating back and neck pain are the most common conditions in which he uses the practice.


“In conjunction with therapies such as taking non-steroidal medicines like ibuprofen and Tylenol, physical therapy, chiropractic care and exercise, I use acupuncture to help treat the pain,” Mann said.


The length of a typical acupuncture session may last about 30 minutes, with placement of the needles taking about two to five minutes. The patient then relaxes in the exam room or in the waiting area for about 20 minutes before the needles are removed.


Mann says he frequently utilizes ear acupuncture, or auriculotherapy, which uses regular needles, or special APC needles that resemble small gold studs. 


“Ear acupuncture uses special needles that can stay in place for seven days,” Mann said. “The patient can leave them in as long as they want or let them fall out on their own.”


Acupuncture needles may range in length from about a quarter of an inch to 12 inches, with longer needles used to treat pain in areas like the back that contain large muscle groups. He says running a small electrical charge through the needles to produce a massage-like sensation can also be effective.


A typical acupuncture school course takes about three years to complete. Mann completed his training at the Helms Medical Institute in Berkley, Calif. about seven years ago.


“It is proven that acupuncture works for pain and psychological illness. In fact, in places like Japan and China, acupuncture is frequently used in place of anesthesia for surgery,” Mann said.


To ensure your safety, Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital is taking every necessary precaution during the coronavirus pandemic to keep you and our staff members safe, including, screening all patients; ensuring only those without COVID-19 symptoms are seen in the office; wearing masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) while providing patient care; reorganizing waiting rooms and check-in lines to ensure social distancing; and implementing additional sanitation processes to disinfect all equipment and surfaces.


In addition to acupuncture treatments, Mann specializes in a full range of non-surgical orthopedics, including sports medicine, ultrasound-guided procedures and diagnostics, joint and soft tissue injections and osteopathic manipulation. He is part of the comprehensive care team at Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Baytown. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit, or call 281.247.7400.