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Archive for the ‘Acupuncture’ Category

Knee Acupuncture

Knee Acupuncture

An acupuncture treatment for knee osteoarthritis involves placing tiny needles along your arms, legs, shoulders and perhaps your fingers.  Acupuncture points can be located all over your body, not just the affected area.

Some believe that arthritis symptoms emerge when the flow of chi in the meridians become blocked.  Chi or “Qi” is frequently translated as an “energy flow”.  A meridian is one of twelve pathways that allow chi to flow throughout the body.  The blockage of the Chi within the meridian is called “bi”.

The number of treatments, duration, and number of needles will vary by patient.  An acupuncturist will examine you, and determine the best acupuncture treatment for you.  Each treatment is customized.

Knee Acupuncture

Knee Acupuncture

University of Maryland conducted a study on the use of acupuncture on knee osteoarthritis.  The study randomized over 500 patients into different groups.  The group that received the real acupuncture showed a significant reduction in pain.

Acupuncture is an ancient treatment option for osteoarthritis.   It is safe and believed to work by stimulating endorphins in the body.  Health insurance has been known to cover acupuncture so check your policy.

Changes in diet and herbal remedies are often times recommended as adjuncts to acupuncture.



This blog post is one of a series from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) Full Guideline for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis.

Recommendation 11 – The AAOS is unable to recommend for or against the use of acupuncture to treat osteoarthritis of the knee.

The research team examined 14 different studies regarding how acupuncture effects arthritic knees.  The results of the studies were conflicting.  That is why the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons cannot recommend for or against the use acupuncture as a treatment option for osteoarthritis of the knee.  The evidence is inconclusive.

This is a continuation of our series on the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis published in the Journal of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

knee acupuncture

knee acupuncture

Recommendation XII

Acupuncture may benefit patients with knee OA.

Acupuncture is recommended as a treatment option for hip or knee osteoarthritis in 5/8 existing guidelines.  Also, seven randomized controlled trials were evaluated.  393 patients claimed that “real” acupuncture was more effective than “sham” acupuncture for pain relief.  However the findings in regards to function were inconclusive.

The research team gave this osteoarthritis treatment option a Strength of Recommendation score of 59%.

W. Zhang Ph.D., Moskowitz M.D., et al. OARSI recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis, Part II: OARSI evidence-based, expert consensus guidelines. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. (2008) 16, 137-162

knee acupuncture

An article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that the effect of acupuncture for reducing pain in knees with osteoarthritis remains vague and open to interpretation.

1007 patients with knee osteoarthritis (experiencing chronic pain for at least 6 months) were seen at 315 primary care practices with experience in traditional chinese acupuncture.  This was a randomized controlled trial.

Patients were given real acupuncture and “sham” acupuncture over the course of six weeks.  No statistically significant difference was reported between the two acupuncture therapies.  This suggests any difference could be a placebo effect.

In short, acupuncture was proven to be ineffective at reducing knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.  Other osteoarthritis treatment options should be explored.

Hanns-Peter Scharf, MD; Ulrich Mansmann, PhD; Konrad Streitberger, MD; Steffen Witte, PhD; Jurgen Kramer, MD; Christoph Maier, MD;Hans-Joachim Trampisch, PhD, and Norbert Victor; PhD Acupuncture and Knee Osteoarthritis, Annals of Internal Medicine, July 4, 2006 Vol 145 no. 1 12-20