Acupuncture for Knee Osteoarthritis
More than 20 million Americans have osteoarthritis. This disease is one of the most frequent causes of physical disability among adults. The National Institutes of Health have released a study showing Acupuncture provides pain relief and improves function as good as if not better than medication (without the side effects) for people with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Patients received 24 acupuncture treatments over 26 weeks. Patients’ progress was measured at 4, 8, 14, and 26 weeks. By week 8, participants receiving acupuncture were showing a significant increase in function and by week 14 a significant decrease in pain.
The results of the study demonstrate that true traditional Chinese Acupuncture is safe and effective for reducing pain and improving physical function in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. These patients have moderate to severe pain despite taking analgesic or anti-inflammatory medications.
It is interesting that the optimal acupuncture effects observed for our primary outcomes took a minimum of 8 weeks for function and 14 weeks for pain.
Acupuncture had a significant benefit in that the side effects were minimal in contrast to current pharmacologic therapies. In fact the side effects of medications may rival in severity the arthritis symptoms themselves.
It is my experience that stiffness, ache and arthritis pain of the wrist, elbow and hip respond similarly to the knee.