Osteoarthritis :: Acupuncture May Ease Knee Arthritis – osteoarthritis

For people with osteoarthritis of the knee, 8 weeks of acupuncture significantly decreases pain and improves function compared with sham acupuncture or no treatment, a German study suggests.

Dr. Claudia Witt, from Charite University Medical Centre in Berlin, and her colleagues conducted a trial involving 294 patients ranging in age from 50 to 75 years with osteoarthritis of the knee, who reported an average pain intensity of 40 or more on a 100-millimeter visual analog scale.

In the final analysis, 149 patients were assigned to acupuncture, 75 to minimal acupuncture and 70 to a waiting list “control” group.

As the team explains in The Lancet medical journal, they administered acupuncture according to principles of traditional Chinese medicine using needles applied to the knee and more distant acupuncture points, which were manually stimulated.

Minimal acupuncture treatment involved superficial insertion of needles into distant non-acupuncture points.

Treatment was given during twelve 30-minute sessions over 8 weeks. At that point, average scores on a standard osteoarthritis scale were 26.9 in the acupuncture group, compared with 35.8 in the minimal acupuncture group and 49.6 in the waiting list group — differences the investigators call “clinically important.”

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