The ancient Chinese therapy of acupuncture can help those suffering from arthritis of the knee, according to new research.
A current multi-location trial included 570 patients ages 50 or older with osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants were placed in three groups. One hundred and ninety patients received acupuncture, 191 underwent sham acupuncture, and 189 followed a self-help course to manager their condition. The patients all received their standard medical care from their physicians.
Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific body points to stimulate the body and improve health. In the sham acupuncture group, the needles were taped to the skin, so the patient would feel some sensation, but the needles were not inserted.
Results showed by the eighth week of the study, the patients receiving acupuncture showed an increase in function of their knee. By week 14, the patients in the acupuncture group had a decrease in pain compared to the other two groups. Specifically, the patients receiving acupuncture reported a 40-percent decrease in pain and a 40-percent increase in function.
Thus researchers conclude that acupuncture is an effective complement to conventional arthritis treatment and can be successfully employed as part of a multidisciplinary approach to treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis.