Knee Osteoarthritis & Acupuncture

Knee Osteoarthritis & Acupuncture

2 October 2018 by Caitlin Armit

Knee Osteoarthritis & Acupuncture

Two key studies on the efficacy of acupuncture for pain due to knee osteoarthritis are discussed in this article. If you would like to know more about acupuncture treatment for similar conditions, please contact us by email

Pain Research

A 2014 study, Pain Management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis, analysed the results of 12 research trials with a total of 1763 participants. These trials compared acupuncture to either sham ‘placebo’ acupuncture, no treatment or ‘usual care’. The results showed that acupuncture was associated with significant reductions in pain intensity, functional mobility and health-related quality of life. It also indicated that pain was reduced to a greater extent when the intervention periods were longer than 4 weeks duration. The authors acknowledge that the quality of the included studies is sub-optimal but conclude that “current evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an alternative for traditional analgesics in patients with osteoarthritis.”

A 2013 study, Acupuncture and other physical treatments for the relief of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: network meta-analysis, examined 114 trials with a total of 9709 patients experiencing pain from knee osteoarthritis. The researchers sought to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture with other relevant physical treatments for alleviating this pain. Eight interventions, one of which was acupuncture, produced a statistically significant reduction in pain when compared with standard care. Many of the trials were not of high quality but, of the trials which were good quality, acupuncture and muscle strengthening exercises were the key interventions. Acupuncture was superior to standard care but it also outperformed muscle-strengthening exercise. The authors note that higher quality studies are needed but that the “results indicate that acupuncture can be considered as one of the more effective physical treatments for alleviating osteoarthritis knee pain in the short term.”


Categories: Brisbane Acupuncture Blog | Pain Relief Brisbane

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