Research suggests that acupuncture for osteoarthritic knee pain can reduce pain, improve mobility and help with quality of life. Acupuncture for arthritic knee pain even appears to be more effective than several other treatments, including standard medical care.
And so many people are suffering – Arthritis Australia says that 1 in 6 Australians has arthritis, and around half of those are of working age. It’s the leading cause of chronic pain.
If you have osteoarthritic (OA) knee pain, acupuncture may be able to help.
What does the research say?
The Acupuncture Evidence Project summarises the the research supporting acupuncture for knee arthritis pain like this:
“ Knee osteoarthritis pain was not reviewed in the Australian DVA review (2010) and rated as evidence of potential positive effect in the USVA Evidence map of acupuncture (2014) (5, 6). In a network meta-analysis comparing 22 interventions in 152 studies, acupuncture was found to be equal to balneotherapy and superior to sham acupuncture, muscle-strengthening exercise, Tai Chi, weight loss, standard care and aerobic exercise (in ranked order) (52). Acupuncture was also superior to standard care and muscle-strengthening exercises in a sub-analysis of moderate to high quality studies (52). In a systematic review of 12 randomised controlled trials, acupuncture was found to significantly reduce pain intensity, to improve functional mobility and quality of life (53). Subgroup analysis showed greater reduction in pain intensity when treatment lasted for more than four weeks (53). The reviewers concluded that current evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an alternative for traditional analgesics in patients with osteoarthritis (53). ”
How does acupuncture for knee arthritis work?
Chinese Medicine sees this in terms of releasing blockages to the flow of your Qi, your vital energy. Where there is obstruction and stiffness, there should be flow and ease.
From a scientific perspective, there are a range of ideas about how acupuncture is able to reduce pain – for example it may have an anti inflammatory effect. This is an area where lots of research is going on, with interesting information emerging all the time.
What will my treatment look like?
Your treatment will be all about you, and personalised to your needs. You are a richly flavoured individual, not just a pair of knees!
We will discuss your health holistically, to fully understand the context of your knee problem, and how best to help. Your treatment plan will fit you as an individual.
Try acupuncture for your knee arthritis
Get in touch today to book your first appointment.
5. Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.
6. Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.
52. Corbett MS, Rice SJ, Madurasinghe V, Slack R, Fayter DA, Harden M, et al. Acupuncture and other physical treatments for the relief of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: network meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep;21(9):1290-8.
53. Manyanga T, Froese M, Zarychanski R, Abou-Setta A, Friesen C, Tennenhouse M, et al. Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014;14:312.
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