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Ancient Wisdom Treats Modern Diseases

Acupuncture For Osteoarthritic Knees

A just published acupuncture research article concluded that acupuncture improves osteoarthritic knee pain symptoms above ’sham’ acupuncture.    Granted the research group was small, only 34 active acupuncture subjects and there is no such thing as true ’sham’ acupuncture, but the methodologies of this pilot study were sound as they used pain as the endpoint measurement which showed significant difference. Patients were randomized to receive actual acupuncture using standard TCM acupuncture points plus electroacupuncture, or to receive a placebo of a collapsible non-penetrating needle.  Treatments were twice per week for 5 weeks.  After the 5 week study the acupuncture group had a significant improvement in knee pain over the ’sham acupuncture’ group.   Using the standard WOMAC scale for pain subjects in the acupuncture group scored a 95 compared to the sham group which had a 35.  At 9 weeks (1 month after acupuncture sessions ended) the acupuncture group still scored significantly higher than the sham group, although the differences were modest.   The authors concluded that acupuncture is effective for osteoarthitic knee pain which is well known clinically.

I certainly find tremendous improvements in knee pain with acupuncture, although there is no one acupuncture treatment for osteoarthritic knees.  I base my point selection about how the patients presents, meaning where the knee pain is located and other symptoms that patient exhibits.  I use a combination of local (around the pained knee) and constitutional treatments to treat the knee pain as well as any underlying imbalances.   So if you have knee pain consider acupuncture treatments, usually about 3 treatments will give a good indication whether the acupuncture is working for you.

In Health,
George Mandler
Licensed Acupuncturist
Licensed Dietitian / Nutritionist
Maynard, MA & Cambridge, MA

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