Acupuncture for osteoarthritic knee pain - It's more effective than conventional biomedicine, research shows

Saturday, August 25, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: acupuncture, knee pain, medical research

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(NaturalNews) New research supports earlier studies that show acupuncture is a more effective way to treat osteoarthritic knee pain than treating it with conventional biomedicine.

"Acupuncture provided significantly better relief from knee osteoarthritis pain and a larger improvement in function than sham acupuncture, standard care treatment, or waiting for further treatment," concluded the study, a meta-analysis of 14 separate, random controlled clinical trials involving 3,835 patients states, the Healthcare Medicine Institute reported on its website.

Further, the study went on to note that treating osteoarthritic knee pain with acupuncture is "better at relieving pain and restoring function" than sham acupuncture and standard biomedical care.

HMI said real interest in acupuncture to treat knee pain began following the publication of research by the National Institutes of Health. That research, from 2006, also involved a meta-analysis of 13 separate studies, "in which adults with chronic knee pain or osteoarthritis of the knee were randomized to receive either acupuncture treatment or a control consisting of sham (placebo) acupuncture, other sham treatments, no additional intervention (usual care), or an active intervention."

That analysis concluded: "Acupuncture that meets criteria for adequate treatment is significantly superior to sham acupuncture and to no additional intervention in improving pain and function in patients with chronic knee pain."

Historically, acupuncture has been known to improve knee pain

For years, studies have shown that not only is acupuncture a valuable treatment tool for osteoarthritic knee pain, it is a much cheaper (and better) alternative to knee surgery.

A 2008 study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine notes that this ancient Chinese form of medical treatment was performed on 90 patients who averaged 71 years old for two years.

Initially, participants were given acupuncture once a week for a month and later, the frequency was brought down to a session every six weeks, said a report in Counsel & Heal. A year later, 41 patients were still getting treatments; two years later, 31 were.

Even after the first month, doctors noted that patients had significant clinical improvements in their pain levels.

Nurses who were specially trained in acupuncture therapy were instructed to examine two factors: Whether the therapy improved care while reducing the cost of care, and whether acupuncture was a legitimate alternative to expensive knee replacement surgeries.

The study noted that while experts note that knee surgeries are typically successful and worth the money, they aren't for everyone, making an alternative treatment option necessary. That's because one in seven patients, at the time, reportedly were still suffering from constant pain and an inability to walk far.

Acupuncture seems to fill these voids. While the acupuncture relieves the pain, some reports suggest the cost savings in the U.S. alone could be in the tens of millions per year.

How it all works

To those who have never tried acupuncture, it may seem a bit odd at first, but this ancient remedy has survived for thousands of years precisely because it is so effective at treating certain maladies.

Here's how it works.

Small, incredibly thin needles (which come individually packed and sterile) are inserted just below the skin's surface in certain areas of the body, depending on what condition(s) the patient wants treated (allergies, sore knees, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, etc.).

"The points of needle insertion are governed by what are called meridians, channels through which the Chinese felt the body's energy flowed. Along these channels, there are many specific spots that regulate different parts of the body and levels of health. The needles are applied to these points," says one description. There are 12 main meridians and eight extra meridians.

Just because you may be having stomach problems doesn't mean that's where the needles go. For example, some of the common meridians include:

The Large Intestine: Meridian is located on the back of the hand between your index finger and thumb.

Lungs: Located above the wrist on the inside of the arm.

Stomach: Located below the knee on the front of the leg.


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