Acupuncture and Knee Osteoarthritis

16 May 2008


(1) 44 patents with advanced osteoarthritis of the knee who were awaiting total knee joint replacements were given acupuncture either on the most affected knee only, or on both knees. Points needled were Yinlingquan SP-9, Xuehai SP-10, Liangqiu ST-34, Zusanli ST-36 and Hegu L.I.-4. Results showed a significant reduction in symptoms in both groups with no signficant dfference between the two groups, suggesting that unilateral acupuncture is as effective as bilateral acupuncture for this condition. (Acupuncture in Medicine 2001;19(1):15-18).

(2) 60 patients on a waiting list for total knee replacement were randomly divided into two groups. 30 received "medical acupuncture" using one inch needles inserted "deeply" at Yinlingquan SP-9, Xuehai SP-10, Liangqiu ST-34, Zusanli ST-36 and Hegu L.I.-4. The needles were manipulated manually 4 times during a 15 minute retention and patients received a total of 6 weekly treatments. The 30 patients in the control group received no treatment. At a 2-month follow up, scores for the time to walk 50 metres and the time to climb 20 steps fell significantly in the acupuncture group compared to the control, as did pain scores, whilst HSS knee scores - which gives marks for pain, functional ability, range of motion, muscle strength, flexion deformity and knee stability - improved significantly in the acupuncture group. Scores for all measures deteriorated in the non-treatment group. 3 patients in the acupuncture group requested suspension from the waiting list due to the improvement in their symptoms. (Acupunct Med 2002; 20(1): 19-21).

(3) A randomised placebo-controlled single-blind study of 50 patients in Germany compared the analgesic effect of needling a single acupuncture point (on the arm) traditionally indicated for knee pain, with a simulated acupuncture treatment (control group) in postoperative knee pain following total knee replacement. The acupuncture group showed significantly greater pain relief lasting several hours. (Acupuncture against postoperative pain after total knee replacement - A placebo-controlled trial on immediate effects, Aktuelle Rheumatologie, 1995, 20/4 131-134).

Categories: Acupuncture