07/15/2005 - News

Acupuncture gives short-term relief for arthritis

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Acupuncture gives short-term relief for arthritis

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

A clinical trial suggests that acupuncture can lead to reduced pain and improved joint functioning in arthritis.
Osteoarthritis commonly affects the knee joint, leading to pain and disability. Many of those affected hope to be helped by acupuncture - particularly as there are safety concerns over non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

In a study from Berlin, a group of 300 patients with knee osteoarthritis received either real or sham acupuncture, or were placed on a waiting list. They received treatment for eight weeks and were followed for one year.

Analgesic use was similar for patients in all three groups. At eight weeks, patients given real acupuncture were better with respect to pain and mobility than those in the other two groups. But after a year, there was no difference between any of the groups. Therefore, acupuncture has at least limited benefit in arthritis of the knee. Further study is needed to see what must be done for the benefits to persist.

The Lancet 9th July 2005

Created on: 07/15/2005
Reviewed on: 07/15/2005

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