Acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis

An April 2022 study: (1) “Acupuncture has beneficial effect on pain relief and improves function activities, and this treatment can be recommended as a beneficial alternative therapy in patients with knee osteoarthritis, particularly for chronic patients and those currently undergoing long-term pain and help them increasing quality of life. But it should be further verified through more random control studies in function. Available studies suggested that acupuncture was superior to sham acupuncture in reduce pain and function.”

Researchers think blade needle acupuncture works better for knee osteoarthritis than traditional acupuncture. Blade needle acupuncture uses small blades as opposed to thin needles. A July 2022 paper (2) investigated the hypothesis that the efficacy of blade needle therapy for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis is superior to that of conventional acupuncture. However what they ran into was a belief that it was better, but the researchers could not give a solid recommendation because . . . “due to the low proportion of high-quality studies . . . and the possible bias factor (from researchers in past papers).

A June 2022 study (3) found that a combination treatment of Acupuncture / moxibustion (Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy which burns dried mugwort on particular points on the body causing pain, in this case the knee) has superior therapy efficacy than sham treatment.

A January 2022 paper (4)  did not find acupuncture benefits patients with knee osteoarthritis. The researcher here wrote: “At short-term, there was low to very low evidence and there were statistically significant differences in pain intensity and knee function in favor of acupuncture versus control interventions in patients with knee osteoarthritis. However, these differences were not clinically important. For the acupuncture versus sham, in the short-term, no differences clinical neither statistically significant to favor of acupuncture in pain intensity and knee function.”

1 Tian H, Huang L, Sun M, Xu G, He J, Zhou Z, Huang F, Liu Y, Liang F. Acupuncture for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials with Meta-Analyses and Trial Sequential Analyses. BioMed Research International. 2022 Apr 21;2022.
2 Yin X, Liu Y, Liu W, Liang W, Liang Q. Blade needle therapy versus conventional acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis: A meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Jul 29;101(30):e29647.
3 Ye C, Zhou J, Wang M, Xiao S, Lv A, Wang D. The Effectiveness Comparison of Different Acupuncture-Related Therapies on Knee Osteoarthritis: A Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2022 Jun 30;2022.
4 Araya-Quintanilla F, Cuyúl-Vásquez I, Gutiérrez-Espinoza H. Does acupuncture provide pain relief in patients with osteoarthritis knee? An overview of systematic reviews. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2021 Nov 2.




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