Osteoarthritis involves damage to the articular cartilage and other structures in and around joints. It is a commonly occurring condition for acupuncturists both in China and the UK and the joints most frequently affected are usually the knee and hip.
There have been many randomized, controlled trials of acupuncture for osteoarthritis and the results of these can be found on the fact sheet pages of the British Acupuncture Council website. In summary, together with expert consensus guidelines of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International, acupuncture has been recognized as having clinically relevant benefits and as such is recommended as a treatment option for osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture has been used to treat arthritis for many years and in China has been the first choice to help with arthritic pain, swelling and stiffness.
In 2007, a systemic review analyzed the results from 13 trials representing 1,334 patients using acupuncture for arthritis of the knee. It was found that:
“Acupuncture is significantly superior to sham acupuncture and to no additional intervention, in improving pain and function in patients with chronic knee pain” (White et al 2007)