Acupuncture and Arthritis

News Note

By Darren Buford

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2005.

A new study by the National Institutes of Health shows significant improvements in the pain management of degenerative osteoarthritis through the use of acupuncture, the ancient Asian medical practice of inserting fine needles at key energetic points along the body. The study included 570 patients with knee osteoarthritis who were either taking anti-inflammatory drugs or other pain relievers. During the 26-week trial, one-third of the participants received 23 sessions of acupuncture treatments, one-third received sham acupuncture (the use of fake needles), and one-third had a 12-week course on pain management. By week 8, participants in the first group showed increased knee function and, by week 14, showed decreased pain. This study comes on the heels of the removal of the arthritis drug Vioxx and other Cox-2 inhibitors from the market, as they were linked with an increase in heart attacks and strokes.