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Kuan-Chung Chou, LAc
Acupuncture Helps Osteoarthritis Of Knee and Hip
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Acupuncture Helps Osteoarthritis Of Knee and Hip

More than 30 million Americans suffer from arthritis. Arthritis can make life miserable. It always causes pain and limits movement. It is often treated with drugs and surgery. Symptoms of arthritis involve pain, stiffness and swelling around the joints. Other symptoms may include fatigue, fever, depression and weight gain. Osteoarthritis develops slowly. In the beginning, joints may only ache after exercise. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, more commonly it occurs in the hands, knees, hips, or spine.
Acupuncture has become a popular alternative therapy for arthritis pain relief. Acupressure uses the same acupuncture points but uses the hands instead of needles.
A study of the effect of acupuncture on osteoarthritis of the knee found it can help relieve pain and improve movement. A National Institutes of Health study concluded acupuncture is an effective complement to standard care. After 26 weeks, acupuncture patients showed a 40% decrease in pain, and a nearly 40% improvement in knee function. The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
After the full 26 weeks, patients with acupuncture rated their pain 40 percent lower on a standardized scale, compared with 19 percent improvement in the education-only group. The acupuncture group had a greater improvement in function, such as walking and stair climbing. There were few side effects associated with acupuncture. These results indicate that acupuncture can serve as an effective addition to a standard regimen of care and improve quality of life.
Acupuncture can also be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee and hip disorders according to a study at the Charite University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany. During the trial, patients with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, were randomly allocated to undergo up to 15 sessions of acupuncture in a 3-month period. After a short treatment, acupuncture was shown to reduce pain and improve joint functioning in patients with osteoarthritis, specifically osteoarthritis of the knee. After eight weeks, patients given acupuncture had a lower score on an established osteoarthritis index than patients in the control group. These results indicate that acupuncture plus routine care is associated with marked clinical improvement in patients with chronic osteoarthritis. The study and editorial appeared in Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are effective, not dangerous and have few side effects when compared to surgery and steroids to treat arthritis, in many cases. Treating arthritis with acupuncture should be seen as a long-term process. It will take one to three months.
Acupuncture is based on the idea that energy(Qi), flows along channels, or meridians, in a human body. Use of needles can stimulate these channels and influence the body's electromagnetic fields. Traditional Chinese medicine treats the whole body system rather than diseases. It can help to cure the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms.
If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, we suggest you talk to your physician about your situation. If you are looking for non-pharmacological therapies, a combination of acupuncture and herbs may be of interest to you, or if your current treatment isn't helping, you might consider adding acupuncture to the mix.
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