Acupuncture can help boost the power of drugs in reducing the pain suffered by patients with arthritis in their knees, researchers say.
United States researchers say that patients who got three months worth of regular acupuncture treatments along with their normal arthritis care reported less pain and better ability to move than patients who got a sham acupuncture treatment.”These data show that traditional Chinese acupuncture provides clinically important relief of pain and improvement in function in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis when added to background therapy,” Dr Marc Hochberg, a rheumatologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said.Dr Hochberg and colleagues studied 570 patients for their study.The patients had an average age of 65.They got either traditional Chinese acupuncture involving needles, sham acupuncture with the needles tapped at certain points but not inserted, or basic care including anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics. The acupuncture patients got 23 treatments. Six months later the patients filled out a questionnaire called the WOMAC osteoarthritis index.The sham acupuncture group reported a score of -2.92 for pain and -9.87 for movement, compared to -3.79 for pain and -12.42 for the group that got real acupuncture. Osteoarthritis affects more than 17 million Americans over the age of 65 and in the knee is marked by a breakdown of cartilage.(Source: Reuters, Oct 2004)