Acupuncture is more effective than physiotherapy for symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee, and this may be due to its ability to promote repair of knee cartilage, Chinese researchers suggest. Fifty patients aged between 30 and 80, were randomly allocated to receive either acupuncture or physiotherapy. Acupuncture was given on alternate days for four weeks. Physiotherapy was given five times a week for four weeks.
Both groups showed significant reductions in osteoarthritis symptom scores, although the acupuncture group displayed significantly greater reductions in total symptom scores and specifically pain, stiffness and function. MRI scans of knee cartilage suggested that its hydration and biochemical composition had improved in the acupuncture group, but not in the physiotherapy group. The research team suggest that acupuncture may promote repair of knee cartilage.
(Influence of acupuncture in treatment of knee osteoarthritis and cartilage repairing. American Journal of Translational Research, September 2016.)