A meta-analysis undertaken by researchers at the University of Manitoba in Canada, shows that the use of acupuncture to manage osteoarthritis is associated with a significant reduction in symptoms. The authors looked at twelve trials involving a total of 1763 participants, published over a 24 year span, and which compared acupuncture with sham acupuncture, no treatment or usual care. Nine trials were conducted in physiotherapy outpatient departments and three were conducted in GP practices.
Acupuncture was found to be associated with significant improvements in pain intensity, functional mobility and health-related quality of life. Greater pain reduction was associated with acupuncture lasting more than four weeks. The authors conclude that current evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an alternative to the usual analgesics.
(Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 23 August 2014.)