Acupuncture for Knee Osteoarthritis not so Effective After All

August 18, 2010

According to researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center, patients with osteoarthritis of the knee do not experience any more benefit with tradition Chinese acupuncture (TCA) than those receiving sham acupuncture (placebo).

According to researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center, patients with osteoarthritis of the knee do not experience any more benefit with tradition Chinese acupuncture (TCA) than those receiving sham acupuncture (placebo).

However, the communication style of the acupuncturist may have a significant effect on pain reduction and satisfaction in patients. The research will be published in Arthritis Care & Research.

The findings come from a study performed by Maria Suarez-Almazor, MD, PhD, and colleagues, that compared the efficacy of TCA with sham acupuncture on OA of the knee. The researchers also measured provider-patient interactions in response to acupuncture. The study included 455 knee OA patients and 72 healthy controls. The acupuncture groups, both sham and TCA, were told by their acupuncturist that they had had great success in the past with treating knee pain or that it may, or may not work for the patient.

No statistically significant differences were reported between patients in the TCA and sham groups, but a small significant affect on pain and satisfaction with treatment was reported. The researchers saw this difference as a result of the different communication styles.