Tags: osteoarthritis

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine | Full text | Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

“The use of acupuncture is associated with significant reductions in pain intensity, improvement in functional mobility and quality of life.” -via BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine | Full text | Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

needling

“In this systematic review, we found acupuncture administered to adults with osteoarthritis to be associated with a statistically significant reduction in pain intensity, improved functional mobility and improved health-related quality of life. Reductions in pain were greater in trials with longer intervention periods. Though under-reported and inconsistently described, major adverse events with acupuncture were not reported. Subgroup analyses suggest that acupuncture is most effective for reducing osteoarthritic pain when administered for more than four weeks. Outcome assessment for the majority of trials occurred immediately following the intervention period and thus the durability of treatment effects are unknown.” -via BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine | Full text | Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

I see and treat all sorts of pain every day in the clinic.  Time and time again people find acupuncture and TCM to be a wonderful way to manage their pain.  Some injuries and some pains completely resolve with minimal treatment (even after sticking around for years), where others don’t ever totally go away, but patients report less pain, more function and a better quality of life when they receive on-going care.  In my experience osteoarthritis falls into this category.  Generally once we bring the pain down to manageable levels, patients do well with semi-regular care – and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see patients who had given up on their favorite activities return to them with minimal discomfort.

 

 

Biological Implausibility Aside, Acupuncture Works – via The Atlantic

I get it – I absolutely get it when people are skeptical of acupuncture.  It seems a little bit crazy and out there.  Really, I do understand – my background is in neuroscience, I read scientific studies, I’ve even done a few, and I get it – you want to understand. I want to understand, too!  I **wish** I could list off all the physiological mechanisms at play, but I can’t – we don’t know them yet.  And I know this means that you may be less inclined to try acupuncture, and that’s fair. However, just because we don’t YET understand how it works doesn’t mean it doesn’t.  In my experience both as a patient and a practitioner – it works.  It works for a lot of people (not everyone, nothing does).   While I don’t need the studies to convince me of that, it’s certainly nice when some show up to illuminate a biological mechanism (did you see the Rutgers study on inflammation – so cool! ), or a study like the one below from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that looked at the results from 29 different studies and found that acupuncture is more effective than controls for several conditions. Let’s leave sham acupuncture and placebo for a later discussion – I have lots to say about it – but for now – I’ll leave you with this quote from The Atlantic article, and urge you to read the whole thing!

“A meta-analysis of 18,000 patientablets from 29 randomized controlled studies, it found that the treatment was more effective than controls in relieving back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain. Significantly, it also found that real acupuncture was more effective than shams.

Putting their results into context, the authors of the study explain that for a pain rating of 60 on a 100-point scale, follow-up scores decreased to around 43 for those had received no treatment, 35 for those who had received fake treatment, and 30 for those who received acupuncture. This translates into a 50 percent reduction in pain for the acupuncture patients, and only 30 and 42.5 percent reductions for the control and placebo groups, respectively.”
-via Biological Implausibility Aside, Acupuncture Works – The Atlantic.

Full study here: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1357513#Abstract

Also, if you are someone who finds acupuncture effective but struggles when talking about it to skeptics – take a look at this wonderful article by Mel Hopper Koppelman : HOW TO WIN AN ARGUMENT WITH AN ACUPUNCTURE HATER.  I love her take on common objections to acupuncture and her well-referenced post!  Thanks, Mel!