Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Case Study.
Medicines (Basel). 2018 Feb 5 ;5(1). Epub 2018 Feb 5. PMID: 29401732
Background: Osteoarthritis is a widespread chronic disease seen as a continuum of clinical occurrences within several phases, which go from synovial inflammation and microscopic changes of bone and cartilage to painful destructive changes of all the joint structures. Being the most common joint disease, it is the leading cause of disability in working individuals above 50 years of age. In some cases, conventional treatments produce just a mild and brief pain reduction and have considerable side-effects. Contemporary Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a model of systems biology based on a logically accessible theoretical background. It integrates several therapeutic approaches, among them acupuncture, which has shown effective results in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis, minimizing pain, improving functionality and consequently leading to a better quality of life. Methods: The present case study included two patients with clinical signs of osteoarthritis and diagnosis of medial pain, as defined by the Heidelberg Model of TCM. Over 6 weeks, those patients were treated with acupuncture, with a frequency of one session a week. The sessions lasted for thirty minutes and were based on the needling of 4 local acupoints. Before and after each session, pain and mobility assessments were performed. Results: The results were positive, with significant reduction of pain and increased knee joint flexion amplitude and mobility. Conclusion: Acupuncture was effective as an alternative or complementary treatment of knee osteoarthritis, with high levels of improvement within a modest intervention period.