Recommended by HealthPAIN RELIEF from http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/acupunctures-effect-knee-pain
How Researchers Reached The Flawed Conclusion That Acupuncture Doesn’t Help With Knee Pain By MARYGRACE TAYLOR SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
The effects of acupuncture on knee pain
Picture this scenario: An adult plagued with chronic headaches seeks relief by popping ibuprofen a few times a week. The meds help. Then she decides to stop taking them. And when she does, the pain creeps back.
Surprised? Not exactly. The last thing you’d deduce from this imaginary experiment is that ibuprofen doesn’t help with headaches. But that’s basically what researchers suggested about needle and laser acupuncture’s effect on chronic knee pain in a new JAMA study.
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In the clinical trial, 282 adults age 50 and older with chronic knee pain were randomly assigned to needle or laser acupuncture treatments or a sham laser acupuncture treatment. After 12 weeks, participants who received the acupuncture reported modest improvements in pain. Then the treatments stopped, and nine months later, the participants had knee pain again. This, weirdly, led the researchers to conclude that acupuncture just doesn’t offer relief from chronic knee pain.
Sounds confusing, right? Save for undergoing surgery, most chronic pain problems can never really be permanently solved. Even for treatments that make the discomfort vanish, it tends to come back once said treatment stops. That’s sort of a given. “Acupuncture can be used as pain management, but it doesn’t necessarily heal the pain permanently,” says Michelle Goebel-Angel, licensed acupuncturist at Chicago’s Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern.
There’s more. The researchers of this small study posit that having a larger sample size might have yielded more significant results. Which is exactly what experts uncovered in 2012 meta-analysis of nearly 18,000 patients, which found that needle acupuncture does help with osteoarthritis, as well as other types of chronic pain.
Still, like many treatments, acupuncture doesn’t have the same effect on everyone. But it’s absolutely worth trying, and tends to be the type of thing where the benefits accumulate over time (as in, longer than 12 weeks). “When patients feel the relief, they believe it,” says Goebel-Angel. “And that opens a new level of healing—the spiritual aspect of healing.”
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