Osteoarthritis: Current Research

oakneeOsteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, often caused by wear and tear due to use of the joint.   It most commonly affects joints in your hands, neck, lower back, knees and hips. Osteoarthritis does worsen over time, and although there is no cure, various methods can be used

Symptoms include:

  • Pain, tenderness, stiffness
  • Loss of full movement
  • Grating sensation heard or felt
  • Bone spurs may form around joint

Western Treatment:

  • Pain medications and anti-inflammatories are often prescribed
  • Physical or occupational therapy may be suggested to increase range of motion
  • Cortisone injections
  • Surgery

Holistic Treatment: (from Mayo Clinic)

  • Acupuncture. Some studies indicate that acupuncture can relieve pain and improve function in people who have knee osteoarthritis. During acupuncture, hair-thin needles are inserted into your skin at precise spots on your body. Risks include infection, bruising and some pain where needles are inserted into your skin.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin. Studies have been mixed on these nutritional supplements. A few have found benefits for people with osteoarthritis, while most indicate that these supplements work no better than placebo. Don’t use glucosamine if you’re allergic to shellfish. Glucosamine and chondroitin may interact with blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) and cause bleeding problems.
  • Tai chi and yoga. These movement therapies involve gentle exercises and stretches combined with deep breathing. Many people use these therapies to reduce stress in their lives, though small studies have found that tai chi and yoga may reduce osteoarthritis pain. When led by a knowledgeable instructor, these therapies are safe. Avoid moves that cause pain in your joints.

Current Research on Acupuncture: 

A study published this year (Karner et al., 2013[1])  used a randomized double-blind study deign.  Participants (N=116) were aged 35 to 82 all with diagnoses of osteoarthritis of the knee.  Participants were randomized into three groups.  Statistically significant results included improvement in the flexibility of the knee joint with Chinese traditional acupuncture (10.3 degrees; 95% CI 8.9 to 11.7).  All participants received pain relief, however it was highest for Chinese traditional acupuncture (73%) compared to the other two treatment groups- sham acupuncture (the needling of non-acupuncture points) (48%) and acupuncture using a point protocol rather than a diagnosis approach (64%).

To download the full published journal article, click here: OA.knee

At Wildwood Acupuncture Center–we are a family owned medically based clinic who will work in collaboration with other treatments you are receiving to enhance your treatment results.

Call us today to schedule a consultation: 301-530-5308


[1] Karner, M., Brazkiewicz, F., Remppis, A., Fischer, J., Gerlach, O., Stremmel, W., … & Greten, H. J. (2013). Objectifying Specific and Nonspecific Effects of Acupuncture: A Double-Blinded Randomised Trial in Osteoarthritis of the Knee. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.