Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and affects millions of people worldwide. It affects joints in the body including the hands, lower back, neck, knees and hips. This type of arthritis is often associated with ‘wear and tear’ degeneration of joint cartilage over time. Risk factors include aging, diabetes, gout, hypothyroid conditions and obesity. Very commonly, OA also results from prior injuries or trauma, such as a car accident, intense athletic or military training, or repetitive motion. Symptoms and signs include pain, lack of flexibility and bone spurs.
Conventional treatments for OA include medications to control pain and inflammation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and cortisone injections into the affected joints. Many patients do well using a combination of therapies and can avoid joint-replacement surgery. But over time, wear and tear on joints only increases and symptoms worsen, leaving room for improvement in how we treat OA patients.
A brand new study from the University of Manitoba in Canada now suggests that we should be adding acupuncture to our list of non-surgical treatments.*
Researchers there conducted what is known as a meta-analysis (a type of combined statistical analysis) of 12 different research trials consisting of 1,763 patients with OA. All the trials compared true acupuncture with sham acupuncture, conventional treatments and no treatments. The analysis found acupuncture effective in reducing pain intensity levels, increasing mobility and improving quality of life scores. And interestingly, a subgroup analysis revealed that patients receiving acupuncture treatments for intervention periods greater than 4 weeks have greater reductions in pain intensity levels than patients receiving acupuncture over a shorter duration of time. Therefore, a greater ‘dose’ of acupuncture seems to have a greater effect, which makes the data even more compelling. This is one of the most exciting and important results on acupuncture to date!
What’s more, acupuncture is cost-effective treatment, safe, and requires no drugs. And acupuncture is becoming increasingly available to patients – including at OSR! Please talk to a medical department provider or Patient Services, if you are curious about how acupuncture can complement your treatment plan. We are happy to be a provider of acupuncture in Kailua.
* Manyanga, Taru. “Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:312. – See more at: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1365-acupuncture-calms-arthritis-pain-increases-mobility#sthash.ogTcJ4zz.dpuf