Acupuncture is not as effective in providing long-term pain relief for older patients with chronic knee pain, a new study suggests.
Patients 50 years and older suffering from moderate to severe chronic knee pain saw short term pain improvement after acupuncture but did not see maintained pain improvement in the long-term, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne studied 282 patients with chronic knee pain, which mostly affects people aged 50 and older. The study participants were given either needle acupuncture, laser acupuncture, no acupuncture or sham (inactive) laser treatment for up to 12 weeks.
Alternative medicines such as acupuncture is often used in conjunction with recommended physical activity and exercise to help relieve chronic knee pain.
Among the results of the study, researchers found that participants who received needle acupuncture saw pain improvement when walking after 12 weeks but the improvement did not last a year.
Acupuncture is the most widely used form of alternative medicine and can involve traditional methods such as the use of needles as well as laser acupuncture The non-invasive treatment can be used to treat pain conditions.
The process of acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles in specific points, called acupoints, on the body’s surface to stimulate body functions, relieve pain and encourage the body’s natural healing processes.
The practice of acupuncture is based in the belief that energy flows through pathways in the body keeping a balance and that a disruption or interference with this flow can cause illness. Acupuncturists are trained to identify and treat these imbalances of energy flow in the body and help to reestablish health by stimulating ‘acupoints’ on the body.