Multiple studies have strongly suggested that acupuncture can be an excellent option to treat different types of pain. A recent study conducted by researchers from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine quantified the curative effect of warm needle acupuncture using micro-CT (computed tomography). The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating knee osteoarthritis. Knee osteoarthritis is characterized by degeneration of articular cartilage, intra-articular inflammation with synovitis, and remodeling of periarticular and sub-chondral bone. Knee osteoarthritis is a major cause of pain and disability and is also one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders in the United States.
In this randomized study, 40 experimental rats were divided into 4 groups: a control group (n=10), a knee osteoarthritis model group (n=10), a medication group (n=10), and a warm needle acupuncture group (n=10). With the exception of the control group, the other three groups underwent surgery to create a knee osteoarthritis model. The medication group received intragastric administration of meloxicam, once per day, for 20 consecutive days. Meloxicam is an NSAID used to treat pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. The warm needle acupuncture group was treated with acupuncture and moxibustion at bilateral Xiyan (ST35 Dubi and Neixiyan), once per day, for 20 consecutive days. The knee osteoarthritis model group did not receive any treatment. The researchers conclude that acupuncture with moxibustion is effective for the alleviation of knee osteoarthritis. In this study, the researchers note that “In the early stages of knee osteoarthritis, warm needle acupuncture not only relieves pain, but also accelerates bone tissue repair.” The researchers conclude that “warm needle acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.” In addition, warm needle acupuncture outperforms meloxicam. For more information about treatment for knee osteoarthritis, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.