Chronic knee pain may be helped by acupuncture. A systematic review of random clinical trials found that acupuncture is associated with significant reductions in pain intensity, functional mobility improvement and quality of life. It concluded that the evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an alternative for analgesics in patients with osteoarthritis.(1) Chronic knee pain is often due to osteoarthritis.
Another study found that acupuncture is one of the more effective physical treatments for alleviating knee osteoarthritis pain in the short term.(2) While the evidence is not high enough quality to make claims for therapeutic benefit, small studies have found that acupuncture may repair knee cartilage .(3)
Knee pain due to other pathology may be helped by acupuncture, but there are not studies of high enough quality for a Registered Health Professional to say that is effective under Australian advertising legislation. Most commonly knee pain in younger people is due to muscular imbalance or poor movement patterns during activity. This can often be relieved with remedial exercise, and as I have posted before physiotherapists are the people to see for this. We acupuncturists are the people to see for pain relief while the exercises do their work.
- Manyanga T, Froese M, Zarychanski R, Abou-Setta A, Friesen C, Tennenhouse M, et al. Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014;14:312.
- Corbett MS, Rice SJ, Madurasinghe V, Slack R, Fayter DA, Harden M, et al. Acupuncture and other physical treatments for the relief of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: network meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013; Sep;21(9):1290-8.
- Zhang, Yan & Bao, Fei & Wang, Yan & Wu, Zhihong. (2016). Influence of acupuncture in treatment of knee osteoarthritis and cartilage repairing. American Journal of Translational Research. 8. 3995-4002. Retrieved 12/7/20