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Acupuncture May Benefit Osteoarthritis Patients

Researchers see significant clinical improvements in patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, acupuncture in addition to routine care may result in significant clinical improvement, researchers report in the November issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Claudia M. Witt, M.D., of Charite University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany, and colleagues studied 3,633 patients with osteoarthritis, including 357 who received up to 15 sessions of acupuncture in the initial three-month period, 355 controls who received no acupuncture for the first three months, and 2,921 non-randomized patients who received the same treatment as the acupuncture group.

At three months, the researchers found that Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores improved by a mean of 17.6 in the acupuncture group compared to 0.9 in the control group. They also found that the acupuncture group had more significant quality of life improvements than the control group. After six months, they found that outcome changes were similar in non-randomized patients and randomized patients who received acupuncture.

"Given that the biologic mechanism of acupuncture is still unclear, the study by Witt et al furthers our understanding of acupuncture and adds to the accumulated evidence supporting its efficacy," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "Such evidence warrants extensive use of acupuncture in various chronic pain conditions."

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