If you’ve been told you need a knee replacement for your pain, don’t go under the knife till you try acupuncture.
The Centers for Disease Control says there were about 500,000 knee replacements in 2004; you don’t have to be added to this statistic just yet.
A study supports the efficacy of acupuncture for treating the pain of knee osteoarthritis.
What is osteoarthritis of the knee?
It’s when the shock absorbing cartilage, or cushioning, between the bones wears down.
Sometimes the cartilage is so worn down that there is contact between bones. and this generates a lot of pain. Bone-on-bone contact is often what prompts people to pursue joint replacement surgery.
The 2012 online Acupuncture in Medicine reports that this procedure can be an alternative to surgery for pain relief.
Study: Surgery vs. Acupuncture for Knee Pain
The study involved 90 patients (average age 71) with knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Though surgery can yield marvelous results, it’s not ideal for every patient, and up to one in seven patients suffers severe pain just a few years after the operation.
Before you assume that acupuncture works only on patients with mild or minimal OA knee pain, the subjects in this study all had severe symptoms: inability to walk far; constant pain (including during the night), and were eligible for surgery.
They underwent acupuncture once a week for one month, and then after that, once every six weeks.
After one year, 41 of the patients were still receiving acupuncture, and after two years, 31 were. The average number of treatments was 16.5.
After only a month of treatment, patients experienced significant reduction in pain and stiffness, and marked improvement in functional capacity.
These improvements were ongoing throughout the two-year monitoring period.
If you’re at your wit’s end with painful knees—or, if the condition is in a milder form, give acupuncture a try before you agree to go under the knife.