According to experts today, acupuncture may be of little or no help in managing chronic knee pain in middle-aged people. Recent investigations have led to the conclusion that real acupuncture does not in any way affect or relieve knee pain. A study observed the outcomes of acupuncture on chronic knee pain in people aged 50 or over.
According to Rana Hinman, the lead author of the study conducted by the University of Melbourne, she and her team were not expecting such radical results. They were surprised to note that it is not effective for people with chronic knee pain even though many people have reported that it has actually been beneficial for their symptoms.
Studies conducted on the same subject previously have declared acupuncture to be extremely effective, even though the advantages compared to mock acupuncture have mostly been minor and of dubious nature. The team found that a number of people over the age of 50 who are burdened with chronic knee pain turn to alternative treatments, including acupuncture. A range of conventional Chinese and Western methods are often used by acupuncturists with needles and low-intensity lasers.
However, the helpfulness of laser acupuncture has been doubtful, according to researchers. To test whether needle or laser acupuncture is more effective than no acupuncture, researchers selected 282 patients and monitored the outcomes of laser acupuncture and needle treatment on these participants. After a year, there seemed to be no significant differences in the levels of knee pain amongst any of the groups. This clearly suggests that there were no actual benefits of needle or laser acupuncture.
The benefits that patients experienced in the past were probably because of the placebo effect. Experts have cited that the reason for supposed benefits of acupuncture in curing knee pain was the strong belief that patients had in the efficacy of the acupuncture. It is believed to be more beneficial for people who fully believe in this method of treatment. In this study, however, people were kept unaware of the fact that they were part of an acupuncture study. Therefore, participants were less likely to believe in acupuncture, which then proved unsuccessful.
It is therefore suggested that people suffering from chronic pain should consult a pain specialist. They may be able to provide alternative treatment options, which may include acupuncture. As a substitute for acupuncture, knee braces and physiotherapy can help reduce chronic knee pain.