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The evidence for the treatment of osteoarthitis of the knee with acupuncture is relatively good. As you can see from our factsheet there is very good evidence that acupuncture alongside conventional treatment can make a significant difference to the outcomes. Indeed, acupuncture very nearly made it through the process of becoming an option within a NICE guideline!
There are many different approaches to acupuncture, eastern and western, and most use the same points local to the problem to help to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with the condition. A traditional acupuncturist will also be looking at your overall constitutional balances to establish whether this is a local problem brought on by over-use or injury, or whether it is a symptom of a more general underlying pattern. Traditional acupuncture treats the person and the condition, and its primary aim is not simply to get people better but to keep them well.
All patienst are unique, and although most cases of osteoarthritis are amenable to some improvement, there are a few which are too far gone to achieve much change. It is worthwhile seeking an informal view from a BAcC member before committing to treatment, in order to get a sense from them of how much change might be possible and how sustainable it might be.
If you have any questions about acupuncture, browse our archive or ask an expert.
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