Research: CREAMER and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 46

Abstract

CREAMER and colleagues, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore USA write that although acupuncture has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of patients with knee osteoarthritis, response among patients is highly variable. The authors conducted a retrospective study to examine the relationship between demographic and psychosocial variables and response to acupuncture regarding reduction in pain and disability at the end of an 8-week course of acupuncture treatment.

Background

Methodology

Recruits to the study were 37 patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis who had previously participated in a controlled trial using acupuncture one year previously. The interventions included a structure interview, questionnaire and an examination. The main outcome measures were depression, anxiety, helplessness, self-efficacy and fatigue. Knee examination and pain threshold assessment were measured using dolorimetry.

Results

The response at 8 weeks was significantly related to duration of symptoms. A statistically nonsignificant trend was discovered for older and more educated individuals to have a better response; anxiety and fatigue were inversely related to response (statistically nonsignificant). People with localised medial pain had significantly better response in terms of pain and disability than did individuals with generalised knee pain.

Conclusion

Apart from a weak relationship with anxiety at 8 weeks only, there was no evidence found of a link between psychosocial variables and response to acupuncture. These results need to be confirmed by prospective studies.

References

Creamer P et al. Are psychosocial factors related to response to acupuncture among patients with knee osteoarthritis? Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 5(4): 72-6. Jul 1999.  

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