Research: TUKMACHI and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 104


TUKMACHI and co-workers, Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, UK, have carried out an open randomized controlled study of acupuncture in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee.


In this open randomized controlled study, the effectiveness of manual and electro-acupuncture on symptom relief for patients with knee arthritis was investigated.


30 patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee were randomized to 3 groups: Group A received acupuncture alone, group B received acupuncture along with their usual medication, and group C used their usual medication for 5 weeks and then had a course of acupuncture added. Treatment was twice weekly over 5 weeks. Needles were inserted with manual and electrical stimulation in acupuncture points for pain and stiffness, selected according to traditional acupuncture theory for treating Bi syndrome. Patients were assessed before treatment, after treatment and at one month follow-up, using a Pain VAS and the Western Ontario McMaster questionnaire for osteoarthritis of the knee.


A highly significant improvement in pain was found in groups A and B. There was no change in group C until after the course of acupuncture, when the improvement was significant (p = 0.001). Similarly significant changes were seen with the Western Ontario pain and stiffness scores. These benefits were maintained at one month follow-up.


Manual and electro-acupuncture cause a significant and moderately lasting improvement in the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee, either alone or in conjunction with other therapies.


Tukmachi E, Jubb R, Dempsey E, Jones P. The effect of acupuncture on the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis – an open randomised controlled study. Acupuncture in Medicine 22 (1): 14-22, Mar 2004.

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