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I have many patients who have had superior results for knee arthritis pain with acupuncture and nutritional interventions – some of them are hiking without pain 15 years after coming to me while considering knee replacement surgery.

A number of recent studies confirm that acupuncture is a good choice if you have knee pain from osteoarthritis. Studies show that arthroscopic knee surgery is generally ineffective, that steroid injections are not only ineffective but damage your knee cartilage, and that acupuncture can have a positive effect.

This Journal of the American Medical Association study compared a steroid injection of the arthritic knee every three months for two years with a saline injection (placebo equivalent) over the same time. They found no difference in pain relief  and a 21% reduction in the cartilage thickness in the steroid group. To summarize – no help, possible serious complications, expensive, and destroys knee cartilage.

This recent British Medical Journal article reveals that arthroscopic surgery for arthritic knees, a procedure performed 2,000,000 times a year around the world, and costing $3 Billion dollars in the U.S. alone, is ineffective in relieving knee pain.

This summary of acupuncture for knee pain from the Arthritis Foundation is funny — it makes it sound like acupuncture might not be helpful, but if you read the article, it quotes studies that indicate otherwise.

The truth is, as I’ve said before, there is a spectrum of how responsive people are to acupuncture, ranging from non-responsive to exquisitely responsive. This is a biological trait, not a matter of will or belief. If you are responsive, acupuncture will likely help you with arthritic knee pain. The way to tell is to have 3-6 treatments, depending on how severe your pain is, and how long you’ve been suffering. Your knees will tell you whether it works for you.

If you know someone suffering with knee pain, please ask them to contact me, so they can give their bodies a chance to heal themselves instead of opting for expensive, ineffective and potentially damaging treatments.

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