ACUPUNCTURE FOR KNEE PAIN
Knee pain is common and can be hard to treat, and knees injuries are often slow to heal due to the relatively poor blood flow to the area. Luckily, acupuncture can help.
This is an area with quite a few studies behind it. For instance, researchers at the Hong Kong School of Traditional Chinese Medicine looked at acupuncture for arthritic knee pain and found an improvement in just 6 treatments.
In another study, published in the Anhui Medical and Pharmaceutical Journal, researchers found that acupuncture plus moxibustion is more effective than diclofenac (an NSAID painkiller) for relief of knee pain and motor impairment. Although the diclofenac worked quicker, the acupuncture produced significantly greater results for long-term relief – Acupuncture plus moxibustion had a success rate of 63.33%, but only 33.33% success for the diclofenac.
These and other studies show that the acupuncture treatment for knee pain is effective, and often more effective than conventional treatments such as painkillers. Needless to say, it is also without the side-effects of medication!
Acupuncture can be used as a treatment for all kinds of knee pain, from arthritis to sports injuries and all kinds of sprains and strains. Acupuncture can also be used to speed the healing process and reduce pain in more serious cases, for instance a torn cruciate ligament, or following surgery – a recent review by American authors (published in JAMA Surg. Aug 2017) showed that receiving acupuncture following a knee replacement reduced the need for opioid pain killers.
The Acupuncture Theory Of Pain
According to Chinese medicine, pain or discomfort of any kind is due to a stagnation or lack or free flow. In Chinese terms, this means a stagnation of Qi or Blood. You could also look at it as the muscles tendons and ligaments being stuck and not ‘flowing freely’.
Of all the different treatment modalities offered by Chinese medicine, acupuncture is definitely the best for pain in most cases, because it is so good at getting things moving and clearing blockages, thereby stopping pain.
If there is Coldness in the knee (for instance a pain which is worse in cold weather) then moxibustion is useful alongside acupuncture. Tui na massage or acupressure can also be useful to compliment the acupuncture treatment, especially if there are tight or knotted muscles. In stubborn cases, herbs can also be used. In my Bristol acupuncture clinic, I use whatever combination will have the best effect, depending on individual requirements.