Both acupuncture and exercise have been show to improve quality of life and symptoms of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, but there are patient specific differences on how they should be applied.
After treatment, acupuncture and in isometric exercise groups reported that KOOS increased significantly (improvement) in Quality of Life score as shown (P value <0.05). VAS of acupuncture group changed from 7.25 ± 0.91 to 5.41 ± 1.23.In additions, VAS in isometric exercise group changed from 7.85 ± 1.35 to 5.34 ± 1.26. Total KOOS scores have not shown significant difference in comparative with exercise group (P value > 0.11).
Both acupuncture and isometric exercises decrease pain and increase quality of life in patients who suffer from OA.”
Contrast the previous article with this one published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)2, either of the treatments are acknowledged to be beneficial, but one or the other are recommended based on the patient’s ability to exercise. The article also notes the same benefits about electro acupuncture.
The real issue though is whether acupuncture or physical training should
be recommended as both modalities have proven to be effective (White et
al., 2007; Devos-Comby et al., 2006). Furthermore, in the present study
the authors have used manual acupuncture despite the fact that
electrocupuncture is the modality that is likely to be most efficiaous in
knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain (Vas, White 2007).
In Chinese medicine, we address the root cause, then the branch. In the case of OA, where the root cause may be chronic inflammation and cartilage deterioration from trauma, any structural, dietary and other factors that contribute to the condition are taken into consideration. In my experience with my own knee osteoarthritis, exercise and acupuncture play an integral role. I do isometric exercises,light weight resistance and low impact exercises to strengthen the muscles and supporting ligaments, in combination with weekly electroacupuncture treatments and moxa. For my diet, I consume fatty fish (omega oils) and supplements, which I discussed in detail in a previous post.
Bottom line, there is no silver bullet and everyone’s treatment will vary based on their specific needs. Which ever approach you use, remember consistency is more important than intensity.