A 62-year-old avid golf player came to the clinic seeking relief for chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, he could not get through a round of golf without taking prescription pain medications, and even with the drugs, he was still in pain afterward. This arthritis acupuncture case study describes how we reduced his knee pain by 80 percent, allowing him to play golf without the need for pain meds.
Evidence-Based Practice is a recent trend in medicine that emphasizes research to confirm the efficacy (benefit) of a particular medication or therapy for a given problem. Acupuncture shines in this department, having more research showing its success than any other alternative medicine. For example, in knee pain due to osteoarthritis, the research overwhelmingly concludes that acupuncture is the most effective treatment to reduce pain with no adverse effects.
Arthritis Acupuncture Case Study
Our patient had a complete exam and work-up with his orthopedic doctor leading to his diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, the provider prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This unsatisfactory solution prompted our patient to seek alternative treatment, leading him to our clinic.
Our intake exam identified his pain centering at the “eyes of the knee” and below the kneecap. Some pain also radiated to the sides of the knees, especially after playing a round of golf. The pain was dull and achy, keep in the joint, at a level strong enough to disturb his sleep. This patient was a former college athlete, used to pain and discomfort – all to say that his knee pain was significant and not something he could ignore.
Acupuncture Treatment For Knee Pain
We selected local points (in and around his knees) and distal points (on his arms, legs, hands, and feet) to stimulate qi and blood circulation. Most pain treatments in acupuncture involve a combination of local and distal acupoints, as the goal is to address both the root issue (source of pain) and the branch (location of pain).
The following is a list of acupoints used during his first four treatments. Each treatment contained a subset of these points: Xiyan, ST36, ST34, SP9, SP10, GB33, GB34, LV3, LV8, Heding, Li11, Li10, Li4, TW10, GB40, and KD3. Electroacupuncture was applied to the local points using a dense-disperse current. Treatments lasted approximately 40 minutes, once a week.
After two treatments, our patient’s knee pain levels in this arthritis acupuncture case study decreased by 20%. In our experience, reducing pain during the first four sessions most often indicates that the therapy will be successful. The pace of recovery depends on the patient’s physiology – some recover faster, others slower. When someone does not respond after four treatments, we typically refer them to a different type of therapy. That said, over 90 percent of our patients find benefit and healing from acupuncture.
Following his fourth treatment, our patient experienced 50 percent less pain throughout the day and night, including after playing a round of golf. He was well on his way to his near full recovery. It took another four treatments (eight total) to get him to 80 percent better, which he maintained with monthly tune-ups. He was thrilled with this outcome, as it allowed him to live his life without the need for pain medications.
How Does Acupuncture Reduce Arthritis Pain?
Acupuncture’s mechanism for healing arthritis pain is straightforward. Arthritis is the degeneration of cartilage in our joints. This breakdown of cartilage creates rough edges, which elicit pain as we use the joints. Acupuncture increases qi and blood circulation in the joints, acting as a natural lubricant and allowing for increased circulation, reducing pain. And unlike NSAIDs, acupuncture generates long-term relief, prompting your body to maintain this increased circulation over a long period.
No matter where the arthritic deterioration occurs, acupuncture restores function. It does not replace the worn cartilage but instead empowers your body to overcome the injury. There is no “danger” from worn cartilage. Arthritis does not damage the bones in your joints. The problem is the pain that ensues, disabling your ability to perform activities. Acupuncture reduces the pain associated with arthritis without the adverse effects of NSAIDs. Plus, it provides much longer relief between treatments. Most of our patients come in for monthly tune-ups once they heal.
If you or a loved one is experiencing arthritis pain, come in and try acupuncture. If you are reading this from a different part of the country, find a practitioner near you on our certifying board’s “find a practitioner” search tool.
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What our Clients are Saying
My knees were so bad with arthritis that I couldn’t play golf. My wife did research on the internet and said acupuncture might help. I went in not expecting much. He told me it would take three to six treatments to see if it would work. My case was tougher because I’m overweight. Sure enough, after five treatments the pain started easing. I needed twelve treatments total, but my knees improved so much I’m playing golf again. I go in for what he calls tune-ups every month, but I don’t mind. The acupuncture keeps my knees not hurting. I’ve recommended it to my golf buddies and they’ve had success as well.
I had been getting botox injections for my face over the past five years, and it worked well. But a friend said that acupuncture could get more lasting results in a more natural way. I inquired at Raleigh Acupuncture and was surprised at how affordable it was. They explained that as an added bonus, I would receive acupuncture to help other issues at the same time that they treated my face. So I took the opportunity to deal with some arthritis in my hands and a bad knee. The facial rejuvenation was amazing. It happens over the course of 12 weeks and I literally saw wrinkles disappear! After each treatment I felt so relaxed. I’m hooked on acupuncture now, both for my face and the rest of me. The staff at Raleigh Acupuncture are very professional, friendly and skilled. I felt safe and comfortable during each visit.
All of my joints were hurting. I’ve got fibromyalgia and it effects me by making my joints hurt. The pain would move around from place to place, first the hip, the next day the shoulder, then the knee, etc. The practitioner at Raleigh Acupuncture explained that the best way to treat my kind of moving joint pain was to treat me holistically. Instead of treating the hip one day, the shoulder the next, they treated the root of the pain. They said this type of treatment would also improve my mood and my sleep. Right on all counts. I started feeling better after the second treatment. It’s like all of the joints just settled down and stopped giving me trouble. I had less flares and the intensity of the pain went way down. My sleep is better, not just because I have less pain. I’m more relaxed and less stressed. I’ve made this treatment a regular part of my life. I’m very grateful.
I had terrible pain in my hands from arthritis, especially my thumbs. I could not even open a jar anymore – there was no strength. My neighbor was seeing an acupuncturist at Raleigh Acupuncture, so I made an appointment. They were so sweet. I was apprehensive about the needles, but they told me they would use extra small ones, which I hate to admit, but I couldn’t even see without my glasses. They put needles in my hands, arms and in different places on my legs as well. I believe it made a substantial difference. My hands stopped hurting all the time and my grip strength increased. My thumbs still give me some trouble, but not nearly like before. I’d say I am 80% improved with my arthritis. Now I have all of my friends going to them!