[Acupuncture efficacy in osteoarthritis]

Tal Zan-Bar, Amir Tanay
Harefuah 2007, 146 (5): 352-3, 406
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of articular disorders, and is primarily a disorder of hyaline cartilage and subchondral bone, although all tissues in and around involved joints are hypertrophic. The etiology of OA is multifactorial, its prevalence is increasing and treatment is focused mainly on pain control and reduction of disability. One of the recently studied treatments, which were found to improve OA, is acupuncture. Acupuncture, a method of Chinese medicine, involves insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It was demonstrated in various studies, that acupuncture regulated pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, increases the release of neuropeptides and opioids, and regulates vasodilatation. These biological mechanisms can shed a light on the efficacy of acupuncture on various syndromes, including OA. Future research should emphasize the specific acupuncture protocol of treatment best suited for OA (duration and frequency of treatments, specific optimal acupoints for OA and evaluation of acupuncture as adjuvant or as alternative treatment).

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