Arthritis and Acupuncture:
the evidence for effectiveness
Arthritis is a generalised musculoskeletal name for joint disease, in which a person's joints become inflamed, often resulting in pain, stiffness, disability or deformity. Osteoarthritis is a disease essentially confined to the joint capsule, where Rheumatoid arthritis also affects the joints of the body.
In 2011-12, 14.8% of Australians (or around 3.3 million people) had arthritis, with the occurrence higher amongst women than men (17.7% compared with 11.8%). With an aging population and the prevalence expected to increase, it is a vital opportunity to determine the effective treatment options.
A review assessing 18 papers (10 osteoarthritis and 8 rheumatoid) reported an improvement following acupuncture treatment. In relation to osteoarthritis, overall, acupuncture showed to give relief from the symptoms of osteoarthritis with negligible side effects and proved to provide a worthwhile outcome, ultimately reducing reliance on medications and surgery.
In relation to rheumatoid arthritis, given that it is a more complex disorder, the effectiveness of the treatment can be more difficult to determine. However, throughout the review, acupuncture had shown to give some pain relief in rheumatoid arthritis and showed a possible anti- inflammatory response. Link to study:
In conclusion, whilst the evidence for effectiveness is sparse, acupuncture can be helpful in alleviating pain in both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you suffer from an arthritis condition and would like to consider acupuncture therapy as a treatment option, click ‘contacts us’ now to discuss your personalised treatment program today.