Knee pain is a fairly common health care complaint. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 11 million visits are made to physicians' offices each year because of a knee or knee-related condition. It is the most commonly treated anatomical site by orthopedists, and one of the most examined sites among general practitioners.
Due to its size and structure, it is also one of the most frequently injured joints. Knee injuries can be caused by several factors. Knee pain often results from some form of injury, such as a torn or ruptured ligament, torn cartilage, knee strain, or a broken or fractured kneecap. Arthritis, infections, bone tumors, and cysts can also lead to knee pain.
Acupuncture can be effective in relieving certain types of knee pain. Acupuncture decreases pain and stiffness levels and increases muscle strength and range of motion. Knee-related conditions generally responsive to acupuncture include: Knee osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, strains, and local contusions.
In a study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine that included 570 patients receiving either acupuncture or sham acupuncture treatments for knee osteoarthritis the acupuncture patients experienced improvement in function and pain relief in comparison to the sham treatments (Annals of Internal Medicine).
Acupuncture, when applied to the local knee region, improves local blood flow. Increased circulation is particularly beneficial to areas that may have ischemia (a lack of blood flow), which is often prevalent in conditions that involve strain and swelling.
Acupuncture increases production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Acupuncture provides pain relief by activating the pain modulation system of the body which results in changes in the processing of pain signals at various levels in the central nervous system. Acupuncture serves as an excellent primary therapy for knee conditions as well as an adjunct therapy to conventional medical care for knee pain.
Knee pain management including anti-inflammatory agents, physical therapy and orthopedic intervention can be augmented with use of acupuncture. Typical acupuncture points for knee pain include points surrounding the knee and foot, local points within the muscle and distal points in other parts of the body. Selection of these points in acupuncture treatment addresses many components of knee pain.
To date, no single therapy has been shown to be completely effective in curing knee-related conditions; however, acupuncture has shown promise in reducing knee pain. The average number of treatment sessions varies based on the condition. Individuals usually experience reduced pain and improved well being within eight to ten treatments.
For more information about acupuncture for knee pain call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500.