How effective is acupuncture for treating peripheral joint osteoarthritis (OA)?
Sham-controlled trials showed statistically significant benefits; however, these benefits were small, did not meet pre-defined thresholds for clinical relevance, and were probably due at least partially to placebo effects from incomplete blinding. Possible side effects of acupuncture treatment include minor bruising and bleeding at the site of needle insertion.
OA is a major cause of pain and functional limitation. Few pharmacological treatments are safe and effective. The objective of this review was to compare the effects of traditional needle acupuncture with a sham, another active treatment, or with a waiting list control, for people with OA of the knee, hip or hand.