Pain relief through acupuncture

By B S Tarneja

If you suffer from knee pain, you should know that recent studies support the relief of osteoarthritis symptoms via acupuncture. In fact, in one Scandinavian study, 25% of patients cancelled their plans for knee surgery after they received acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture, the ancient Chinese practice of inserting needles into the skin in order toregulate and balance the flow of “chi” (life force) throughout the body, has been gaining increasing acceptance internationally as an effective treatment for a broad range of conditions, including knee pain.

Acupuncture is painless.  It will likely take many sessions before you see a true, lasting difference. The reduction of pain is its best use.

During the past year I’ve seen several patients after total joint replacement surgery.

Acupuncture helped relieve pain and assisted their progress towards regaining strength and range of motion through better performance during physical therapy sessions. There were no cases of infections and the scars healed well.

A study was conducted by Raj K. Sinha, Deidre Braun, and Robert Murphy and published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery – British Volume, Vol 90-B, Issue SUPP_I, 184.

They concluded that acupuncture indeed “reduced narcotic usage and improve physical therapy after total joint replacement.”



More studies need to be done on this subject, but my experience has been so positive that I encourage those needing joint replacement to seek treatments from a licensed acupuncturist for help with pain relief and optimal healing.

The new study says Acupuncture may be a low-cost alternative — not to mention a non-invasive one — to knee surgery. It comprised 90 patients (average age: 71) who had group acupuncture in 2008. Their progress was tracked for two years.

Surgery can be effective, yet it is far from perfect. It’s estimated that one in seven patients feel severe pain return years later.


Non-Operative Treatment Options

Fortunately, most knee problems can be treated without surgery. However, with or without surgery, the treatment and the long-term results are highly dependent on the underlying condition. That is, a logical and scientifically based treatment cannot be applied as a “one treatment fits all” approach. The treatment must be tailored to the specific patient. The key for successful non-operative (and operative) treatment is first a sound anatomically based diagnosis and then co-development of a comprehensive program of treatment. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends:


Providing patient education and support


  • Encouraging weight loss


  • Protecting and unloading painful joints (such as with knee unloaded braces, wedge insoles, canes, and joint protection education)


  • Restoring strength and flexibility


  • Instituting local pain management (heat, cold, and topical analgesics).


Acupuncture  offers specialized treatment for patients, who are suffering from knee joint pain-osteoarthritis, which is also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis usually occurring after middle-age. It is a group of mechanical abnormalities that involve degradation of joints, cartilage as well as sub-chondral bone including articular movements.


Dr B.S Taneja, M.D. Acu. Gold Medalist,  Specializes in chronic and difficult back pain

He practices at F-1/6, F-Block, Shimla Market, Sector -12, NOIDA, Delhi

You can email him at

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