- 2021;24;E269-E278The Effect of Acupuncture and Physiotherapy on Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Study
Randomized Controlled Trial
Sevgi Gümüs Atalay, MD, Aysen Durmus, MD, and Ömer Gezginaslan, MD.
BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of joint disease, and the most common location is the knee.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of acupuncture treatment and physiotherapy on pain, physical function, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with knee osteoarthritis (KOA).
STUDY DESIGN: This study was a prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial.
SETTINGS: The research took place in the interventional pain unit of a tertiary center in a university hospital.
METHODS: One hundred patients with KOA were randomly divided into the acupuncture group and the physiotherapy group. Both treatments were given in 12 sessions over 6 weeks. Thirteen acupuncture points were selected for the knee. Local points were GB34, SP10, SP9, ST36, ST35, ST34, EX-LE2, EX-LE5, EXLE4, and distal (distant) points were defined as KI3, SP6, LI4, and ST41. The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) was used to measure pain intensity. The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) were used to determine functional status and health-related QOL, respectively. All patients were evaluated at baseline, after the last treatment, and at the 12-week follow-up period.
RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference between the acupuncture group and physiotherapy group in terms of pain, total WOMAC, and SF-36 levels at baseline, after treatment, and at the 12th week after treatment (P > 0.05). Both treatments significantly improved functional status (acupuncture, from 63.8 ± 20.81 to 53.72 ± 19.43; and physiotherapy, from 59.04 ± 21.49 to 52.28 ± 19.54; P < 0.05) and decreased the level of pain assessed by VAS (acupuncture, from 8.32 ± 1.61 to 5.54 ± 2.34; and physiotherapy, from 7.86 ± 1.9 to 5.68 ± 2.42; P < 0.05) at the 12-week follow-up of the study. There was no adverse advent related to therapeutic methods.
LIMITATIONS: Sham or placebo control groups are lacking in this study.
CONCLUSIONS: The acupuncture and physiotherapy performed twice weekly for 6 weeks have similar effects with regard to pain, functional status, and QOL. There were no significant differences between the acupuncture and physiotherapy groups in relief of pain, improved functional status, and QOL in the treatment of KOA. Both acupuncture and physiotherapy treatments were found to yield significantly superior results when compared with baseline values.
KEY WORD: Knee osteoarthritis, acupuncture, physiotherapy, randomized clinical trial