Acupuncture may ease hip and joint pain from osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, a German study shows.
"Acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option for patients with knee or hip-associated chronic pain," write the researchers.
The patients were in their early 60s, on average. About 11% had had acupuncture in the year before the study.
First, the patients decided which joint hurt most--their hip or knee--and rated their pain in that joint.
Next, about 3,200 patients got up to 15 acupuncture sessions from doctors over three months. About 300 other patients went on a waiting list for the same Acupuncture plan.
Afterward, about a third of the patients who had immediately gotten acupuncture reported less joint pain and better quality of life.
Those results held for three months after acupuncture treatment ended.
In contrast, such improvements were reported by about 6% patients on the acupuncture waiting list.
No serious side effects were reported. But about 5% of the Acupuncture patients noted side effects such as minor bleeding, bruising, or pain where the needles were inserted.