The knee is one of our body’s largest and most complex joints. When our knees ache, it is difficult for us to walk or climb up and down stairs, which limits our mobility; we can’t have a good night’s sleep, which can affect a person’s quality of life.
Osteoarthritis or injury is one of the most common sources of joint pain, resulting in difficulty flexing or extending the knee. It occurs due to wear and tear on the knee’s protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones.
Many doctors strive to avoid prescribing medication, particularly opioids, for chronic pain. Research shows acupuncture to be a cost-effective way to treat pain; acupuncture is one of the treatments recommended for knee pain from osteoarthritis in national guidelines for physicians.
Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with a full history and lineage dating back thousands of years. It involves inserting acupuncture needles into the body to promote pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.
Acupuncture increases blood circulation to the injured area. Blood gives healing properties such as platelets and red blood cells, which have the advantage of faster recovery. When that increase in blood flow leaves, it removes toxins and fluid buildup, reducing inflammation. When there is less inflammation and swelling, there is less tension and pain.
Acupuncture decreases trigger points in the muscles around the knee. When muscles get stiff, they become sore and achy and result in reduced movement in an area. Acupuncture helps release these trigger points without the need to inject medication. This makes for a natural method to ease tight muscles and trigger points.
Many clinical studies hold on acupuncture’s ability to alleviate osteoarthritis pain, especially in the knee. One study of 18,000 patients found acupuncture beneficial for many pain conditions, including knee osteoarthritis.1 When it comes to medication for osteoarthritis of the knee, studies have shown benefits without the side effects of other medicines for pain relief, according to a 2021 research review 2
A licensed acupuncturist will know where to put the needles for optimum relief from knee osteoarthritis. Acupuncture points, acupoints, or pressure points can be proximal (close to the knee) or distal (distant from the knee).
Acupuncture is an excellent option to keep in mind to reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness, develop the range of motion in your knee, and overall quality of life, meaning you can better participate in all your daily activities, such as work, exercise, jogging, or even hiking adventures!