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Medicina dello Sport 2014 December;67(4):653-68


language: English, Italian

Common acupoints and treatment parameters of acupuncture treatments for knee osteoarthritis

Ma H. 1, Zhang S. 2, Zhang X. 3

1 Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China; 2 The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA; 3 South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China


AIM: The purpose of this paper was to review the clinical studies of efficacy of acupuncture on treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA). The review focused on assessments of validity of acupuncture, common acupoints, acupuncture treatment parameters, outcome measures, and treatment strategy for knee OA.
METHODS: PubMed and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) (from the origin of the databases to March 2013) were searched using keywords of acupuncture and knee OA as the keywords in the field of title and randomized controlled in the field of abstract. Studies were excluded if they: 1) had non-significant findings between acupuncture group and control group; 2) used a method other than the fine needle stimulating method; 3) used animals; 4) did not have a control group; and 5) did not have objective outcome measures. The external validity of the studies was assessed based on the recommendations of the Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture.
RESULTS: A total of 39 studies were included in this review with 11 studies published in English and 28 studies in Chinese. Among the included studies, percent of studies that reported relevant treatment related parameters ranged from 97.4% for needle stimulation, 48.7% for depth of insertion to 23.1% for practitioners’ background. The most common treatment parameters used in the studies were 20 min (64.1%) for needle retention time 10-15 (61.54%) for number of treatment sessions twice per week (25.6%) for treatment frequency, and 40-70 for number of patients. The most common outcome evaluation methods were Western Ontario and MacMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, Visual Analog Scale and 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey. Finally, the top eight most commonly used acupoints were GB34, ST36, EX-LE4, 5, SP9, ST35, SP6, SP10, ST34 and Ex-LE2 among the 33 acupoints used in the included studies. Most studies chose acupoints around the knee and some of the studies chose acupoints away from knee based on the dialectical treatment principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In addition, the Ashi point was the main acupoint in some knee OA treatments.
CONCLUSION: None of the studies provided all of items of STRICTA’s checklist for external validity criteria of the. The review results of these studies indicated that there were differences in the acupoints chosen by Chinese and international researchers.

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