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Knee Replacement Has Cheaper Acupuncture Alternative

Update Date: Aug 22, 2012 08:07 AM EDT

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient China and is not only good for relieving pain of knee osteoarthritis, it is also a cheaper option compared to going for a surgery, a new study claims. 

 the study involved 90 patients (71-year-olds on an average), with knee osteoarthritis who were given acupuncture in two knee pain clinics in Hertfordshire in 2008. The participants were monitored for two years.

The participants were given acupuncture once a week for a month and later, the frequency was brought down to a session every six weeks.

After a year of starting the therapy, 41 patients were still continuing the therapy, and 31 were still receiving treatment, after two years. 

Even after just one month, doctors examined the patients to find clinically significant improvements in their pain levels, stiffness, and functional capacity. 

Specially trained acupuncture nurses looked into two factors: Whether the acupuncture therapy improved care while reducing costs, and whether it was a feasible alternative to expensive knee replacement surgeries.

Experts say that although knee replacement surgeries do work well, and are also worth the money spent, but it might not be for everyone.

According to reports researchers, one in seven patients report severe pain a few years after the procedure. Also, it costs about $ 8099 per operation. 

All the patients involved in the study were suffering from severe symptoms - constant pain, including at night, and inability to walk far - and would have been eligible for surgery, the news release stated.

Assuming that only two thirds of patients would go ahead for an offer of acupuncture, the authors calculate that the health service could save over $125,000 a year.

The research was published online in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.

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