Acupuncturist Questions Arthritis

I have arthritis, and I'm considering acupuncture. Will it help?

My doctor has found that I have arthritis, mainly around my knees. I'm looking for my alternative treatments that will help me cope with the pain, and someone said acupuncture. Will this really help me? I looked it up online and reviews seem a little mixed.

37 Answers

Absolutely! One of the things acupuncture is best known for is its ability to decrease pain by improving circulation in the body. There may be some things to consider to make the treatment more effective like eliminating foods causing inflammation and/or adding some nutritional support.
Pain in the joints is not just a matter of muscles and cartilage.The cause is in the fire extinguisher. When the digestive system is weakened, the cells of the body become more watery, and when the water is high, the joints are also increased, and the muscles are also increased, so that they can not support the bones. And the increased ligaments and muscles are weaker to retract, causing pain.It is treated well by acupucture.
It can help, but to determine if it can help you, we would need to evaluate you and investigate the issue before we could say yes for sure.
Up to 80% of my patients have some kind of arthritis that is causing them pain. When we think of pain, we always consider arthritis as a cause. However, chronic pain and inflammation are actually the cause of arthritis (excluding RA), not the other way around. The longer you suffer with pain and inflammation in a joint the greater your risk of getting arthritis in that area. That is why seeking natural alternatives sooner than later to lower inflammation and lessen pain is so important.
Pharmaceutical steroids over time actually weaken the bone and inter-joint tissue so multiple steroid injections can actually contribute to degenerative joint disease.
Acupuncture is excellent in lowering inflammation and lessening pain. It stimulates your body to produce natural anti-inflammatories. Add in electrical stimulation that works from the inside to the outside and natural or homeopathic injectables (for licensed acupuncturists certified in this technique), you will be amazed at how much better your knees and other joints will feel.
Mixed results will be dependent upon how bad the joint has degenerated, how much joint tissue is left, how many steroid therapies have been injected, lifestyle such as smoking, poor diet, activity, etc., and of course the patient's compliancy to treatment. If a patient expects 3 or 4 treatments to cure years of pain and degeneration, that would be an irrational expectation. It might take 10 or more acupuncture treatments plus ongoing maintenance of once every month or two to keep the joint in good health. In my practice I have seen amazing results acupuncture and injection therapies for osteo arthritis.

It depends how severe is your arthritis. Acupuncture can treat moderate cases, however, if there is a degenerative disorder, I don't think one can turn it back. It will help with pain though.
Yes, acupuncture is one of the first treatment patients will go to in China. It will work best if the patients can follow the treatments for awhile, not just one try.
Knee problems, from the perspective of Chinese Medicine, can take some time to resolve. I have had great success with knee pain. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed to work 100% of the time, but I have found this medicine to work very well. Don't give up if you try someone in my field and they don't help... we aren't all created equally. Make sure you start with a fully trained acupuncturist (not an MD or Chiropractor that did minimal hours of training to get a license).
Acupuncture can definitely help. The mixed reviews can be for several reasons such as inconsistent treatments, the style of acupuncture practiced may not have supported that particular patient, comorbidities, the patient may not have complied with the treatment protocols set forth by the acupuncturist, etc. The best way to know is to try it yourself!
Go to an oriental medicine doctor who works with herbs and acupuncture.
Yes, acupuncture does help arthritis approximately 80% of the time. Therefore, find a good acupuncturist in your area and request for a free consultation

No two patients are treated alike. Some patients find relief with needles alone. Others need a more involved technique, such as electro-acupuncture (technically called percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or PENS).

Patients with knee arthritis respond particularly well to electro-acupuncture. When knee arthritis is mild or moderate, a limited number of sessions produce very good results. When arthritis is more advanced, or “bone-on-bone,” ongoing acupuncture is needed plus the addition of traditional anti-inflammatory herbals.

Acupuncture can also be combined with conventional treatments, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, injections and/or physical therapy.
I have seen lots of successful cases of pain management for arthritis pain and even promoting the local circulation and regeneration of local joint system function. It really depends on how badly damaged and how your other chronic condition inter-related but an acupuncturist would be able to look into all this and help
A main reason for acupuncture’s successful treatment of arthritis results from the traditional way of viewing the body from it’s root imbalances. It restores the flow of qi and blood to increase joint mobility, while releasing any “pathogenic factors” (wind, cold, damp or heat) that cause pain and inflammation. Mechanisms of pain reduction include increasing the body’s natural pain-reducing chemicals (endorphins), blocking pain signals from the nervous system to the brain and generally relaxing body and mind. When appropriate, a practitioner will also apply heat through a far-infrared lamp or a Moxa stick (dried mugwort) to increase the success of the treatment.
Acupuncture, performed by a board-certified and state licensed acupuncturist, will absolutely help with arthritic knee pain. Treating pain and arthritic pain is a core part of my practice. It's rare when I can't provide some level of pain relief. Most studies of acupuncture in pain management show excellent results which can persist as long as 12-15 months in some cases. Studies also show there is a dose-dependency in play - to a point, more visits are going to provide superior results. I generally tell people they should be noticing a difference in their pain levels somewhere around the 5th visit (assuming weekly treatments). After that we start increasing the interval between appointments until we find some maintenance interval that is sustainable. This maintenance interval is different for everyone - it's difficult to predict what it will look like for any given patient.

I'd suggest you start with NCCAOM ( and check out their 'Find a Practitioner' directory. This will give you a list of board-certified acupuncturists in your area.
Yes, acupuncture is effective in reducing inflammation and the pain associated with arthritis.
There are many types of arthritis and the combination of acupuncture, heat and cold therapies, light therapy and herbal formulas is very beneficial for arthritic discomfort and pain.
In the experience of my patients, it has helped tremendously. I've had a couple that were to the point of using a cane and now with regular treatments, they don't use it at all. I know I've heard that it doesn't work for some. But, so far, we have seen good results. So, please give it a try.
Arthritis pain can be treated with acupuncture. The treatment will reduce the inflammation and the pain and consequently it will help slow down the progression of the joint condition.

Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
Acupuncture treatments will give you a relief so you will be less dependent on anti-inflammatory drugs. My patients with knee pain feel much better after 3 or 4 sessions. Low impact exercise such as swimming or water aerobics also helps your condition.

Good day and thank you for your question.

I recommend seeing a physiatrist who is sports medicine trained to help with your knee arthritis. I am assuming this is osteoarthritis (OA) and not a autoimmune mediated arthritis. A physiatrist can help guide your treatments and oversee physical therapy, of which for OA is proven to to be beneficial along with weight loss. I use acupuncture and electroacupuncture for OA as well for my patients - I am a physiatrist. Overall, in basic science trials, clinical acupuncture from a skilled acupuncturist has benefit and no harm. A physiatrist will be able to ensure that all treatments including acupuncture are helping you protect your joints and achieve maximum function. A physiatrist is better trained than a primary care physician or provider to guide successful treatment of OA.
General speaking, acupuncture can help arthritis. It depends on how severe the arthritis is and what kind of arthritis.
It depends on your specific condition, health and overall lifestyle, but I treat quite a lot of knee pain and/or arthritis and get very good results. That being said, I will normally also suggest a good diet and exercise, and may also recommend supplementation, if necessary. My treatment protocol is three treatments and then reassess, with the goal of elimination of pain and increased movement and function. Acupuncture is not going to get rid of arthritis but the combination of my suggestions will reduce inflammation, which reduces pain and allows increased movement, stopping or greatly slowing the progression of the disease.

Thank you for asking this question. You must've found the answers are mixed. You are right; the reason the answers are mixed is due to a few reason: first, there are a few different types of arthritis and also different degrees of illness. Not all of them work with acupuncture treatment, but acupuncture can prevent your other joints from getting worse and help you reduce the pain, if your arthritis is not too bad. "Too bad" means you already have knee locked and form differently. If you are in the early stage of arthritis, I will suggest you do see an acupuncturist ASAP to prevent your knee from getting worse.

Jonathan Fang

Yes, acupuncture can treat and help arthritis. And they are likely to also have herbal formulas that can help a great deal, as well. But I practice functional medicine, which means I'm always looking for the cause of any ailment. Yours may be because of overuse, but the top cause of arthritis that I've seen in my practice is gluten intolerance. So, especially if you have arthritis in other joints besides your knees, you might want to think about going gluten free, as well. Regardless, I would encourage you to find an acupuncturist who has had success treating arthritis. A few phone calls should give you the information you need.

Good luck!
If you look at reviews for any type of treatment, you will find mixed reviews and there is a variety of reasons for this phenomenon of humanity that isn't necessary to go into to answer you question.

To answer the question = if acupuncture is good for anything, it is good for pain management - both acute and chronic.

So, yes, acupuncture can help with arthritis pain when done by a trained professional. Do not just go to some DC or PT who stick in needles, find a Licensed Acupuncturist, and maybe one who already specializes in sports injury, pain, senior issues or the like. They don't really have to be specialists though, because, again acupuncture is great for pain management.

This is not something that will be a one-time-all-done experience though. It may take time, it may help right away and then return a day, week, month later. It may last a very long time or it may take a few times a week to get under control. There may be some salves, ointments, herbal patches, herbal pills, etc that may be recommended, but a good acupuncturist should be able to help with needles alone.

The extras (patches, etc) are good for in-between treatments if there's a flare up, or something and can assist the needle work.

Like any medicine or medical practice, some patients have different results from others, so if a formula, patch or treatment isn't working for you let the practitioner know the truth, so they can keep working on the right treatment for you. Don't give up on the first try and don't have high expectations and you might be surprised by how well it can and does work.

Find a practitioner that you trust, like you would find a mechanic you like - you don't have to go with the first one you pick unless they are helping you. If it doesn't work out, you can seek another practitioner. I have had people come to me when no one else could help them and I've had people go to others after my stuff didn't help - so remember it is just like any other type of help.

Good luck.
Hi! The reviews may be mixed due to the fact that in arthritis there is joint degradation, which will not improve. The feat of an acupuncturist is to manage the inflammation and improve circulation through the joint to decrease the pain. That said, more frequent treatments will yield better results, whereas sporadic treatments will not.
Hello and thank you for your question. I have treated knee pain from arthritis numerous times, and I can tell you that people generally tell me they feel better soon. One reason you may have seen mixed reviews is because certain people with more advanced arthritis in their knees, even with large swollen knee joints, may have limited benefit. Like all things, the response often depends on the severity. Also, if you are in a state where acupuncturists can do a method called point injection therapy, know that this may be even more effective than acupuncture for joint pain.

Best of luck to you.
Yes, acupuncture is very helpful for relieving arthritis symptoms by improving the circulation to the joints, thereby maintaining the health of the joints. 
Acupuncture works very well for arthritis, particularly, the arthritis of the knees. Acupuncture relieves knee pain due to arthritis quickly and effectively. It works even better if combined with Chinese herbal treatment.
Yes, acupuncture help arthritis very well. This is one of the most effective conditions.
Neck, lower back, and knee arthritis are common conditions that come for acupuncture. Most people get good to excellent results. It reduces inflammation as Rx does and increases blood flow to slow the degeneration or damage of the joints. Read this link:
Many of my arthritis patients have seen increased range of motion and a reduction of pain with acupuncture. Even very advanced patients I’ve seen have had the progression discontinue and ease swelling, as well as reduce additional symptoms. Some patients even experience results within the first treatment! All the best to you in healing your arthritis! Arecola cherries are supposed to be very good to assist, as well as cutting down refined sugars, which cause inflammation.
Yes, it will help.
Studies show that acupuncture is very effective in treating pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. You may have seen mixed reviews because treatment outcomes depend on a variety of factors including patient compliance to with the treatment plan, skill and experience of the acupuncturist, diet, overall health, etc. However, in general, it is effective, but just a couple sessions are not going to be enough.
The reason the reviews seem mixed is because everyone has a different situation and different acupuncturists treat differently. You are not going to get an across the board review because there are so many variables.
The answer is yes, if you're lucky to find the right doctor.