Clinical Crossroads
Clinician's Corner
April 18, 2007

A 60-Year-Old Woman Considering Acupuncture for Knee Pain

Author Affiliations

Clinical Crossroads Section Editor: Margaret A. Winker, MD, Deputy Editor.


Author Affiliation: Dr Berman is Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director, Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.

JAMA. 2007;297(15):1697-1707. doi:10.1001/jama.297.15.1697

Mrs A, an active 60-year-old woman, has a history of degenerative osteoarthritis of her knee with pain that has progressed over the past 8 years. She has undergone arthroscopic surgery for a meniscal tear and has taken nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate occasionally, but generally does not like taking medications. She is open to other therapeutic approaches and wants to know if acupuncture can help the pain, improve function, and stop her condition from progressing. The evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for knee pain and other common treatments, including exercise, NSAIDs, glucosamine and chondroitin, and intra-articular knee injections are compared, and costs and methods of acupuncture and selecting an acupuncturist are discussed.