Several clinical trials have examined the efficacy of acupuncture for OA, with mixed results. Some trials found acupuncture treatment to be no more effective than either placebo or sham acupuncture at relieving osteoarthritis pain. Other trials have demonstrated a significant effect of acupuncture on the relief of OA pain compared to placebo. A well-designed trial found that acupuncture treatments (twice weekly for eight weeks) significantly improved pain and disability in people with OA of the knee compared to no treatment. When the group receiving no treatment was switched to acupuncture treatments, they experienced similar improvements.
In a controlled trial, a combination of manual physical therapy (by a qualified physical therapist) and supervised exercise significantly improved walking distance and pain in a group of people with OA of the knee. The therapeutic regimen consisted of manual therapy to the knee, low back, hip, and ankle as necessary, as well as a standardized knee-exercise program performed at home and in the clinic. The treatments were given twice weekly at the clinic for four weeks.