A randomized, controlled trial appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine (2004 Dec 21;141(12):901-10), and it looked at the effect acupuncture had on arthritis. The subjects of the study were 570 patients suffering with arthritis in the knee. Subjects were given either true acupuncture or sham acupuncture for a period of 26 weeks. The patients were evaluated using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Evaluations were performed at week 8 and week 26. The group receiving the acupuncture had better scores on the WOMAC test. According to the researchers, acupuncture seemed to provide improvement in function and pain relief as an adjunctive therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee when compared with credible sham acupuncture and education control groups.
Another study appearing in the journal Rheumatology (2006 45(2):222-227) looked at the effect acupuncture had on treating 736 patients with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. The subjects filled out questionnaires to ascertain their pain level and quality of life. On average the subjects received a little over 8 acupuncture treatments. Significant improvements were seen after treatment and during a six-month follow up investigation.