Neither laser nor needle acupuncture provided any improvements in chronic knee pain when compared with a sham procedure, according to a study in JAMA.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne looked at the impact of both types of acupuncture on measures of pain and physical function in 282 patients aged over 50 years with chronic knee pain.
Patients were randomly assigned to no acupuncture, needle or laser acupuncture, or sham laser acupuncture, for 12 weeks.
The team found no differences in the primary outcomes of overall pain and physical functioning between active and sham acupuncture at 12 weeks or one year.
Most secondary outcomes, including other pain and function measures, quality of life, global change, also showed no difference.
The researchers concluded: ‘In patients older than 50 years with moderate or severe chronic knee pain, neither laser nor needle acupuncture conferred benefit over sham for pain or function. Our findings do not support acupuncture for these patients.’