Objectives: The effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip was tested.
Design: This is a prospective, randomized, controlled, patient- and investigator-blinded clinical trial.
Patients and setting: The study was performed at a university department for physical medicine and rehabilitation. Sixty-seven patients were separated into two treatment groups.
Interventions: Group 1 (treatment) had traditional needle placement and manipulation, whereas in group 2 (control) needles were placed away from classic positions and not manipulated. In both groups needles were placed within the L2 to L5 dermatomes. Outcome parameters were: pain (VAS), functional impairment (hip score), activity in daily life (ADL) and overall satisfaction before treatment, and 2 weeks and 2 months after treatment.
Results: For all parameters there was a significant improvement versus baseline in both groups 2 weeks and 2 months following treatment, but no significant difference between the two treatment groups.
Conclusions: We conclude from these results that needle placement in the area of the affected hip is associated with improvement in the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It appears to be less important to follow the rules of traditional acupuncture techniques.