Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 36 (4), 215-221

Warm Needle Acupuncture in Primary Osteoporosis Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


Warm Needle Acupuncture in Primary Osteoporosis Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Ding Luo Jr et al. Acupunct Med.


Background: Warm needle acupuncture (WNA) is commonly used in primary osteoporosis (OP) management in China. The evidence of its effectiveness needs to be systematically reviewed.

Objective: The aim of the meta-analysis was to evaluate whether using WNA alone or combined with conventional medicine benefits primary OP.

Methods: PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register, Medline, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wanfang and VIP databases were searched from their inception through 30 June 2016. RCTs applying WNA independently or as an adjunct to conventional medicine, compared with conventional medicine alone, were included. Primary outcomes were bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar vertebrae, femoral neck, Ward's triangle and greater trochanter. The secondary outcome was chronic pain measured by VAS score. Meta-analysis was conducted using RevMan V.5.3 software.

Results: Nine RCTs involving 572 participants were included. When WNA was used as an adjunct to conventional medicine, meta-analysis revealed a statistical difference in favour of increasing BMD of the lumbar vertebrae (mean difference (MD)=0.06, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.08, P<0.001). WNA increased BMD of the femoral neck (MD 0.14, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.21, P<0.001) and greater trochanter (MD 0.09, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.15, P<0.001) when used alone, and additionally decreased VAS scores (MD=-1.10, 95% CI -1.14 to -1.06, P<0.001) when used as an adjunct to conventional medicine. However, the safety of WNA was not specifically reported.

Conclusions: WNA may have beneficial effects on BMD and VAS scores of patients with primary OP. However, all included trials were at high risk of bias and of low quality. Further rigorous studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of WNA for primary OP treatment.

Keywords: acupuncture; meta-analysis; primary osteoporosis; systematic review; warm needle acupuncture.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow diagram for study selection. CNKI, China National Knowledge Infrastructure; RCT, randomised controlled trial.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Risk of bias assessment.
Figure 3
Figure 3
BMD, bone mineral density; WNA, warm needle acupuncture.
Figure 4
Figure 4
VAS pain score. WNA, warm needle acupuncture.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 4 PubMed Central articles


    1. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. 2014;1.
    1. Svedbom A, Hernlund E, Ivergård M, et al. Osteoporosis in the European Union: a compendium of country-specific reports. Arch Osteoporos 2013;8:137 10.1007/s11657-013-0137-0 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Lin X, Xiong D, Peng YQ, et al. Epidemiology and management of osteoporosis in the People’s Republic of China: current perspectives. Clin Interv Aging 2015;10:1017–33. 10.2147/CIA.S54613 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Sandhu SK, Hampson G. The pathogenesis, diagnosis, investigation and management of osteoporosis. J Clin Pathol 2011;64:1042–50. 10.1136/jcp.2010.077842 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Raisz LG. Pathogenesis of osteoporosis: concepts, conflicts, and prospects. J Clin Invest 2005;115:3318–25. 10.1172/JCI27071 - DOI - PMC - PubMed

Publication types