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A comparison of acupuncture with intra-articular steroid injection as analgesia for osteoarthritis of the hip
  1. AK McIndoe, Registrar Anaesthetist,
  2. K Young, SHO Anaesthetist,
  3. ME Bone
  1. Consultant in Pain Management & Anaesthesia, Cheltenham General Hospital
  1. Cheltenham General Hospital, Sandford Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (UK) GL53 7AN

Summary

This controlled trial used a prospective, randomised open design to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture and intra-articular injections in reducing chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hip. Thirty two patients awaiting hip arthroplasty with chronic pain of more than twelve months duration were included. Group A received acupuncture using a standardised technique of periosteal needling to the greater trochanter of the femur with three acupuncture needles. The treatment was repeated on three occasions at weekly intervals. Group B received an intra-articular/peri-articular hip injection of 20ml of 1% lignocaine + 80mg Depo-Medrone. Patients were assessed for pain intensity, mobility and pattern of analgesia usage pre-treatment and at one, two and four week intervals thereafter.

Both groups experienced a decrease in pain intensity and analgesic usage following treatment. This decrease was greater in the acupuncture group. However, mobility remained unchanged in both groups. From the results of this study, periosteal acupuncture appears to be as effective as an intra-articular injection in relieving the pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hip. However, due to the small numbers involved, statistical significance was not achieved.

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