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Acupuncture is effective for reducing pain and disability in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis of the hand, conclude a team of European investigators. One hundred and five RA patients were randomly assigned to verum acupuncture, sham acupuncture or waiting list groups. Patients allocated to the verum acupuncture group were needled at Waiguan SJ-5, Xuanzhong GB-39, Shaohai HE-3 and KID-7 Fuliu. Patients in the sham acupuncture group were treated in a similar way but at nearby non-acupoints. Verum acupuncture significantly improved self-reported pain, pressure pain threshold, hand grip and arm strength, while the number of swollen joints and tender joints significantly decreased. Health status and quality of life was also found to improve significantly with acupuncture. Sham acupuncture resulted in no significant changes, except in self-reported pain improvement. Those in the waiting list group showed an overall worsening.

Effectiveness of Acupuncture on Pain, Functional Disability, and Quality of Life in Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand: Results of a Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Jan;25(1):86-97.


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