Some people find that acupuncture works to alleviate pain from arthritis or other causes. There is no evidence that acupuncture suppresses inflammation, but there is some limited research suggesting that acupuncture may reduce the pain of certain types of arthritis. For example, in a 2004 study involving people with osteoarthritis of the knees, those receiving acupuncture reported significantly more improvement than those receiving sham (fake) acupuncture. However, a 2007 study of people with knee osteoarthritis found that acupuncture provided no benefit beyond that provided by seeing a physical therapist.
During acupuncture, thin needles are inserted at specific points in the body. Researchers speculate that natural, pain-relieving chemicals produced in the brain and nervous system are stimulated by acupuncture. If you choose to pursue this method of treatment, you should discuss it with your doctor and work only with a licensed acupuncturist.