The objective of this study was to compare the immediate effects of electroacupuncture and manual acupuncture on pain, mobility and muscle strength in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Sixty patients with knee osteoarthritis, with a pain severity of ≥2 on the pain Numerical Rating Scale, were included. The patients were randomly separated into two groups: manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture. Pain intensity, degree of dysfunction (Timed Up and Go (TUG) test), maximal voluntary isometric contraction and pressure pain threshold were assessed before and after a single session of manual acupuncture or electroacupuncture treatments. Both groups displayed a significant decrease in pain intensity (p<0.001) and time to run the TUG test following the acupuncture treatment (p=0.005 for the manual acupuncture group and p=0.002 for the electroacupuncture group). There were no differences between the groups in terms of pain intensity (p=0.25), TUG test (p=0.70), maximum voluntary isometric contraction (p=0.43) or pressure pain threshold (p=0.27).
This study didn’t find any difference between the immediate effects of a single session of manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture on pain, muscle strength and mobility in persons with knee osteoarthritis.