NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Knee pain sufferers who've relied on painkillers for relief now have a new, drug-free way to manage pain.
As CBS 2's Dr. Max Gomez explained, acupuncture can be used to treat the common complaint.
Orthopedic surgeons said the pain can be the result of strained ligaments, cartilage tears or osteoarthritis.
Physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications can help, as can acupuncture.
The Eastern medicine can target a specific pain, no matter the location. Whether it's on the inside of the knee or the outside, an experienced acupuncturist can pinpoint the problem, providing more range of motion in the knee joint and allowing the body to heal.
"It has an analgesic effect. the brain begins to release endorphins, which are the body's natural opiate, which creates that pain relief. Additionally, the acupuncture will work as an anti-inflammatory agent," Acupuncturist Jamie Starkey of the Cleveland Clinic said.
Acupuncture won't always prevent surgery, but it can still be useful even after knee surgery.
"You can use acupuncture post-operatively to decrease your pain scores, to decrease the inflammation and just help the body heal the joint," said Starkey.
Acupuncturists say it typically takes about five treatments to get relief, but it depends on the person.
If pain comes back, patients can always have more treatments. Acupuncture does not have bad side effects, Gomez noted.
Experts say another good way to ease knee pain is to lose weight, which will reduce the stress on aching joints.
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