Successful pain treatment in arthropathic lower extremities by acupuncture in haemophilia patients


Thomas Wallny, Orthopaedic Department, St Bernhard-Hospital, B.-Schmelzing-Str. 90, D-47475 Kamp-Lintfort, Germany. Tel.: +492842708940; fax: +492842708779; e-mail:


Summary.  Acupuncture is successfully used in the treatment of degenerative osteoarthritis. The treatment of haemophilic arthropathies can require strong painkillers with severe side-effects. Therefore, a special yet simple acupuncture technique was evaluated in the treatment of these joint problems. Twelve patients with a factor VIII activity <1% and at least one painful arthropathy in both lower extremities were included in this single-blinded study. The non-treated side served as a control. Treatment was assessed by a visual analogue scale (VAS) and an orthopaedic clinical examination. Only one needle was inserted at the rear fontanelle once per week and in 15 cycles. Ten of 12 patients showed an improvement of their pain perception. The average VAS could be reduced from 6.8 to 5.0. The side not receiving treatment showed a reduction from 4.1 to 4.0. No side-effects were observed. Even though interpretation of our data are limited due to the small patient numbers, significant improvement of the VAS after treatment suggests that acupuncture has a measurable positive effect in pain management for haemophilic arthropathy of the lower extremities.