After 40 years of extensive studies, compelling evidence has been obtained to support acupuncture as a useful tool for treating a spectrum of diseases. In fact, more than 40 disorders have been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as conditions that can benefit from acupuncture treatment (Han, 2011). A study on 202 subjects attending an Australian university osteoporosis clinic found that almost one-fifth of those using a complementary medicine modality used acupuncture (Table 1: Mak 2010). This chapter begins by looking at the history of documented acupuncture use in osteoporosis. It then utilises an evidence-based approach in appraising relevant clinical trials over the past 10 years of the benefits of acupuncture use in osteoporosis (improvements in bone-mineral density, falls and fracture rates), as well as the efficacy in the treatment of acute fracture-related pain. Finally, it discusses the pathophysiological basis of the efficacy of acupuncture in these conditions. ‘Within the next 5-10 years, clinicians could be routinely recommending acupuncture as a first-line treatment for fracture-related pain. The use of acupuncture in this circumstance bypasses the common problem of systemic side-effects from oral and topical analgesic agents’.
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