Home » Preserving the Meniscus with Acupuncture: Regulating Interstitial Fluid and Improving Proprioception

Preserving the Meniscus with Acupuncture: Regulating Interstitial Fluid and Improving Proprioception

by Acupuncture Journal Staff

Introduction

The meniscus is a crescent-shaped piece of fibrocartilage that is located in the knee joint. It functions as a shock absorber and provides stability to the knee joint during movement. The meniscus is also responsible for regulating interstitial fluid within the knee joint, which is essential for maintaining joint lubrication and reducing stress on the joint. Furthermore, the meniscus plays a crucial role in proprioception, which is the ability to sense the position, movement, and orientation of the body in space. Proprioception is essential for maintaining balance, coordination, and performing motor tasks.

Meniscal tears are common and can occur as a result of sports injuries, falls, or wear and tear associated with aging. Meniscal tears can lead to pain, swelling, and loss of function in the knee joint. Non-surgical treatments such as acupuncture have shown promising results in relieving pain and improving function in patients with meniscal tears. This article will discuss the role of acupuncture in preserving the meniscus and regulating interstitial fluid, as well as its impact on improving proprioception.

Acupuncture as a Non-surgical Treatment for Meniscal Tears

Recent studies have shown that acupuncture can be an effective non-surgical alternative for patients with meniscal tears. A case study conducted in Korea showed that acupuncture treatments improved pain relief and functional recovery in a patient with a left medial meniscal posterior horn rupture [1]. The study found that acupuncture treatments led to a decrease in subjective pain, an increase in pressure pain threshold, and an improvement in the Korean Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (K-WOMAC) score, which measures knee-related activity discomfort.

Acupuncture can help preserve the meniscus by improving joint stability and reducing inflammation. Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow and oxygen to the affected area, which can promote healing and reduce inflammation [2]. Furthermore, acupuncture can stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can help relieve pain and improve joint function [3]. Acupuncture can also help improve proprioception by stimulating nerve endings in the muscles and joints, which can improve balance and coordination [4].

The increased blood flow and oxygen to the knee joint can help regulate interstitial fluid, leading to better joint lubrication and reduced stress on the joint. This, in turn, can aid in the preservation of the meniscus and improve overall knee joint function.

Future Directions and Conclusion

Although the current research on acupuncture’s role in preserving the meniscus and improving proprioception is promising, further studies are needed to establish standardized treatment protocols and evaluate long-term outcomes. Large-scale randomized controlled trials comparing acupuncture with other non-surgical treatments or surgical interventions can provide valuable insights into its effectiveness and safety as a conservative management approach for meniscal tears.

In conclusion, the meniscus plays an essential role in regulating interstitial fluid and improving proprioception in the knee joint. Meniscal tears can lead to pain and loss of function in the knee joint, but non-surgical treatments such as acupuncture can be an effective alternative to surgery. Acupuncture can help preserve the meniscus and improve joint stability and function by promoting healing, reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the affected area, and stimulating the release of endorphins. Moreover, acupuncture can enhance proprioception by stimulating nerve endings in muscles and joints, ultimately improving balance and coordination. Further research on the application of acupuncture in meniscal tear treatment can provide invaluable insights into its potential as a conservative and minimally invasive approach to preserving the meniscus and maintaining optimal knee joint health.

References:

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  2. Krych AJ, Reardon PJ, Johnson NR, Mohan R, Peter L, Levy BA, Stuart MJ. Non-operative management of medial meniscus posterior horn root tears is associated with worsening arthritis and poor clinical outcome at 5-year follow-up. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy [Internet]. Springer Verlag; 2017 Feb 1 [cited 2020 Sep 10];25(2):383-389.
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