Prevalence and characteristics of Australian women aged 45 and older who consult acupuncturists for their osteoarthritis

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Journal Article
International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2017, 71 (12)
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© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Background: There is growing acupuncture use amongst people with osteoarthritis, and acupuncture has been shown to have a positive effect on osteoarthritis. The aim of the study is to identify the characteristics of Australian women who consult acupuncturists for osteoarthritis treatment in order to help inform patients, practitioners and policy makers about the range of health care options accessed by older women with osteoarthritis. Methods: The research reported here involved participants from a sub-study of the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study in Australia. The data of 403 Australian women aged 45 and over with osteoarthritis were analysed. Chi-squared tests and stepwise multiple logistic regression modelling were used to determine the characteristics of women who used acupuncture for the treatment of their osteoarthritis. Results: Analysis revealed that 7.7% of women reported using acupuncture in the previous 12 months for their osteoarthritis. Acupuncture use is positively associated with women experiencing longer duration of time since initial diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OR = 1.04), undertaking more exercise (OR = 5.41), living in a rural area (OR = 3.62), having consulted a psychologist (OR = 12.21), and having consulted another complementary and alternative medicine practitioner (OR = 4.18). Conclusions: Our study reveals considerable acupuncture use amongst women with osteoarthritis. There is a need for health care practitioners to be mindful of acupuncture use among their patients presenting with osteoarthritis. Further research is needed to examine the potential benefits of acupuncture for osteoarthritis and to help inform efficient and safe use of this treatment alongside conventional care.
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