Bentham Science Logo

New Emirates Medical Journal

Volume 3, 2 Issues, 2022
ISSN: 0250-6882 (Online)
This journal supports open access

Track Your Manuscript:

Open Access Article

Exploring the Effectiveness of Acupuncture as an Adjunct to Physiotherapy in the Treatment of Musculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic ReviewAlternate Title: Exploring the Effectiveness of Acupuncture

Ana Anjos1, 2, *, Soraya Mart2, Nuno Goncalves3, Pedro Borrego4, 5, Lieselotte Corten6
1 Fatima College of Health Sciences, Abu Dhabi, UAE
2 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
3 Dubai Physiotherapy and Family Medicine Clinic, Dubai, UAE
4 Department of Health Sciences and Education, Distance University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
5 Fisiomed Polyclinic, Salamanca, Spain
6 School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, United Kingdom



Acupuncture is one of the most popular forms of complementary and alternative medicine, and its usage is linked to an improvement of physical and psychological symptoms.

Main Objective:

Determine whether the use of acupuncture as an adjunct to physiotherapy treatment is more effective than physiotherapy alone or acupuncture alone in MSK conditions.


A systematic review of the literature was conducted using three major databases, from March 2019 to May 2019, i.e., Cochrane Library, PubMed, and PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database). The inclusion criteria were limited to Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) published in English, only studies published within the past decade, and investigating adult populations with MSK conditions.


From the 227 titles and abstracts that were identified, 75 were duplicates, leaving us with 152 studies for the initial screening. Eight studies were included in this review for qualitative analysis. The studies that assessed pain did not found statistically significant results that support the combination of physiotherapy and acupuncture, the same results were also obtained for Range of motion in knee osteoarthritis. Muscular tension was found statistically significant within-group improvements for all parameters in comparison with the baseline. For Isometric Neck Muscle Strength (INMS), the studies reported significant improvements within the groups, with Physiotherapy combined with Acupuncture being more effective than Acupuncture or Physiotherapy alone. The Constant Shoulder Assessment (CSA), for shoulder function, was significantly higher in the exercise plus acupuncture group compared with the exercise group.


As an integrative or complementary therapy for pain, acupuncture has been increasingly used. However, this review did not find significant evidence to support that the addition of acupuncture to physiotherapy treatment has an added benefit to pain relief. However, this review did find the benefits of adding acupuncture to treatment to reducing neck disability and improving muscular strength and shoulder function.

Prospero Registration Number:

The protocol is registered under the number CRD42019122567, in the Prospero - International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews website.

Keywords: Acupuncture, Physiotherapy, Manual therapy, Rehabilitation, Combination, Musculoskeletal conditions.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2021
Volume: 2
Issue: 2
First Page: 129
Last Page: 137
Publisher Id: nemj-2-129
DOI: 10.2174/0250688202999210225143604

Article History:

Received Date: 02/06/2020
Revision Received Date: 25/11/2020
Acceptance Date: 07/12/2020
Electronic publication date: 27/7/2021
Collection year: 2021

© 2021 Anjos et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Fatima College of Health Sciences, PO Box. 3798 Abu Dhabi, UAE; Tel: 0561849994;


Abdullah Shehab
Emirates Cardiac Society
Emirates Medical Association
(United Arab Emirates)
View Full Editorial Board

Annual Journal Metrics


Acceptance rate = 40%

Average review speed: 45 days average

18 days from acceptance to publication