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Table 1 Study characteristics and the distribution of trials for each intervention providing data within 4 weeks, included patients on active treatment, Q-values from heterogeneity tests, mean methodological scores, mean age of patients and baseline pain on a 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS). (*) One trial with electroacupuncture used too low electrical stimulation intensity according to optimal treatment criteria (Berman et al. 2004), and consequently was classified as manual acupuncture.

From: Short-term efficacy of physical interventions in osteoarthritic knee pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials

Type of intervention Total number of trials Total number of patients Number of trials with optimal treatment Number of patients receiving optimal treatment Mean methodological quality [range] (max score 5) Mean age (years) Q-values and p-values in hetero-geneity tests Mean baseline pain on 100 mm VAS †
TENS including IF 11 425 7 277 3.3 [1–5] 63.6 60.8 (p < 0.001) 63.8
Electro-acupuncture 3 242 3 242 3.6 [3–5] 62.9 1.1 (p = 0.58) 62.7
Manual acupuncture 4 691 4 691 3.9 [3–5] 66.1 4.5 (p = 0.34) 54.7
Low Level Laser therapy 8 343 5 222 3.5 [2–5] 66.9 36.4 (p < 0.001) 66.7
Pulsed electromagnetic fields 7 487 7 487 4.4 [3–5] 64.2 9 (p = 0.18) 63.3
Ultrasound 1 74 1 74 4 67.5 n.a. 53.0
Static magnets 2 172 2 172 4 [4] 65.6 1.9 (p = 0.22) 59.7
Total and means 36 2434 24 2165 3.8 65.1   62.9†
  1. * = Mean † = Weighted mean