Acupuncture Is Effective For Arthritis
Living with arthritis is rough. First you notice pain and stiffness. “This is normal,” you tell yourself. “I’m getting older.” Soon the pain increases and over-the-counter pain relief doesn’t work. You head to the doctor for stronger pain relief. You might limp on your way there or wince as you slip your coat over your shoulders. On a bad day, you hope you don’t see your reflection as you walk because, well, you look so old. At the doctor, you start with strong pain medications. You move to steroid injections and other doctor administered treatment options. After that, you begin to discuss joint replacements. The doctor shows you images of your joints and talks about irreversible damage and disease progression. It is all overwhelming and seems so permanent.
And the whole time you wonder, “Does arthritis have to progress this way?
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is painful swelling and inflammation of the joints. There are over 100 different conditions that cause arthritis, resulting from factors like disease, genetic conditions, infections and age.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, resulting from the progressive loss of cartilage in the joints. The second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. This type of arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which some environment factor, perhaps a virus, bacteria or fungi, triggers the immune system to attack the joints and causes inflammation.
To Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a blockage in the flow of Qi causes arthritis. When Qi is blocked, pain and a reduced range of motion results. This is called “painful obstruction syndrome.” When the painful obstruction affects the bones and joints, like in arthritis, it is called “bi syndrome” or “bone bi.”
Bi syndromes are caused by wind, cold, heat and/or dampness penetrating the body and lodging in the bones and joints. The exact combination of these environmental stresses is unique to each individual.
So in TCM 10 people with osteoarthritis may get 10 different treatments, each treatment based on the specifics of each person’s diagnosis.
Acupuncture: An Effective Arthritis Treatment
There is a growing body of research on the effectiveness of TCM in treating arthritis and the results are positive.
In one study in St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK, 114 patients with severe knee osteoarthritis, all of whom were eligible for knee replacements, were offered acupuncture treatments. A total of 90 patients agreed to the treatments and began therapy once a week for one month, and once every six weeks after that. The patients were monitored for 2 years.
After 1 year, 41 patients continued their acupuncture treatments; after 2 years, 31 continued. The study showed a significant improvement in pain, stiffness and function as early as 1 month into the treatment. What’s interesting is that not only did this study find acupuncture to be effective in treating the symptoms of arthritis, it found acupuncture to be cost-effective. Each acupuncture treatment cost £20, while a knee replacement cost £5000. The savings is significant.
If you have arthritis, your disease doesn’t need to progress to an inevitable joint replacement. Nor do you need to suffer from chronic pain, stiffness and loss of motion for the rest of your life. You don’t need to move like someone twice your age and you don’t need to live tethered to your pain medications.
Acupuncture is an easy, effective and affordable solution to treat your arthritis. Contact me to discuss a personalized treatment plan today.