If you live with arthritis, you know what a challenge it can be to find relief from joint pain and other symptoms. But there are many things you can do to manage and control your arthritis and live a healthy, active life. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be a powerful addition to any treatment plan – without causing harmful side effects.
Arthritis according to Western Medicine
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage between the joints breaks down, usually affecting the hips, hands, knees, low back, or neck.
Some factors can increase your risk, including a joint injury, being overweight, aging, and genetics. Putting stress on a joint through repetitive motion can also increase your risk.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another common type. This chronic condition occurs when the lining of the joints becomes inflamed, and can lead to long term joint damage and even loss of movement. Women are two to three times more likely to get RA than men. RA often starts in the hands or feet, and usually affects the same joints on both sides of the body. Symptoms include:
- Warm, swollen or tender joints
- Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever
Treatment generally focuses on relieving pain and preventing further joint damage. Often this is done through the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications, as well as through self-care and physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may even be needed.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)- A whole body approach to relief
Causes of Arthritis from a TCM perspective
- Weakness or deficiency of the internal organs
- Constitutional imbalance
- History of physical injury and/or trauma
- Changes with the quality and quantity of Qi;
- Blockage or inadequate flow of Qi;
- Invasion from external factors such as Wind, Cold, Dampness and Heat;
- Unresolved emotional upset, mainly related to stress and anxiety
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) take a holistic or whole-body approach to health. According to these theories, Qi is the life energy that animates the body and protects it from illness. It flows through pathways called meridians to nourish all of the body’s organs. When there is an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Qi, physical symptoms may result.
Acupuncture offers a safe, natural way to control joint pain and other symptoms, and maintain overall health. In fact, a lot of researches have published recently that acupuncture is a safe effective way to help arthritis, including chronic neck pain, knee/hip arthritis, osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, gout, etc.
We will take a detailed health history and perform a physical exam to determine your body’s imbalances. Then we will create a detailed treatment plan that takes into account your unique symptoms and the effects of your arthritis.
During treatment, fine, sterile, disposable needles will be inserted at specific acupoints along the meridians in order to rebalance and unblock any obstruction and allow Qi to flow freely.
We may also recommend Chinese herbal medicine, Tui Na massage and stretching. Be sure to discuss any new medications with your doctor to avoid any potential interaction.
What you can to
It’s important to remember that there is no “quick fix” for arthritis, and it may take time and effort or achieve results. However, there are lifestyle changes you can make that may help you find relief faster:
- Exercise can help increase your flexibility, strengthen muscles, and bones, and maintain a healthy weight; • Diet is another important issue. Stick to a healthy diet made up of a wide variety of unprocessed, organic foods. we may also suggest adding natural anti-inflammatories to your diet;
- Stress relief can also help. By learning to identify your stressors and lower your stress through techniques, such as breathing exercise, meditation or gentle exercise, you’ll improve your state of mind – and your health;
- Maintaining balance in your life is also key. A good balance of rest and relaxation with activity and exercise will keep you feeling your best.
By working closely with your acupuncturist and other treatment providers, you will be taking charge of your arthritis and taking a step toward a healthier life – Naturally.
(1) [The combined use of acupuncture and UV irradiation in treating the neurological manifestations of lumbar osteochondrosis] Sochetannoe primenenie akupunktury i oblucheniia UF-luchami v lechenii nevrologicheskikh proiavlenii poiasnichnogo osteokhondroza. Tsarev IuK; Troshina ED Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult (USSR) May-Jun 1991, (3) p25-9,
(2) Effect of acupuncture and point-injection treatment on immunologic function in rheumatoid arthritis. Liu X; Sun L; Xiao J; Yin S; Liu C; Li Q; Li H; Jin B General Hospital of PLA, Beijing. J Tradit Chin Med (CHINA) Sep 1993, 13 (3) p174-8
(3) [Auriculo-electropuncture in rheumatoid arthritis (a double-blind study)] Aurikuloelektropunktura pri revmatoidnom artrite (dvoinoe slepoe ispytanie). Ruchkin IN; Burdeinyi AP Ter Arkh 1987, 59 (12) p26-30
(4) Effectiveness of Acupuncture as Adjunctive Therapy in Osteoarthritis of the Knee -A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Brian M. Berman, Lixing Lao; Patricia Langenberg, PhD;Wen Lin Lee, PhD; Adele M.K. Gilpin, PhD; and Marc C. Hochberg. Annals of Internal Medicine Dec 2004, Vol. 141 no. 12 901-910
(5) Acupuncture and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Three-Armed Randomized Trial, Annals of Internal Medicine, 4 July 2006
(6) Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): A Double-blind Controlled Pilot Study. American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, November 2006
(7) Acupuncture in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip: A randomized, controlled trial with an additional nonrandomized arm. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 54; 11: 3485 – 3493