Arthritis

Arthritis



Two of the most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis


Osteoarthritis

In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks and wears away. Without this protective layer of cartilage the bones rub together causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the joints of the fingers, knees, hips, and spine.  People with osteoarthritis will usually feel joint pain, inflammation and stiffness in the affected area. Women are more likely to be affected by the condition than men, with the knee joints being especially affected


Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can affect people at any age. The condition affects multiple joints in the body, with the person affected experiencing pain and inflammation in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints, ligaments, connective tissues, and tendons in the body.



From a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective arthritis arises when the cyclical flow of energy (Qi) in the body becomes blocked. Instead of viewing arthritis as one particular syndrome TCM aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual. TCM uses a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, acupressure, Chinese herbs and exercise to restore imbalances found in the body. Each person will receive a unique and customized treatment. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for pain relief and for helping to reduce inflammation in specific affected areas of the body.


How does Acupuncture treat pain

Fine needles are placed in specific acupuncture points which stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, including endorphins, encephalin (a type of endorphin) and other neurochemicals. These natural chemicals can either change the experience of pain or trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones that influence the body's own internal regulating system. This can bring about a normalizing effect on neuroendocrine (nerve and hormone) function. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, thus promoting physical as well as emotional well-being.


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Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director of National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health , notes that:

“For the first time, a clinical trial with sufficient rigor, size, and duration has shown that acupuncture reduces the pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee. These results also indicate that acupuncture can serve as an effective addition to a standard regimen of care and improve quality of life for knee osteoarthritis sufferers. NCCAM has been building a portfolio of basic and clinical research that is now revealing the power and promise of applying stringent research methods to ancient practices like acupuncture.”


Acupuncture is gaining popularity  for the treatment of arthritis because more and more people have found significant relief without the negative side effects of pharmaceuticals.


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