By Matthew Enright AP, DOM (AP1711) – Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – Palm Beach Gardens Acupuncture has handled a lot of cases involving patients with arthritis with positive results. We have always used Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat this among other health problems. When it comes to arthritis, we have treated many patients in the past and reversed the effects of the condition for patients who have had it for a protracted time.
Here is some information on arthritis before we delve into treatment using acupuncture;
Arthritis has many forms but the most well-known form is osteoarthritis. The condition affects millions of Americans as they age. Osteoarthritis is known to wear the ends of bones thus leaving little or no protective tissue such as cartilage. The disease occurs as a person ages and can progress over time. The condition can attack any part of the body and especially the hip, lower back, hands and knees.
Common types of Osteoarthritis
Hip osteoarthritis is the most common type and patients have trouble walking. This form of the disease is complex and can be hard for doctors to diagnose. Patients also suffer from foot and ankle osteoarthritis which attacks any of the 30 bones of the foot. Shoulder osteoarthritis becomes more of a worry as a person ages. The physical limitations and pain associated with this kind of osteoarthritis also worsen with age. Other forms of the condition include hand osteoarthritis, spinal osteoarthritis and cervical spondylosis.
Joint pains are the main characteristic of the condition and are experienced when pressure is applied on the joint or when it is moved. You may also experience the pain in the morning or after a long pause of inactivity. Joint stiffness is common too.
You may also feel a grating sensation when using the joint as well as reduced flexibility on the joint. Bone spurs are also common since bits of bone tissue form around a joint and feel like lumps.
Common causes of Osteoarthritis
Cartilage is there to protect bones at the ends. The tissue is slippery thus allowing smooth joint movement. When this cartilage deteriorates, it causes the bones at a joint to rub against each other.
Weight gain is a leading cause of osteoarthritis as it exerts unnecessary weight on the joints causing faster wear and tear. Fat tissues also produce proteins which are harmful to the joints and cause inflammation. Injury and bone deformity are also leading causes of osteoarthritis.
Professionals who exert pressure on certain joints constantly also risk being affected by the condition. Women are more likely to suffer from the condition than men. Some people also inherit the condition.
The Western medical approach to Osteoarthritis
The doctor will first take an X-ray of your bones to see bone structure. Swelling, tenderness and redness may also prompt the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests. Blood tests and joint fluid analysis are also done.
After diagnosis, the doctor may recommend acetaminophens which act as painkillers. You may also have to take non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDS. They are pain killing drugs that can be bought over the counter. Physical therapy is also recommended to increase strength and rehabilitate affected joints.
Using Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to treat Osteoarthritis
Acupuncture applies a treatment method which involves inserting thin needles below the skin painlessly. The acupuncture needles trigger the release of neurotransmitters which help combat pain such as endorphins and enkephalins. Treatment is also linked to the production of cortisol which is an anti-inflammatory hormone. Acupuncture, unlike many conventional medicines has no side effects. Chinese herbs can also be used in combination with acupuncture to promote synergistic healing.
Research supporting the use of Acupuncture for Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Dr. Brian Berman is a professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine. He is the head of the Center for Integrative Medicine. In a study he conducted in 2004, the academic sampled patients suffering from osteoarthritis. The study, which ran for a period of 26 weeks, aimed at investigating the benefits of acupuncture for patients of osteoarthritis.
At the end of the study, patients showed significant improvement with most feeling the relief from pain they had hoped for. Many of the participants reported that they were also able to walk longer distances than before. Dr. Berman explained that the reason for this was because acupuncture released a series of pain relieving reactions in the body.
Dr. James Dillard who has worked at the Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Colombia University has also supported the use of acupuncture for the treatment of pain related health issues such as osteoarthritis saying that it actually works better than NSAIDs.
If you are suffering from the debilitating condition, you need not worry as there is help. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs could be the key to regain your normal way of living. Feel free to call us and receive your free consultation. We have licensed, experienced acupuncturists on our Palm Beach Gardens Acupuncture team who are well-versed in techniques used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese Cupping, and of course Acupuncture. Give us a try; we are confident we can help you!