Is Acupuncture an Effective Treatment for Arthritis?
Acupuncture for arthritis has proven over time to be a successful method of finding relief from arthritis pain. Research specifically in this area now shows that people who had been suffering from the pain and restrictions of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the conditions treated with acupuncture.
As published in the U.S. News and World Report (1/03/05), researchers at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine took on a 4 year, large scale blind study to examine whether acupuncture could be helpful for arthritis sufferers. Two months into the study, patients found that their ability to function had already improved noticeably. At the end of the study, patients receiving acupuncture treatments rated their pain at 40% lower on a standardized scale than when they began. They also clearly noted that their ability to function had increased by 40%.
How does it work? Since there are a variety of complex conditions that can cause the onset of arthritis, Chinese medicine takes the approach of finding the source of each individual’s symptoms. The common factor involved in all cases is inflammation caused by a lack of smooth circulation of the Qi – our body’s innate energy, and blood circulating in the affected area. Acupuncturists address the interconnection between the two as a first step in relieving pain. It is important that both are in optimal strength and motion to keep ourselves healthy and active. In addition, with arthritis there is an obstruction causing the interruption of the collective flow of energy and blood. This obstruction can be any condition which aggravates the joints, such as too much exposure cold, damp, or over use. After assessing the condition, a combination of acupuncture points is chosen specifically for each person in order to increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain.
Acupuncture also helps regulate the body’s nervous system. Western studies have shown that stimulating acupoints can cause multiple biologic reactions, for example, stimulating the release of endorphins, our natural pain managers.
When treating osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis an acupuncturist will use acu-points in the affected joint along with points away from the pain which is related to the problem. This is because the science of acupuncture works with the interconnected flow of “qi” throughout the entire body. In this way endorphins are released to relax the body at a deep level, restore the tendons and muscles to their natural, flexible state, and relieve multiple pain sites.
Currently a variety of studies have been conducted to measure the effectiveness of Acupuncture treatments for managing arthritis, each with positive results. Patients demonstrated consistently lower pain levels and improved quality of life.
To schedule your acupuncture appointment in the offices of Anne Hermann, M.D., P.A., call (813) 902-9559.