Relieve Arthritis Pain by Acupuncture
Arthritis is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Each type of arthritis is characterized by joint and musculoskeletal pain, often the result of inflammation of the joint lining.
Arthritis affects more than four million Canadians and hundreds of millions of people across the globe. Approximately 50 % of people older than 65 live with arthritis, but it can affect people of all ages, even young children. Arthritis should not be thought of as a condition that develops only in old age.
Although symptoms of arthritis vary in each person, people with arthritis find that the condition will interfere with daily activities at some point. Due to the pain and stiffness, patients may have trouble getting out of bed, writing, sewing, buttoning clothes, dressing, walking, and climbing stairs, for example. But this is not always the case. Some days are better than others and the severity of symptoms can change from day to day. Sometimes living with the loss of function and movement is more difficult than the pain of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are probably the most common types of arthritis seen in acupuncture clinics. However, differential diagnosis should be properly made since the etiology and the treatment of these two types of arthritis are quite different. While acupuncture treatment for OA can be symptomatic and localized, acupuncture treatment for RA requires special caution. In our practice, it is not uncommon to treat RA patients without placing any acupuncture needles near the painful joints. Rather, most needles are placed in other areas such as the abdomen, back, and head, particularly when the body is in an acute systemic inflammatory state. RA and other autoimmune disease patients are encouraged to bring their erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test results periodically so we can monitor their inflammatory status. This will help the acupuncturist to design the most effective symptomatic and systemic acupuncture treatment protocol.