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 withoutcausing harmful side effects.
Arthritis according to Western Medicine Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis, affecting morethan 21 million Americans. It occurs when the cartilage between the joints breaks down, usually affecting thehips, hands, knees, low back, or neck.
Some factors can increase your risk, including a joint injury being overweight, aging, and genetics. Putting stresson a joint through repetitive motion can also increase your risk.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another common type, affecting 2.1 million people in the United States. This chroniccondition occurs when the lining of the joints becomes inflamed, and can lead to long-term joint damage andeven loss of movement. Women are two to three times more likely to get RA.
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
- Muscle pain
Treatment options 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-careand physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may even be needed.
Acupuncture offers a safe, natural way to control joint pain and other symptoms and maintain overall health.In fact, a 2004 study showed that patients with OA of the knee experienced a 40 percent decrease in pain anda 40 percent increase in function after receiving a series of acupuncture treatments.
A whole-body approach to relief Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) take a holistic, or whole-body approach to health. According to these theories, Qi (pronounced Chee) is the life energy that animatesthe 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 orblockage in the flow of Qi, physical symptoms may result.
Kwang Kim LAc will take a detailed health history and perform a physical exam to determine your body's imbalances.
He or she will create a detailed treatment plan that takes into account your unique symptoms and the effectsof your arthritis.
During treatment, fine, sterile needles will be inserted at specific acupoints along the meridians in order torebalance and unblock any obstruction and allow Qi to flow freely.
Kwang Kim LAc may also recommend herbal remedies, message and stretching. Be sure to discuss any new medications with your doctor to avoid any potential interactions.
What you can do It's important to remember that there is no "quick fix" for arthritis, and it may take time andeffort to 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.
Your acupuncturist 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 techniquessuch as
breathing exercises, meditation or gentle exercise, you will improve your state of mind-and yourhealth.
- Maintaining balance in your life is also key. A good balance of rest and relaxation with activity and exercisewill keep
you feeling your best.
By working closely with your acupuncturist and other treatment providers, you will be taking charge of yourarthritis and taking a step toward a healthier life.
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 and Heat
- Unresolved emotional upset, mainly related to stress and anxiety