There are over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions affecting over 50 million people. While the pain and discomfort from arthritis can severely impact the quality of life for arthritis sufferers, acupuncture is an effective method of treating certain types of arthritis and its symptoms.
Related: Acupuncture Treatment for Hip Pain
Common Types Of Arthritis
- Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in joints is worn away by bones rubbing together. It results in pain which may become chronic, swelling, redness and stiffness in the joints which eventually lose strength. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include family history, obesity, age and previous injuries.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body’s immune system attacking joints causing them to become inflamed and eroded. This can lead to damage to other body parts, such as the eyes and lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by genetic factors and environmental conditions such as smoking.
- Infectious arthritis occurs when joint inflammation is caused by microorganisms (bacteria, viruses or fungi). These enter the body as a result of food poisoning, a sexually transmitted disease or a blood-to-blood infection such as hepatitis-C. Infectious arthritis is often cleared up with the use of antibiotics, but it can become chronic.
- Metabolic arthritis, also called gout, is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. The acid crystallizes in the joints causing sudden, excruciating and debilitating pain, often in the big toe, but also in the heel, ankle, hand, wrist and elbow.
Acupuncture Treatment for Arthritis
Acupuncture views the flow of energy (or Qi) in the body as vital to health and wellness. Qi flows along meridians in the body and it is when that flow is interrupted or blocked that illness such as arthritis develops. Acupuncture targets the specific symptoms that arise in each individual’s case of the disease.
The acupuncturist will interview and examine you to determine your diet, lifestyle, the onset of the condition, your signs and symptoms. Upon diagnosis, an individualized treatment plan will be developed. This may incorporate treatment with different acupuncture points, herbs, and recommendations as to diet and lifestyle changes.
The acupuncture points to be treated may be at the site of discomfort, or elsewhere on the body along a related meridian. The placement of the needles, the length of time for which they remain in place and whether or not heat or electrical stimulation is applied, are all are carefully considered in order to remove blockages to the free flow of Qi.
Milder symptoms may be alleviated with the first few treatments, but chronic symptoms often require multiple, on-going treatments for a more noticeable relief. Treatments are typically administered once or twice a week.
You may no longer need to constantly suffer from the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. Acupuncture could provide relieve and restore wellness to persons affected by this disease.