Will Acupuncture Improve Your Arthritis?

Acupuncture in hand

Try Acupuncture When You Experience Arthritis Flare-Ups

Arthritis-related pain and stiffness make everything in life more difficult. Your joints may ache or refuse to cooperate when you work, exercise, clean the house, or even brush your teeth. Although medication may be helpful, arthritis drugs can cause unpleasant side effects. Fortunately, acupuncture can ease your arthritis symptoms naturally.

Acupuncture Offers Real Relief for Arthritis Pain

An injury or years of normal wear and tear on your joints can cause osteoarthritis, a condition that affects more than 32 million adults in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Osteoarthritis symptoms occur when the protective cartilage at the ends of the bones in a joint wears away.

Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, occurs when your immune system attacks your joints. Over time, the disease can damage the bones, cause joint deformity, and trigger painful inflammation.

Luckily, these and other forms of arthritis can be successfully treated with acupuncture treatments. Depending on the severity of the disease, acupuncture alone may ease your pain and other symptoms, or the treatments may allow you to take a lower dosage of pain-relieving medication.

Natural pain relief is one of the most beneficial aspects of acupuncture treatments. During your treatment session, your acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles into your skin. The needles unclog blockages that prevent Qi, a vital life force, from flowing freely through your body. Treatments restore balance to your body and ease pain and other arthritis symptoms. Once a blockage is cleared, blood circulation to the joint improves and inflammation decreases.

Acupuncture treatments prompt your body to produce endorphins and other natural hormones that reduce pain. Treatments may also improve immune system functioning and might even reduce rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups.

Treatments offer a simple solution if stiffness and reduced range of motion in your joints keep you from doing the things you'd like to do. Acupuncture can improve flexibility in your joints and muscles and make it easier to bend, twist, stretch, and reach.

Do you have knots in the muscles and soft tissues around your painful joints? These knots, called trigger points, can play a role in chronic arthritis pain. Acupuncture treatment stimulates contracted nerve fibers in the knots, relaxing the tissue. Once the tissues relax, you may notice less stiffness, pain, and swelling.

Research Supports the Effects of Acupuncture on Arthritis

Several research studies have shown that acupuncture offers an effective way to treat arthritis. In a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Pain, researchers determined that acupuncture treatment offered better control of osteoarthritis pain than sham (fake) acupuncture or no type of treatment at all.

Acupuncture can also be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis, whether it's performed alone or combined with other treatments, according to a systemic review published in Evidence-Based and Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Some scientists have wondered if acupuncture is no more than a placebo, but the researchers who evaluated the rheumatoid arthritis studies believe that the positive effects of acupuncture can't be completely explained by the placebo effect.

Although more research into the benefits of acupuncture for arthritis is being done, multiple research studies have shown that the treatment offers a helpful way to treat arthritis.

Is arthritis complicating your life? Acupuncture treatment may be just what you need to keep pain, stiffness, and other symptoms under control. Get in touch with our office to schedule an appointment with the acupuncturist.

Sources:

WebMD: Acupuncture for Arthritis, 6/19/19

Arthritis Foundation: Acupuncture for Arthritis

The Journal of Pain: Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis, 5/1/18

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Clinical Efficacy of Acupuncture on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Associated Mechanisms: A Systemic Review, 4/12/18

NCBI: Archives of Internal Medicine: Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis, 10/22/12

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