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Acupuncture and Arthritis – At Boca Raton Acupuncture we have had tremendous success treating and reversing the symptoms of arthritis. Acupuncture, along with Chinese herbs can reduce joint inflammation, reduce pain, stiffness, and tenderness as well as improve your overall well-being. Before we explore more about acupuncture and how it works lets first understand a little more about this condition.

There are many types of arthritis, but the most common type is osteoarthritis, a condition effecting millions of Americans as they age. It is a disease characterized by the wearing down of the protective tissue, or cartilage, at the ends of bones. It occurs gradually with age and can worsen over time. While osteoarthritis can cause damage to any joint in a human body, it is most common in the knees, hands, low back and the hip.

Acupuncture and Arthritis – Common types and symptoms of osteoarthritis

Hip osteoarthritis is a common type with patients suffering problems with walking. Due to the complexity of this type, it may be difficult to diagnose it. Foot and ankle osteoarthritis can affect any of the 30 bones in the foot. Your likelihood of suffering osteoarthritis of the shoulder increases with age. The same is true for the physical limitations and pain that accompany this type. Other types are spinal osteoarthritis, hand osteoarthritis and cervical osteoarthritis, also referred to as cervical spondylosis.

Pain in the joint is a common symptom of osteoarthritis. This can be experienced by moving or upon application of light pressure. On waking up in the morning or after a long inactive period, you may experience joint stiffness as well.

Other symptoms include a grating sensation when you use the joint, lack of flexibility on the affected joint and bone spurs. These are bits of bone tissue that form around a joint and feel like hard uncomfortable lumps.

Common causes of osteoarthritis

A cartilage protects ends of each bone at the joint. This cartilage is slippery, permitting the movement of the joint without friction. However, the cartilage can deteriorate gradually paving way for roughness and a bone rubbing on an adjacent bone.

Obesity and weight gain are leading causes, as extra weight exerts more pressure on the joints. In addition, fat tissues produce a harmful protein that causes joint inflammation. The other leading causes of osteoarthritis are joint injury and bone deformity.

If your profession entails exerting pressure on the same joint for a long time, you may suffer the condition. Women are more likely to suffer osteoarthritis as compared to men. You can also inherit the condition from your parental genealogy. You are more likely to experience the symptoms of osteoarthritis as you age.

Western Medical Treatments for osteoarthritis

Conventionally, your doctor will carry out an X-ray test to determine the structure of the joint. If there is swelling, redness or tenderness, he may conduct a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. Other tests include blood tests and joint fluid analysis.

When these tests suggest that you have the disease, you may have to take acetaminophens, medications that treat moderate and mild pain in the joints. Alternatively, doctors may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also referred to as NSAIDS. These are largely over-the-counter drugs, which typically relieve pain. Otherwise, physical therapy to strengthen joint muscles is recommended. For patients who suffer occupational osteoarthritis, occupational therapy is advised to help them work without exerting too much pressure on affected joints.

How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treats Osteoarthritis

Acupuncture is a viable form of therapy whereby thin, sterile needles are inserted into specific points on the body. This produces signals that travel to the brain, triggering the release of endorphins, enkephalins. Endorphins and enkephalins are neurotransmitters responsible for pain relief. The acupuncture treatment can also produce cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone.

The biggest advantage of acupuncture for osteoarthritis is the fact that, unlike conventional medications, it has no side effects. There is virtually no pain upon the insertion of an acupuncture needle and research shows that it is highly effective at relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Chinese herbs and nutritional supplements can also be prescribed to provide a synergistic healing effect for patients.

Acupuncture and Arthritis – Research Studies

At the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, Dr. Brian Berman is a professor of Family & Community Medicine. He heads the Center for Integrative Medicine. He conducted a 26-week study in 2004 on a large sample of patients suffering with osteoarthritis. According to his findings, all patients experienced a decrease in pain. Further, they could walk for a longer distance without trouble. Berman says that acupuncture triggers a series of pain-relieving events in the body of the patient. Dr. James Dillard, a former pain specialist at Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Columbia University insists that the anti-inflammatory benefits of acupuncture for osteoarthritis are far better than any benefits of NSAIDs.

So, if you’re suffering with osteoarthritis, we want you to know there is help. Acupuncture along with the healing properties of Chinese herbs can work wonders to reverse this debilitating condition. Consultations are always free so why not give it a try? We are confident that we can help you!