Posted September 18, 2008 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Uncategorized

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one out of every three Americans (an estimated 70 million people) is affected by arthritis. Most people over the age of 50 show some signs of arthritis. Joints naturally degenerate over time, resulting in loss of normal movement.

Rheumatoid arthritis, a common form of systemic inflammatory joint disease, affects an estimated 60 million individuals worldwide (1 percent of the population). A chronic connective tissue disorder, inflammation causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness leading to joint destruction. The inflammation can also affect other organ systems and can increase risk of cardiovascular disease.

Medication, physical therapy, and various forms of exercise often utilized in allopathic health care of arthritis may not result in effective pain management. Most of the medications commonly prescribed to relieve inflammation in joints, referred to as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), have been found to have adverse side effects.

More and more people have found significant pain relief from acupuncture without the negative side effects that may be caused by pharmaceuticals. Acupuncture, when used in conjunction with allopathic therapies, or as a primary form of therapy, can reduce the joint pain associated with many forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and knee and hip osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture frequently reduces joint stiffness and is effective in the symptomatic treatment of joint conditions for individuals who are unable to tolerate medication side effects resulting from intake of analgesics and muscle relaxants.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) uses a multidimensional approach, treating arthritis with acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, diet modification, bodywork, physical exercise, stress reduction, and supplements as necessary depending on the type of arthritis and the symptoms.

As well as alleviating specific symptoms, TCM and acupuncture treat the root cause of the condition, tailored to individual constitution. Your acupuncture physician will examine condition onset and symptoms to determine an appropriate acupuncture treatment plan. An acupuncture treatment program for arthritis can improve joint function in as few as eight to ten treatment sessions, allowing the individual to return to normal activities.

For arthritis sufferers, acupuncture often reduces the number of tender joints as well as swelling. Acupuncture releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that reduce discomfort and pain and improve mood. Acupuncture also increases muscle and tendon relaxation around the affected joint area.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, causing more than 7 million physician visits per year, second only to cardiovascular disease as the cause of adult chronic disability.

Individuals experiencing osteoarthritis, when treated with acupuncture, often show significant improvements in symptoms and quality of life compared to those who undergo routine allopathic care alone. Acupuncture can be a valuable treatment option when combined within a multidisciplinary integrated approach to treat the disorder. Acupuncture therapy for osteoarthritis often results in reducing dependence on pharmacotherapy while improving functional ability.
In addition to acupuncture, your acupuncture physician may recommend Chinese herbal medicine to alleviate soft tissue inflammation. A balanced, varied diet may also be recommended which can help ease the pain of arthritis by providing vitamins and minerals that keep joints healthy.

For more information about acupuncture for the treatment of arthritis pain contact Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500.

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