Blog#47: Acupuncture for Arthritis
Arthritis derives its meaning from two roots: arthr = joint and itis = inflammation. Some types of arthritis, such as osteo or other degenerative conditions, often worsen with cold weather or ice treatment and feel somewhat better during warmer weather or with heat treatment. Other types of arthritis, such as inflammatory or rheumatoid (an autoimmune disease) tend to be overly hot and worsen greatly with the application of heat. There are many types of arthritis, such as gout, which is associated from the over-consumption of rich foods, and reactive arthritis, which is associated with infections from certain types of bacteria, such as Shigella or Chlamydia. People often use over-the-counter pain relievers to manage arthritis symptoms, but repeated use of these drugs can damage the stomach, kidneys or liver. Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen (Aleve) can cause stomach bleeding and kidney damage. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can damage the liver. All three of these drugs can increase the risk of heart disease.
A far better treatment approach for arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, is to lose weight if needed, thereby decreasing pressure on the joints, and to exercise appropriately and regularly to strengthen muscles that in turn stabilize joints, thus reducing the likelihood of further joint damage. Acupuncture and mobilization, such as Chiropractic, can be used to improve circulation of blood and lymph to and from the joints. This helps detoxify the area and increases the rate of healing, as well as reducing the pain level. Moxibustion (Moxa), one special aspect of Acupuncture, involves using Mugwort, an herb, to heat specific points on the body, including problematic joints. This therapy can greatly speed joint healing. Moxibustion should not be used with inflammatory or reactive arthritis, and often is not appropriate with rheumatoid or gout. Several of my teachers claim that when used appropriately, on a regular basis over months and years, Moxa can help damaged ligaments, tendons and muscles regenerate. I have seen quite a few patients walk into my office in severe pain and leave almost pain-free after treatment with Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Sometimes this happens after only one treatment, sometimes only after many such treatments, since the effects of Acupuncture are cumulative.
This month’s offer. Contact me for a free consultation to find out if acupuncture is appropriate for your arthritis problems.