Acupuncture and Arthritis

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Arthritis is one of the most pervasive diseases in the United States and is the leading cause of disability.  According to the CDC an estimated 70 million people are affected with it.  Arthritis is a complex disorder that comprises more than 100 different conditions and can affect people of any age. The 2 most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.  These two forms of arthritis have different causes, risk factors and effects on the body, however they share a common symptom - chronic joint pain.

Acupuncture is a very effective  form of pain control and it has been used for over 2000 years. Research shows that the symptoms of arthritis can be treated with Acupuncture.  Acupuncture causes the body to produce chemicals called endorphins, which inhibit the perception of pain. Endorphins are similar to morphine, which is given in Western medicine. The big difference is that endorphins are produced naturally by the patient's own body and has no side effects.  Acupuncture also works through the nervous system by blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain and deactivates trigger points. Trigger points are tender and extremely reactive areas that develop in the muscles and facial sheaths of the body. They are commonly responsible for chronic pain and frequently found in arthritic joints. Acupuncture also has a very relaxing effect on the mind and body, which helps with the stress of the illness in the body.  Furthermore, Acupuncture stimulates the adrenals to produce natural steroids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect. It also stimulates the parathyroid glands to produce the hormone that draws calcium out of bones, only in this case, the hormone works on osteoarthritic deposits (deposition of calcium in joints, limiting mobility).

Each patient is unique, so they will respond to treatment differently. Most patients will experience symptomatic relief after a few treatments. A normal course of treatment should be 2 to 3 treatments per week for four to six weeks and then re-evaluate. For cases in which joint mobility is restricted or inflammation reoccurs, periodic maintenance treatments are recommended. The popularity of Acupuncture for arthritis continues to grow because more and more patients have found significant relief from the pain and inflammation without the negative side effects that come with Western pharmaceuticals.

Lifestyle and Dietary changes

Ginger - Natural anti-inflammatory, available in powdered extracts in capsules or alcohol based extracts.

Fresh pineapple - Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple that reduces inflammation. Not canned or frozen.

Fish - cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep joints healthy as well as reduce pain and swelling. If you don't like fish, consider taking fish oil capsules.

Cherries - recent research shows that tart cherries are an excellent source of nutrients that help to reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Turmeric - Natural anti-inflammatory.

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