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Acupuncture Benefits for Arthritis

acupuncture benefits for arthritis

Arthritis impacts millions of people all over the world. It’s a fairly common condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints.

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can largely impact an individuals ability to function normally. Both these conditions involve symptoms ranging from slight discomfort to excruciating pain.

Acupuncture Benefits for Arthritis

Several individuals who use acupuncture to treat arthritis say that their quality of life has improved. As per the Arthritis Foundation, the primary benefits of acupuncture treatment include:

  • Improved sleep because of melatonin release
  • Enhanced feeling of well-being due to serotonin release
  • Stress relief, after the stimulation of oxytocin and endorphins
  • Pain relief, as acupuncture stimulates nerve fibres to block pain signals.

What Does Research Say About the Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Arthritis?

There is ample research highlighting the benefits of acupuncture for arthritis.

An article from 2008 reviewed randomized controlled trials of the effects of electro- or needle acupuncture on knee osteoarthritis. Ten trials comprising approximately 1,500 participants met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. This research offered evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for physical dysfunction and pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.

In a study conducted in 2019, the researchers aimed to objectively evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. 105 participants were equally divided into three groups. The first group received acupuncture using the traditional Chinese medicine method, the second group received sham acupuncture, and the third group received no treatment.

The results of the research found that participants who received treatment using the traditional Chinese medicine approach experienced less pain along with better quality of life, improved arm and hand strength, and improved overall health.

Another review from 2018  investigated the detailed existing scientific information about the clinical efficacy of acupuncture on rheumatoid arthritis using 43 studies. The researchers concluded that acupuncture alone or combined with other treatment methods is beneficial to relieve the clinical conditions of the disease without any reported side effects. In addition, the review also concluded that rheumatoid arthritis could improve quality of life and function and is definitely worth a try.

Moreover, since clinical trials of acupuncture treatment suggest that acupuncture might be effective for offering pain relief, acupuncture might be a suitable option for individuals suffering from chronic pain. A relatively recent review that encompassed data from over 20,000 patients and 39 trials concluded that acupuncture is effective for treating headache, osteoarthritis pain, and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or several joints. There are many different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Nevertheless, the most common type of arthritis includes osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage – the slippery, hard tissues that cover the ends of bones where they form a joint – to break down. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease where the immune system attacks the joints, starting from the lining of joints.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Stiffness, swelling, and joint pain are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Your symptoms might worsen in the morning when you get up after lying down or resting.

Some symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Popping or clicking when bending
  • Buckling or instability of the joints
  • Limited motion that sometimes goes away after movement
  • Scraping or grating feeling in the knees
  • Bony growth in the fingers
  • Weakness of muscles around the joint

Here are some symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Multiple affected joints
  • Morning stiffness that can last for 30 minutes or more
  • Fatigue
  • Onset in smaller joints such as hands and feet
  • Same joints on both sides of the body are impacted
  • Inflammation of the mouth and eyes
  • Low-grade fever
  • Inflammation of the blood vessels and heart muscles
  • Decrease in red blood cells

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis might be caused by:

  • Age (osteoarthritis is common in adults over 50)
  • Obesity
  • Injuries
  • Wear and tear of a joint due to overuse
  • Muscle weakness
  • Family history or genes
  • Autoimmune disorders

Last Few Words

Acupuncture can be a useful tool to help manage pain and other arthritis symptoms. At the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) Main Clinic, we specialize in offering treatments for many different conditions. We are the only herbal and acupuncture clinic affiliated with a specialized Oriental medicine institution in Houston.

Schedule an appointment at 713-780-9786 or at Houston Methodist Hospital Wellness Services at 713-441-5980!

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