There are common types of arthritis and more rare types that fewer people suffer from. Yet, one thing is the same: arthritis sufferers often experience significant pain, swelling and joint stiffness. Two of the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis being caused from wear and tear of a joint and rheumatoid being caused by autoimmune reactions occurring in the joint.
Osteoarthritis begins with the breakdown of joint cartilage that results in pain and stiffness, commonly affecting the joints of the fingers, knees, hips and spine. Other joints affected less frequently include the wrists, elbows, shoulders and ankles.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many different joints and, in some people, other parts of the body as well, including the blood, lungs and heart. With this form of arthritis, inflammation of the joint lining can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth and redness. The affected joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. Rheumatoid arthritis can last a long time and is a condition characterized by flares and remissions.
Symptoms include: warm, swollen or tender joints, joint stiffness, especially in the morning, fatigue, flue-like symptoms such as fever, muscle pain and weakness.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, arthritis arises when Qi becomes blocked resulting in pain, soreness, numbness and stiffness. This blockage is called “bi syndrome”. Acupuncture points that are used depend on whether the underlying cause of the blockage of Qi is caused by wind, cold, damp or damp-heat. This diagnosis is based off of not just your arthritis symptoms but other indicators of your body function as well like sleep habits, eating habits, energy levels, mood and emotions.
Acupuncture can significantly reduce pain and improve function in people with some forms of arthritis who are in moderate or severe pain despite taking anti-inflammatory or pain medications. However, it requires patience. It may take several weeks before you feel any better.
Diet and other therapies for Arthritis:
The approach taken with rheumatoid arthritis is an anti-inflammatory whole foods diet that includes eliminating any foods that are specifically inflammatory for you. Anti-inflammatory whole foods include green leafy veggies, berries, and fish along with many other delicious items depending on diagnosis. Other therapies may be included such as: Tuina therapeutic massage, Cupping and Moxibustion. The target of these therapies is to decrease the amount of inflammation happening in the body and joint, thus a decrease pain and other symptoms will happen. These therapies compliment acupuncture treatments very well.