How acupuncture can help treat arthritis

October 13, 2015

How acupuncture can help treat painful arthritis

For those looking for an alternative to drugs for treating arthritis, here is information about how acupuncture works and what scientific research says about this treatment for arthritis.

How acupuncture can help treat arthritis

How acupuncture works

  • Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical tradition, and has been used for over 2,000 years to treat different illnesses and neurological disorders.
  • Arthritis can take on several different forms and develop in many areas of the body. However, inflammation and pain in the joints, the most typical symptoms of arthritis, respond well to acupuncture in many sufferers.
  • Acupuncture involves placing long, thin needles into key spots on your body. The treatment can release endorphins, increase blood flow, and stimulate healing of tissue, all of which helps control your arthritis symptoms.
  • Endorphins are known to have chemical properties similar to morphine, but are entirely natural and are a part of your body's internal mechanism for dealing with pain.
  • Most people feel little to no pain during the actual acupuncture process, since the needles are so thin. An acupuncture therapist or doctor is also trained to apply needles in precise areas to target the nerves and muscles that impact your arthritis the most.

The science behind acupuncture

  • Acupuncture may not cure your arthritis, but it can be used as a part of a treatment regimen to manage pain symptoms and sometimes even increase your range of movement. In fact, researchers have increasingly found acupuncture to be a useful treatment for arthritis.
  • For example, a large meta-analysis that reviewed a hundred different acupuncture studies was conducted in the Journal of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, and found that there is solid evidence that acupuncture can provide effective management of arthritis pain and symptoms in the short-term.
  • In addition, another study study that found acupuncture treatment worked nearly as well as arthritis drugs for treating those suffering from arthritis pain. The study found that acupuncture reduced pain levels by 40 percent on average for those suffering from arthritis, a similar finding to many other studies.
  • Many arthritis drugs can also be extremely expensive and come with different side effects, and acupuncture may be able to reduce your reliance on them to some extent.
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