Do you want to battle the signs and symptoms of arthritis unconditionally? Acupuncture might be the way. Seeking alternative medicine has now been a common thing throughout the world today. Driven by the aim of getting recovery from arthritic pain and limitations has delved them in seeking help outside orthodox practices. Out of the available options for them, Acupuncture has displayed its colorful wings as it gives them bright hopes. Acupuncture is phenomenal at reducing pain, inflammation, and most of the other signs and symptoms presented with arthritis. It also presents with little or no side effects, thus giving it an edge over the conventional drugs.
This article will discuss how this magical healing modality can improve the signs and symptoms of arthritis.
Benefits of using Acupuncture in arthritis
Acupuncture is an energy-based medical practice that involves the use of needles at strategic places that could connect with the body meridian. This approach signals the body to put on its self-healing mechanisms. In treating arthritis, acupunctural medical procedures are followed in a grand style. It involves placing needles at local points on the joints since the signs and symptoms are restricted to the place. That been said, lets now look into how this magical modality can help arthritis;
Analgesic effect of Acupuncture
People with arthritis often complain of pain, which can be so severe at times. And it has been noted that this level of pain can cause severe limitations in their activities of daily living. Many people opt for natural remedies such as Acupuncture because of the side effects of NSAIDs they use in managing their pain level.
When acupuncture needles are applied to the appropriate acupressure, the needle stimulates the sensory nerves responsible for pain perception, the A and C fibers. In response to this stimulation, the peripheral sensory nerves connected to the localized area of application are activated to block the transmission of pain signals. It shuts down the pain gate and diminishes the level of pain felt. The sensory reflex activity of Acupuncture causes endogenous opioids like Encephalin and Beta-endorphins to be released by the pituitary gland into the bloodstream. It binds with the necessary receptors to bring about relief in the level of pain.
Anti-Inflammatory effect of Acupuncture
Chronic inflammation is implicated in the disease process of arthritis. This inflammatory response often results in some pathological changes at the level of bones and soft tissues surrounding the joints. These pathological changes, which include synovitis, erosion of the bone structures, ligament damages, muscle weakness, etc. brings about the secondary complications associated with arthritis. Because of this, one can only say that it is vital to reduce inflammation to the lowest level possible.
For many years now, Acupuncture procedures have been employed for their anti-inflammatory effects in treating arthritis. It is due to the stimulation of a sensory reflex brought about by the mechanical action of Acupuncture. This stimulation brings about the direct influence on the expression of inflammatory mediators such as Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, Interleukin, and some other pro-inflammatory cytokines. Their down-regulation plays a significant role in alleviating inflammatory response caused by arthritis.
Repair of Cartilage
Joint cartilages get degenerated progressively in arthritis, and this makes the joint painful as the structural components directly rub each other. This degeneration limits the joint functional properties such as movement. However, cartilage degeneration has been a significant problem clinically speaking, because of cartilage’s inability to repair itself. It lacks blood supply and potent stem cells.
Acupuncture has been an excellent tool in influencing the repair of cartilage by regulating the action of pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors on the chondrocytes’ metabolic activities. Overall, the over expression of growth factors, especially TGF-Beta1 and IGF, can be inhibited with a warm needling treatment to accelerate cartilage repair in people with arthritis.
Improving Joint Range of Motion
Pain and inflammation in an arthritic joint are usually accompanied by Joint stiffness, especially in the morning, which results in a lack of mobility and, in essence, limited daily activity. This stiffness, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a result of stagnation of the flow of blood to the soft tissues of the joint. However, Acupuncture can be used to induce an increase in local blood flow to the soft tissues. When needles are inserted into the body, the body responds to it by increasing the blood vessel diameter in a process called vasodilatation. This process will cause more blood flow to the localized area to rejuvenate the flexibility of the soft tissues. This increase in flexibility allows the joint to go a wide range, thus an increased range of motion.
Prevention of Osteophytic growth
In disease conditions such as arthritis and trauma to the joints, the blood flow is usually impaired. This impairment limits the access of Parathyroid hormone for osteoclastic activities. This osteoclastic activity results in bone resorption and remodeling. When blood flow is limited, and the osteoclastic activities are shut down, the bone uses excess calcium deposits to reinforce the stressed part of the bone. This reinforcement results in the formation of bone spurs called osteophytes. This Osteophytes, however, doesn’t cause any problem; the problem arises when they start compressing joint tissues.
Acupunctural procedures employ the ability of Needle stimulation to increase blood flow via increasing the blood vessel diameter. It thus increases the amount of Parathyroid hormone, which would move to the joint area to perform the bone resorption and remodeling activities accustomed.
Reduces Joint Swelling
Acupuncture is also indicated in arthritis, especially Rheumatoid arthritis, to manage the joint’s red, swollen, hot deformity. In response to inflammation, the synovium (lining of the joint) becomes attacked, resulting in excessive production of synovial fluid. While this is going on, the inflammatory process sends an inhibitory signal to the lymphatic vessels, which blocks the lymphatic drainage, and thus delaying removal of the excessive synovial fluid. This excessiveness manifests as a swollen capsule of the joint, which is brought physically as a joint deformity.
However, the meridian approach of Acupuncture is believed to have established network throughout the human body. This network is connected with integrative functions of the body, including lymph drainage by the lymphatic system. Stimulation of the appropriate acupressure point will promote lymphatic drainage and ultimately solve the problem of swelling in an arthritic joint.
In conclusion, Acupuncture offers a lot of benefits to people with arthritis. It can set on the physiological functions of the body to bring about healing. This self-healing response of the body tackles the symptoms yielding signs of arthritis that can limit our day to day activities. This includes severe pain, inflammation, reduced joint motion, soft tissue compressing bone spurs, and reduces joint swelling. It can also get rid of toxic chemicals in the body and help produce necessary antioxidants.Also, this form of modality offers no severe side effects as compared to the conventional drugs used in treating arthritis, such as NSAIDs and glucocorticoids. However, it could be unsafe and serve as an infection point if an old needle is used. Because it involves breaking the skin, Acupuncture is contraindicated in some conditions. It should not be used in the area of poor skin condition, pregnancy, diabetic patients, immune-suppression cases, stroke patients, and patients with cancer.