Arthritis is a pervasive disease that causes pain and inflammation in joints and can be widely spread throughout the body. Arthritis isn't just one disease, it is a complex disorder that comprises more that 100 distinct conditions and can affect people at any stage of life.
The common thread among arthritis symptom is persistent joint pain and inflammation of the joints. While arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages, with the aid of acupuncture and Oriental medicine the pain can be managed to a greater degree and improve functioning.
Acupuncture treatment points for arthritis are located all over the body, not just directly over the affected area. During the treatment, tiny needles are place along the patient's legs, arms, shoulders and even toes. These needles are so tiny that multiple acupuncture needles can fit inside a human hair. The needles stay on the area for set amount of time, and then removed. Most people relax and even fall asleep during the treatment. The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary according to the intensity of the pain, and its severity and pervasiveness with the patient.
The relief of arthritis pain through acupuncture has been studied many times. Results indicate that the use of acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be an effective form of pain management. Many studies throughout the world have been given on a range of arthritis sufferers- from patients awaiting full-hip replacements, to knee surgery patients, as well as people suffering from the affects of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. In most studies, the patients are split into groups- one group participating in acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in conjunction with a self-help course for managing their condition and conventional therapy; the other group receiving only the conventional therapy and self-help course information. The studies indicated that between 25-40 percent who received acupuncture in conjunction with the conventional and self therapy had a decrease in pain and a noted improvement in function of arthritic joints.
The latest study by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the largest and longest clinical trials to show such conclusive effects and patients who underwent acupuncture treatment reported a 44% average reduction in pain and a 40% improvement in mobility.
Combining acupuncture with standard drug therapy can relieve pain and improve movement in people with arthritis of the knee, according to a new study conducted by Dr Brian Berman, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).