Arthritis comes in several forms, and all of them are debilitating diseases. The joint pain caused by the condition can cause light or crippling pain, depending on the type of arthritis and how badly it affects the skeletal system. Most people living with the effects of arthritis are willing to try anything to reduce the pain symptoms caused by this condition. Recently, there’s been a rising trend in using acupuncture to help patients cope with the pain associated with arthritis. But does it work?
Does Arthritis Respond to Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Controlling the Qi (life energy) in the body through acupuncture provides a remarkable healing and pain-relieving effect in people with arthritis. Extensive research shows how introducing an acupuncture needle to the body creates a cascade of physiological events.
When used correctly, an acupuncture needle sends signals through the central nervous system and the spine, releasing endorphins and enkephalins. These neurotransmitters can reduce sensations of pain in people with arthritis.
Research shows acupuncture therapy releases anti-inflammatory hormones that reduce the swelling in joints that causes pain in people living with arthritis.
Acupuncture for Rheumatoid Arthritis
A recent study on acupuncture’s effects on people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) concluded that acupuncture worked in reducing chronic pain.
A meta-analysis of 43 studies on acupuncture therapy for rheumatoid arthritis between 1974 and 2018 shows acupuncture used alone or in conjunction with other treatments is beneficial to subdue the symptoms of pain associated with RA. Evidence suggests that acupuncture treatment improves the range of motion in joints and the quality of life in patients.
The study cites several ways acupuncture affects patients with RA, providing a potent anti-inflammatory effect while improving immune function. Since RA is an auto-immune disorder, improving immune function reduces the severity and frequency of attacks in patients.
Acupuncture for Osteoarthritis
There is anecdotal evidence showing acupuncture is effective for relieving pain symptoms in patients suffering from the effects of osteoarthritis. This degenerative bone disease erodes the structural integrity of bones and joints, creating issues like pinched nerves and worn joints that cause pain symptoms in patients.
An unblinded study shows acupuncture, in addition to primary physician care, reduces pain symptoms and improves mobility and function in OA patients.
Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia
A 2014 review in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine shows acupuncture may have therapeutic benefits for fibromyalgia patients. The review assesses the results of nine studies, showing that acupuncture provides better outcomes for pain relief than drugs used to manage the patient’s condition.
Placebo or Proven Treatment? – Does it Matter?
The science speaks for itself. Many Western studies show the benefit of including this therapy in a well-rounded treatment plan. A 2012 meta-analysis of several studies published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Guide shows researchers believe acupuncture is more effective than a placebo at treating chronic arthritis pain.
Southlake Natural Family Wellness
Our mission is to support the health and well-being of our patients by offering individualized, comprehensive holistic care including acupuncture, herbal recommendations, customized nutritional counseling, allergy elimination (NAET), whole food supplements, lifestyle suggestions, moxibustion, and cupping, as well as helping couples get pregnant and STAY pregnant by supporting all the paths to conception.
About Farrah Hamraie
Farrah Hamraie, L.Ac, MOM, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM), is licensed and board-certified in Acupuncture and Herbal medicine in the State of Texas with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from the Dallas College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomat of NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and a member of the American Association of Oriental Medicine.