Do you remember when your grandparents complained about their arthritis as the weather changed? Or as you age, you feel a little creakier and chalk it up to arthritis. the term Arthritis is often used, but do you really understand it? In this blog, we look at the following questions. What exactly is arthritis? What causes it? How does Western Medicine treat it? And, Can Acupuncture help Arthritis? For that response, we use a video from Lisa Francolini, L.Ac. Read on….
What is Arthritis?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis is very common, but is not understood very well. It is not a single disease; rather an informal way of referring to joint pain or disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and conditions.
Four different categories of arthritis:
The two most common are Degenerative and Inflammatory. In this blog we look specifically at Degenerative Arthritis.
In the case of osteoarthritis, when cartilage breaks down and wears away, it causes pain, swelling and stiffness. Cartilage is the hard, slippery, cushioning that covers the ends of our bones where they form a joint. The cause of osteoarthritis is wear and tear damage to the cartilage of the joint. If there is enough of that wear and tear, it can cause bone on bone, which is very painful and can restrict movement.
How does Western Medicine look at care?
The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
When the joint symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild or moderate, they can be managed by:
- balancing activity with rest
- using hot and cold therapies
- regular physical activity
- maintaining a healthy weight
- strengthening the muscles around the joint for added support
- using assistive devices
- taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
- avoiding excessive repetitive movements
Osteoarthritis can prevented by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements.
If joint symptoms are severe, causing limited mobility and affecting quality of life, some of the above management strategies may be helpful, but joint replacement may be necessary.
How Can Acupuncture Help Arthritis?
Here is a patient story about how acupuncture has helped with her arthritis.
I also have serious osteoarthritis in both knees and ankles and have been told repeatedly that I need knee replacement surgeries. After 4-5 weekly sessions, I have gone to a once a month maintenance schedule – and I experience no pain in my knees and ankles most of the time and when I do it is manageable without stopping my activities or relying on pain medication. The best part is I continue to ambulate upright, under my own leg power…allowing me to lead an active life which includes exercise at the gym for improved health and fitness. After years of suffering, it is my opinion that it is Lisa’s skill as an acupuncturist that has kept me out of a wheelchair!”
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