If you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, there is a very good chance that acupuncture can help you find relief from the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Since pain is the primary complaint of people suffering from arthritis, acupuncture is recognized as effective form of pain control. Acupuncture is useful for treating other symptoms caused by arthritis and as a way to restore balance and health. Let's take a look at how we help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and how acupuncture accomplishes this.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is classified as an auto-immune dis-ease. When RA occurs, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the membrane (cartilage) surrounding the joints causing pain, inflammation and stiffness in the joints. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, and a general feeling of malaise. Unlike other forms of arthritis, RA affects joints symmetrically - if one finger or wrist is affected, the other one will be as well.
Acupuncture decreases the pain by stimulating the release of various neurotransmitters in the brain. One of these is endorphins, sometimes referred to as the body's own natural opiates. Endorphins inhibit the perception of pain and are similar to morphine, which is used in Western medicine. And while the medications often prescribed for this condition have many side effects, there are none with acupuncture. Simply, the placement of tiny sterile stainless steel needles at specific locations stimulate the release of these chemicals, and this effectively blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain. There is a misconception amongst the populace who think that acupuncture works on nerves, or that needles are inserted into nerves. Acupuncture works indirectly on the nervous system to produce this natural effect. The needles are inserted into muscle/soft tissue. Often, the muscles and tendon sheaths develop hard knots called trigger points, that are responsible for chronic pain. These trigger points can be reactive and tender and are often found in the belly of the muscles and around the joints themselves.
Acupuncture and moxibustion increase the circulation of qi, blood, and lymph, thus also decreasing the cycle of inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by inflammation, (pain, heat, swelling and redness) in and around joints. Inflammation fluctuates do to internal and external environment factors... Acupuncture is also useful in treating osteoarthritis, the gradual eroding away of cartilage in joints and the deposit of bony osteophytes on bone and in the joints as well. Acupuncture works indirectly to influence the endocrine system. It stimulates the adrenals to produce natural steroidal compounds which inhibit inflammation and they stimulate the parathyroid gland to help balance calcium deposits. Chinese herbal formula's have also been found to be extremely useful as well.
Stress, emotional states, lack of exercise and improper diet can exacerbate symptoms. Each person is evaluated on a case by case issue. Some people have mild symptoms that can be acute, while others have a more chronic profile.
By making healthy lifestyle changes and getting competent treatments by a trained acupuncturist, you can manage this and live a relatively pain free and mobile existence.