The Treatment of Arthritis and Arthrosis with Acupuncture

Arthritis, what are the main symptoms?
Constant pain in one or more joints? Your mobility, particularly in the morning seems increasingly limited, do you feel your joints are more rigid or even deformed? Increasingly
Are you suffering from any of the following?
• Difficulty with your daily tasks?
• Painful knees as you go down stairs?
• Reaching for something above your shoulder level that causes discomfort?
• Back ache after sitting down for a while?
• You begin to feel pain when the weather changes – particularly if it gets colder and humidity increases?
• Your joints become swollen, red or hot? Aching

If you have any number of these symptoms you are likely to suffer from arthritis or a musculoskeletal disorder. Let us first understand arthritis, considered to be a chronic degenerative disease, it is diagnosed when the cartilage that lies between the ends of the bones of a joint loses thickness and surface. It acts as a shock absorber which prevents impact and friction between the bones and when this wears out the bones touch causing inflammation. Over time deformities occur through the formation of osteophytes (bony outgrowths), causing more pain, a limited range of motion and also possible calcifications of the tendons may occur where they attach to the bones, further reducing the flexibility of the joint.
In general, when there is a pronounced inflammation with swelling, warmth and redness in the joint area, it is called arthritis (Yang Type). If signs of inflammation are less evident and if, on cold and humid days, pain gets worse, then it would be more appropriate to call this arthrosis (Yin Type).
The most common arthritis are diagnosed in the knees, shoulders, spine, hip and fingers.

What causes joint degeneration?
• Ageing is the natural, gradual process of cartilage wear and tear.
• Being overweight leads to premature cartilage wear and tear.
• Strong impact from trauma can lead to disruption of shape and function.
• Repetitive loading movements caused by sport or work.
• Autoimmune disease in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis.
• Genetic and environmental predisposition.
• Diet, in the case of gouty arthritis for example.
• It can also occur due to fungi, bacteria or viruses that can reach the joint and generate inflammation through the bloodstream.

When left untreated, this disease initiates degeneration, which can lead to complete destruction of the joint.  So treatment that relieves symptoms, improves mobility, and prevents joint degeneration is very important.
Arthritis is frequently found in the over 40s and becomes very common in the over 65s.

The treatment of arthritis and arthrosis with acupuncture
Acupuncture is now recognised throughout the world, recommended since 1979 by the World Health Organization for its effectiveness in relieving pain and inflammation and strengthening the body’s defenses.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of arthritis (Yang type) and arthrosis (Yin type), called Bi syndromes (painful joints) with specific treatments for each type, selecting acupuncture points that eliminate local pain and inflammation, , and points with action in the organs responsible for the maintenance of the musculoskeletal apparatus, namely kidneys that control the bones, liver that governs muscles and tendons, and spleen responsible for the connective tissue.

What is the explanation for acupuncture to be able to relieve pain?
By induction in the central nervous system (CNS), through the stimulation of type I and II nervous fibres, which are fast transmission fibres (proprioceptive and cutaneous sensory) compared to the slower fibres type III and IV that transmit the pain , acting as a barrier, according to the theory of the pain control gate.
Sequentially, acupuncture stimulates the CNS to produce endorphins that inhibit pain and cause well-being and also by the synergistic effect of monoamines, serotonins and norepinephrines for muscle relaxation, vasodilation and anti-inflammatory action.
Thus acupuncture acts on arthritis / arthrosis in an integral way by relieving pain and stimulating the body to react through increasing the blood circulation in the zone, as well as having an anti-inflammatory action and balancing the immune system. This actuates recovery of the joint and physiologically balancing of the organs responsible for the good maintenance of the musculoskeletal system.

How many sessions do I need?
As this is a chronic disease, taking years to evolve until it manifests itself in pain and severe limitations, it is understandable that for the correct treatment of arthritis it is necessary to have various sessions, as the increase of the mobility is progressive, but with one or two sessions you will already feel pain reduction.
Acupuncture treatment does not cause pain, but if you are afraid of needles, be aware that laserpuncture allows a treatment without needles!
Complementary techniques will be applied customarily, such as TDP, auriculopuncture, laser therapy, among others.
You will also be provided with dietary advice and an exercise plan. These all work together and, with your co-operation, provide lasting result for the recovery of your joint.

Recover your mobility!
João Aguiar
Specialist in Chinese Medicine, Acupuncturist

No Comments