Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Acupuncture Treatments For Arthritis Pain

As we get older, the likelihood of developing arthritis increases. With this, comes joint pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there is a holistic treatment option that can relieve arthritis pain: acupuncture.

acupuncture wrist chandler
What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It occurs when cartilage at the end of the bones gradually deteriorates – this feels like two bones rubbing against each other. Previous joint injuries, old age, and obesity are some of the contributing factors that cause arthritis.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic disease mainly of the joints. In late stages deformity and ankylosis of a joint due to disease or injury develop. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown; however, it is assumed that autoimmune mechanisms and viral infection could cause rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a noninflammatory degenerative joint disease in older individuals. It is characterized by:

  • The degeneration of the articular cartilage
  • Enlargement of bone at the margins
  • Changes in the synovial membrane

It is accompanied by pain, usually after prolonged activity, and stiffness, particularly in the morning or with inactivity. This is also known as degenerative arthritis.

Symptoms of Arthritis

The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time but may also appear suddenly. Arthritis generally affects adults over the age of 65, but arthritis can develop in children, teens, and young adults. In addition, arthritis is more commonly found in women than men, and people who are overweight.

The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis develop in the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Decreased range of motion
arthritis x-ray

What is unique about this disease is these symptoms may come and go. They may be mild, moderate, or severe. Your symptoms may stay the same for years but may progress or get worse over time.

Individuals with severe arthritis may experience chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and tasks, and difficulty walking or climbing the stairs.

Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes, as well. These changes may be visible like knobby finger joints. Often times, the damage from arthritis can only be seen on X-ray.

Causes of Arthritis

Cartilage is a firm, flexible connective tissue, which protects your joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when stress is put on them. A reduction in the normal amount of cartilage tissue causes some forms of arthritis.

There are additional risk factors that will affect the likelihood of arthritis developing in the future. These risk factors include:

  • Family history: There are some types of arthritis that run in families. So, if your parents or siblings have the disorder, you may be more likely to develop arthritis.
  • Age: The risk of many types of arthritis increase with age.
  • Your sex: Women, for example, are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis. While most individuals who have gout are men.
  • Previous joint injury: Individuals who have injured a joint are more likely to develop arthritis in that joint in the future.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts stress on your knees, hips, and spine which means a higher risk of developing arthritis.
How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

If you are unsure who to see for an arthritis diagnosis, seeing your primary care physician is a good first step. They will perform a physical exam, checking for fluid around the joints, warm or red joints, and limited range of motion.

Physicians commonly use X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to produce an image of your bones and cartilage. They use imaging scans for arthritis so they can rule out other causes of your symptoms like bone spurs.

Home Treatments for Arthritis

Physicians traditionally treat arthritis pain with anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers, which can cause side effects. This is why a natural approach to arthritis pain relief is becoming more popular. Some of these natural approaches include:

  • Weight loss: Your weight can impact the amount of arthritis pain you experience. Extra pounds put more pressure on your joints, especially your knees, hips, and feet. Weight loss improves mobility, decrease pain, and prevent future joint damage.
  • Exercise: Regular movement maintains flexibility in your joints. Low-impact exercises such as water aerobics or swimming help to flex your joints without adding further stress.
  • Hot and cold therapy: Warm showers or baths help ease stiffness in your joints. Cold treatments, like an ice pack, can relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation.
  • Eat the right fatty acids: High in omega-3s, fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce joint stiffness and pain.
Medical Treatments for Arthritis

When your arthritis symptoms become too severe, surgery may be the only option. Surgery to replace your joint with an artificial one may be an option. This form of surgery is generally performed to replace hips and knees.

If your arthritis is more severe in your fingers or wrists, your physician may perform a joint fusion where the ends of your bones are locked together until they heal and become one.

Newer medical treatments include prolotherapy or prp in which healing elements are injected into injured or arthritic joints.

acupuncture shoulder pain chandler
Acupuncture: A Natural Approach for Arthritis

Acupuncture is highly effective for pain management associated with arthritis. It is a holistic health technique that is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It produces endorphins which inhibit the sensation of pain and serotonin, which blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain.

Acupuncture revolves around the basic premise that there is a natural energy flow (Qi) throughout the body that is essential for an individual's health. Disruptions in this energy flow are believed to be responsible for disease. Acupuncture is used to restore the natural flow of energy in the body, activating its own self-healing.

Acupuncture is also very effective when combined with conservative therapy and medical treatments.

anti inflammation
Conservative & Non-Surgical Treatments for Arthritis

Some other noninvasive ways to treat the pain associated with arthritis are cold laser therapy, chiropractic, and Graston technique.

Low level lasers are excellent treatments for decreasing pain and inflammation inside joints. Class IV Cold Lasers produce a specific frequency and wavelength of energy that decrease inflammatory molecules inside joints. Many people with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis find relief when low level lasers are added to their treatment.

Chiropractic adjustments can restore movement and function, so excess pressure is not forced on any joints. Chiropractic care has other benefits, too. These include:

  • Restoring the lost range of motion in your joints
  • Improving your general flexibility and endurance
  • Increasing your muscle tone and strength.

This treatment option is frequently combined with massage or physical therapy to improve arthritis pain.

Many patients are amazed how their muscle pain and "knots in their muscles" are quickly improved with Graston Technique treatments combined with massage. Graston Technique helps break up scar tissue and enhance tendinopathy healing. Massage therapy helps decrease muscle spasms in the neck, back, leg, shoulder, and arm muscles, which often contribute to increasing joint pain.

Conclusion

As we get older, the symptoms of arthritis usually develop gradually or may also appear suddenly. There are a number of factors – family history, age, your sex – that determine if you are predisposed to arthritis later in life.

Acupuncture for arthritis pain is a holistic approach to alleviating signs of arthritis pain in men and women. It is used to restore the natural flow of energy in the body, activating its own self-healing.

Alpha Chiropractic and Physical Therapy provides treatment for many patients in Chandler and Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, and Maricopa. Therapy and treatments for many types of injuries and arthritic conditions can be improved with a combination of acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy. Learn more about our unique Chandler Chiropractic Clinic.