It is estimated that approximately 40 million people in the US are affected by one form or another of arthritis. The silver lining is that this is because we are living longer, so we have that going for us! As we age the likelihood of suffering from osteoarthritis, which is basically wear and tear of the tissue between bones that allows joints to move smoothly and without pain, increases. And pain is the problem when dealing with arthritis. So, what can be done to treat arthritis? Western medicine will typically treat arthritis with pain relieving medications (or other medications if it is rheumatoid arthritis that you suffer from) or possibly surgery. Surgery often involves the fusing of bones so that they do not “grind” together causing pain. The drawback to this is that doing so will impact the normal range of motion of the joint and limit mobility. Additionally, patients can still experience pain in the joint after the surgery. Joint replacement is sometimes an option but as with all surgeries, there are risks and everyone responds differently. And as we know, even the most innocuous pain medications have side effects, especially if they are used long term.
So, what can acupuncture do for you if you are suffering from arthritis pain. First, acupuncture is not going to help you regrow cartilage and tissues that has worn away over time. It is not a magic bullet. But it CAN manage the pain. It can reduce your reliance on pain medications and it can help you avoid surgery. So how does it do this. There are actually a few ways that acupuncture can help manage arthritis pain. Inserting acupuncture needles induces the body to release endorphins. These are pain regulating hormones that will help reduce pain and the effect is long lasting, not just when the needles are inserted. Acupuncture can also block pain signals that are going to the brain, and again, it effect is persistent. Finally, acupuncture can release trigger points (tight, sometimes extremely painful bands of muscle) that can continually “pull” on joints unless they are released. An acupuncturist may also suggest topical herbal solutions or poultices, exercise or other lifestyle modifications that can help reduce the pain that you might experience from arthritis.
Taken together, an experienced acupuncturist can provide you with a safe and effective way to manage arthritis pain. Pain management is something that we specialize in at Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. Call us today for a free, no obligation pain relief assessment and we will let you know what we can do for you!
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!