Almost all people over the age of 40 have some level of osteoarthritis in their body, though not everyone experiences symptoms. This condition has joint changes because of bone spurs forming in the joints which limits movement and causes pain. As the bone spurs become larger, there is more and more inhibited mobility.
Western medical treatment usually involves the use of NSAID’s, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which have side affects and forcing some to be removed from the market. Sometimes NSAID’s are combined with muscle relaxants but there is growing market for joint replacements as drug therapy has limitations in results or controlling pain. Chinese medicine has had a history of treating osteoarthritis for over 2000 years.
In Traditional Chinese medical thought, the Kidneys are responsible for controlling the bones and the Kidneys become weaker as we age and hence problems with bones arise over the age of 40. In addition to this, constant exposure to environmental conditions such as wind, cold and damp complicates the problem. If the Kidneys are not able to keep the bones strong, then for example, damp lodges in the joints causing obstruction. As this obstruction accumulates, compounded with further weakening and aging of the Kidneys, symptoms such as swelling, pain and stiffness become more and more apparent.
Acupuncture works because it fundamentally is aimed at freeing the blockage in the joints and strengthening the Kidneys to improve the health of the bones. One could imagine that if the Kidneys and urine system was at its optimum, then toxins would be able to be eliminated more effectively.
The “arthritis” itself in Chinese medical terms is a toxin and needs to be expelled and in fact there are Chinese herbal treatment strategies specifically targeted in expelling the toxin through the urine and or sweating.
Much research has been done on osteoarthritis validating acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of osteoarthritis. With the spiraling costs of joint replacement therapy and lucrative profits enjoyed by orthopedic specialists, universities around the world are actively researching alternative methods in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
A Chinese herbal formula known as Du Huo Ji Shen Tang which has been used for nearly 13 centuries has been researched and shown to statistically significantly reduce pain and stiffness within two weeks of administration.
There is a special category of acupuncture points called Jing –River points and have been classically indicated to be used in diseases of the bones and sinews.
Specialist Chinese exercises such as Tai Qi are also highly recommended for patients to take up if suffering from osteoarthritis because they are gentle in action and can be taken up at any age group. Tai Qi promotes circulation and can increase mobility of the joints and many people taking up Tai Qi often report increased flexibility as a consequence of doing the postures and movements.
You may be able to prevent heart attacks and other problems as a result of taking NSAID’s or even cancel your joint replacement with a course of Chinese medicine and acupuncture and taking up Tai Qi. The choice is yours.