Acupuncture Can Help Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is one of the most debilitating conditions which can affect the mobility and quality of life of its victims. Through time, there have been lots of anti-inflammatory drugs created to treat this condition however most of them bring adverse side effects to the patient. This leads people to turn to alternative medicines such as acupressure and acupuncture in treating osteoarthritis.
Undeniably, more and more people are shifting to traditional bodyworks in treating osteoarthritis primarily due to the absence of side effects. In fact, there have been a significant number of people who have turned to acupuncture in managing the chronic pain brought by this debilitating condition. So what is osteoarthritis and what role does acupuncture play in managing this condition? Let’s find out.
Osteoarthritis and Its Nature
Also termed as degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is a condition primarily characterized by the functional or structural failure of the joints. It often involves one entire joint and affects the nearby ligaments, muscles, joint lining, joint cover and underlying joint. At times, it may involve the progressive cartilage loss in the body.
Osteoarthritis normally occurs as a result of cartilage degeneration but it can also be caused by heredity, aging, injury and disease. Cartilage is actually a protein substance which serves as the ‘cushion’ between the joints’ bones.
Osteoarthritis is categorized into two, the primary and secondary osteoarthritis. Primary osteoarthritis normally occurs as a result of the aging of the joints. Through time, the loss of cartilage causes friction between the joints which may cause pain and mobility difficulty. Most cases of primary osteoarthritis are hereditary.
On the other hand, secondary osteoarthritis is normally triggered by other conditions or diseases including diabetes, gout, obesity and hormone disorder. Obesity can actually heighten the mechanical stresses between the joints which can negatively affect the cartilage. According to research, obesity is the second most significant risk factor for degenerative arthritis. Aging still emerges to be the most significant risk factor for such condition.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis actually vary from one person to another but the most common symptoms are pain, joint stiffness and difficulty in moving the joints. Most treatments for osteoarthritis are geared towards the reduction of joint pain and inflammation. Also, treatments are designed to maintain and improve joint functions.
Acupuncture- How It’s Done and What Are Its Benefits
For more than 3000 years, acupuncture has been used to treat a wide range of illness because of its multiple relieving effects. However, extensive scientific studies were only conducted during the last 5 decades. Because of the growing popularity of traditional medicines such as acupressure and acupuncture, many western medical practitioners have developed the interest and curiosity about the mechanisms of how this method works and how it is able to provide pain relief to patients who suffer from osteoarthritis.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), illnesses are mainly a result of blockages or imbalance in the flow of life energy in the body. Through acupuncture, these imbalances and blockages can be corrected with the use of special and very thin needles.
Acupuncture holds into the premise that the body contains 12 major meridians, 8 secondary meridians and thousands of acupuncture points which when stimulated can bring satisfactory benefits to different organs of the body. This ancient bodywork involves the process of penetrating very thin needles into the skin and manipulating them to create electrical impulses.
Researches On Acupuncture And Pain Management
Through time, there have been lots of researches conducted to determine the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of osteoarthritis. According to research, acupuncture helps in stimulating the production of endorphins in the body. Endorphins serve as the body’s natural pain killers thereby helping the victims of osteoarthritis to cope with pain.
According to research, most acupuncture points are located near the nerves. When these nerves are stimulated, it creates a feeling of fullness or dull aches in the muscles. The stimulation of the muscles, triggers the transmission of signals to the central nervous system, which is composed of the spinal cord and the brain, to produce endorphins. These are hormones which the body produces in times of stress or pain. Together with other neurotransmitters, endorphins help in blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain. In effect, patients are able to experience less pain.
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