Arthritis is an issue that affects an increasing number of people in society and though it has a higher prevalence among the older generation, it can also affect younger individuals too. This article aims to explore whether or not Chinese medicine can be effective in the treatment of arthritis.
When exploring the topic of arthritis it important to specify what type is being discussed, this article will touch upon osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Before continuing it is important to state that there is no current form of medicine (acupuncture or otherwise) that can cure arthritis, however Chinese medicine excels in the management of this particular family of diseases and many patients may lead pain free lives with regular maintenance.
Osteoarthritis is defined as the degeneration of cartilage/synovial fluid between joints which causes bone on bone friction thus creating a limited range of motion and pain upon movement; it is a degenerative disease meaning it affects people in older age or those that overuse particular joints (athletes). A patient who suffers from this particular disorder may gain great relief from an acupuncture treatment which can also be supplemented with herbal medicine. This is because acupuncture can encourage circulation to a particular area and this will assist with the pain while the herbs can be used to improve circulation while the patient is not at the clinic.
Rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation of the joint lining that causes the affected area (fingers, toes, knees etc) to swell up. This disorder causes great amounts of pain and immobility to those affected however unlike osteoarthritis it is an autoimmune disorder which means it can affect any age group. Since the nature of this disease is more troubling it is recommended that a patient use herbal medicine primarily with acupuncture as an adjunct treatment to obtain the most relief from symptoms. Herbal medicine is utilised over acupuncture here as some herbs have a stronger ability to reduce inflammation and maintain that particular effect for the half life of the medicine.
Besides the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine it is also recommended that a patient who suffers from either forms of arthritis practice Chinese Exercise Therapy (Tai Chi/Qi Gong) as very positive results have been seen through peer reviewed research showing that the use of this form of exercise can help subside pain, increase range of motion and also assist with balance (an issue more related to osteoarthritis).
Therefore it can be seen that though arthritis, both osteo and rheumatoid, can be rather debilitating – the use of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese Exercise Therapy can assist a patient with the symptoms of pain, mobility and improve their quality of life significantly.