Tags: Arthritis | acupuncture | arthritis | joint | pain

How Acupuncture Helps Arthritis and Joint Pain

By    |   Wednesday, 05 August 2015 04:49 PM

Acupuncture is a 2,000-year-old alternative medical therapy that may give arthritis sufferers a new option for treating joint pain.

Considered a complementary and alternative medicine option, acupuncture is one of several treatments making the move into mainstream medicine. More patients and doctors are embracing CAM therapies, integrating them with modern medical treatments, The Mayo Clinic said, adding that 40 percent of adults report using some type of CAM.

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The dearth of medical research on acupuncture’s effectiveness is attributed to the costliness of large medical trials, The Mayo Clinic said. But even though many companies won’t spend dollars to back up CAM techniques, research does support the idea that arthritis joint pain can be helped by acupuncture.

Cleveland acupuncturist Jamie Starkey told The Arthritis Foundation that acupuncture doesn’t help everyone. “In my clinical work, we see a 20 percent non-response rate. But more often than not, patients come in who have exhausted everything,” she said. “Then they notice improvement.”

Typically thought of more in connection with treating osteoarthritis, especially knee pain, acupuncture may hold hope for people with rheumatoid arthritis too.

A 2011 Chinese study found acupuncture reduced two factors, TNF-alpha and vascular endothelial growth factor, associated with chronic inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients, The Arthritis Foundation reported.

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The study impressed Nathan Wei, director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, Maryland, who told the Foundation, “Acupuncture has been used to treat the pain of osteoarthritis, but this is one of the few articles I’ve seen where cytokine, or protein messengers, like TNF-alpha and VEGF have been affected in people with RA.”

Other studies with RA patients have shown similar results, The Arthritis Foundation said, with five of eight studies showing a reduction in erythrocyte sedimentation rate, three showing a C-reactive protein reduction, and one study showing a “significant drop in both.”

In treating the joint pain associated with osteoarthritis, some studies have shown significant results in favor of acupuncture. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reported on several studies that found people with osteoarthritis, especially with knee pain, were helped by acupuncture, though results were described as “modest” in at least one clinical study.

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Acupuncture is a 2,000-year-old alternative medical therapy that may give arthritis sufferers a new option for treating joint pain.
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Wednesday, 05 August 2015 04:49 PM
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