Acupuncture Can Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition that affects around 1.3 million people a year. It significantly limits function and movement of the joints causing cartilage and bone damage.

Those with the condition can experience:

  • Morning stiffness that goes on for hours.
  • Warm, swollen and tender joints.
  • Fever, weight loss and fatigue.
  • The appearance of rheumatoid nodules that appear as “firm to the touch” bumps under the skin and located in the arms.

The signs and symptoms can vary in frequency and severity. There could be periods of increased symptoms as well as it going away for periods of time.

Can acupuncture help?
Chinese medicine may be effective in reducing the symptoms of RA. Acupuncture balances the “Qi” or energy of the body that helps reduce inflammation. It is important to visit an Acupuncturist that understands the stages of RA and can properly assess and treat according to the stage you are experiencing.

Any evidence that it helps?
Dr. Lai-Shan Tam M.D. and associate professor from The Chinese University in Hong Kong, showed his findings at the Association of Rheumatoid Health Professionals Conference. His study was high quality placebo-controlled, which is noted in the medical community as the best kind to perform.

Participants were 29 female and 7 males on the average of 58 years and older. They were randomly selected and had been previously unresponsive to any other therapies. They were divided into 3 groups. The first group of 12 had electro-acupuncture (acupuncture needles inserted with an electrode attached to the needle that send various levels of pulsating electrical current through the needle)

The second group received acupuncture without the electrical current and the third group received needles that were placebos or they weren’t needles placed in areas that would have an effect on the condition.

The Results?

  • The first group that had the electro-acupuncture received a big reduction in the the tender joint areas having a measurable decrease of stiffness, swelling and pain.
  • The second group or traditional needling also received measurable results, but not as significant as the electro-acupuncture group.
  • The placebo group received no benefits without any changes.

The conclusion

In this study, the correct use of acupuncture with the right technique and treatment plan, did have an effect. Needling isn’t going to do anything unless it is done with an experienced professional that knows how to treat RA with Chinese medicine.

Another important note to consider when looking for alternative treatment options for RA, is to be certain that your primary care physician is aware of your intent to seek other alternatives.

However, using other alternatives doesn’t mean that you stop your current arthritis treatments, but use acupuncture in conjunction with them.

Always continue a current treatment of medications and then after further evaluation, you and your health care professional can determine what needs to be changed in your treatment, based on results.

At Advanced Spinal Clinic we offer acupuncture. Consider the power of Chinese medicine and its 3,500 plus years of effectiveness as a viable therapy.