msknyc_140415_0090Conventional arthritis treatments may not prove successful in providing optimal relief for patients. Arthritis can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling, fatigue, overall feeling of not feeling well and other symptoms. Now the ancient treatment of acupuncture is showing promise in reliving symptoms of arthritis for many patients. Being treated with chiropractic acupuncture may provide relief where other treatments have failed at providing pain reduction and improvement in quality of life.

Understanding arthritis

Whether a person has osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, the two most common types of arthritis, or any other form of arthritis, it is not just a single disease. As explained by Acufinder, arthritis is a “complex disorder that comprises more than 100 distinct conditions and can affect people at any stage of life.” Many people have multiple autoimmune syndrome (MAS), which comprises a diagnosis of three or more rheumatologic disorders in the same person. If a person with certain types of arthritis also has other autoimmune disorders, there can be even more suffering, leading to further disabling symptoms.

Benefits of acupuncture in treating arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation indicates in “Acupuncture Gets Respect” that acupuncture is becoming more mainstream. Tim Rhudy, who is a licensed acupuncturist at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, explains that acupuncture diminishes pain by “untying muscular straitjackets – releasing tight, spasmed, shortened muscles to their resting state” and alters the body’s reception of pain. He says that when it is administered, “the body pays special attention to the micro-trauma and emits healing factors.” Evidence seems to back up Rhudy’s claims, but others are skeptical about the benefits.

Does it help or not?

Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating arthritis. When a review of randomized, controlled trials studying the effect of acupuncture on relieving pain of osteoarthritis of the knee, 10 trials representing 1456 study participants were reviewed. Sham acupuncture, where needles are inserted in non-acupuncture points was also included, in addition to the methods of true acupuncture. Results indicated that in 8 out of the 10 studies reviewed, the acupuncture group experienced “statistically significant pain reduction,” when compared to the control group, according to review results, as published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. One of the studies additionally concluded that acupuncture provided a more significant reduction in pain over patients who were treated with Diclofenac, a commonly-prescribed anti-inflammatory medication often used in arthritis treatment. Other studies have demonstrated similar reduction in arthritis pain when acupuncture is administered. Only one of the studies concluded there was no significant reduction in pain between the groups of study participants.

What is chiropractic acupuncture?

The American Board of Chiropractic Acupuncture defines chiropractic acupuncture as “the art, science and philosophy of treating disease and injury by stimulating specific energy modulating points on the skin and is an approved specialty within the chiropractic profession.”

Chiropractic acupuncture involves the strategic placement of needles or other stimulator at specific points that can correct the misguided flow of qi (chee) in the body. Other acceptable methods of stimulation can be obtained through the use of electrical stimulation, pressure, heat or light. You and your NYC chiropractor can discuss your need for acupuncture and the specific details of how acupuncture will potentially reduce your pain and the other benefits you could experience when your arthritis is treated with acupuncture.