Do you know how acupuncture can help treat joint pain? Acupuncture is the foundation of traditional Chinese medicine and has been practiced for thousands of years along with other treatments to promote the relief of many different ailments and diseases.
Researchers are not yet sure how the therapeutic function of this branch of alternative medicine works. However, acupuncture is also currently popular in the western world, and many people turn to it to improve their quality of life.
What is acupuncture?
Although we do not know exactly how acupuncture works, several studies support the physiological changes that occur after treatment. One of the effects of this type of therapy is pain relief, including joint pain.
Acupuncture is based on a set of procedures that stimulate certain anatomical points on your body. This treatment uses different techniques, and perhaps the best known is the use of needles. In addition, the health benefits of this practice have been thoroughly studied. Here’s how it works: small, thin needles are strategically inserted into the skin to relieve pain caused by certain diseases.
More than 70% of women over the age of 35 suffer from joint pain, according to a study by the International Osteoarthritis Foundation (OAFI). This type of disorder affects the musculoskeletal system and attacks the joints responsible for the movement of bones in the knees, ankles, hips or wrists. More severe forms of this disease can even prevent patients from walking or sitting in a chair.
Joint pain starts as a feeling of acute, sharp pain and stiffness, which limits joint movements due to inflammation in the affected area. This limitation severely disrupts the quality of life, making daily activities and tasks difficult.
The following are some signs and symptoms of joint pain:
- Inflammation, hot to the touch and redness of the joint.
- Skin rash or purple spots.
- Chest pain, respiratory problems.
- Abdominal pain.
- Fever, sweating or chills.
Osteoarthritis is one of the main types of disabilities that can cause joint pain. It is a degenerative disease that involves the deterioration of cartilage, leaving the joint unprotected. The legs wear because they rub against each other, which causes intense pain and stiffness in the joint.
How effective is acupuncture in treating joint pain?
Acupuncture is one of the best treatments to treat joint pain in conjunction with other treatments. Overall, it is even helpful in relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Overall, age, weight and genetics are all factors that can predispose you to osteoarthritis. That said, a lifestyle change can sometimes help improve symptoms. However, various studies have shown the effectiveness of acupuncture as an alternative treatment for osteoarthritis.
A study found in the Cochrane Health Database showed that acupuncture could do little to reduce pain and improve physical mobility in patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
For this study, patients were divided into two groups: one group was to receive acupuncture treatment and the other was to be a control group and did not receive any treatment. After 8 and 26 weeks, patients who had undergone acupuncture treatment experienced less pain and increased physical mobility, compared with the untreated group.
Joint pain caused by medication
Joint pain can also appear as a side effect of certain medications. Aromatase inhibitors are used to treat patients with breast cancer or menopausal women at high risk of developing it. This treatment can cause joint pain so intense that some patients even stop taking the medicine altogether.
A recent study conducted by the scientific research network SWOG ( Southwest Oncology Group ) showed that acupuncture significantly reduced joint pain as a result of treatment with aromatase inhibitors in early menopausal or breast cancer patients.
The 226 patients included in the study were from different medical centers and were divided into three groups:
- Acupuncture treatment
- False acupuncture treatment
- No treatment
After 12 weeks, patients receiving acupuncture treatment reported pain relief, which also lasted for several months. Overall, this represents progress in the alternative use of opioid drugs and the undesirable effects.
Treating joint pain: Conclusion
Although we still need more studies to investigate how acupuncture works, it is very effective in treating joint pain. This alternative treatment has also shown benefits for the treatment of fibromyalgia and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.
As a result, healthcare professionals offer patients the opportunity to receive acupuncture treatment along with other treatments. In addition, acupuncture can also be covered by health insurance, depending on the region, country and health insurance company.