Rheumatoid ArthritisDid you know that Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, striking 2 million Americans?

Unlike simple stiffness or joint pain from overuse or injury, RA causes the body’s immune system to actually attack the joints (and, sometimes even other organs). This attack causes pain, stiffness, swelling and damage to joints in the body and can limit movement and function. People suffering from very severe RA experience not only pain, but can also have long-term damage to their cartilage and bone.

Current traditional or Western medical treatment options for RA include medications, rest, exercise or even surgery. The most common approach is the use of medications like anti-inflammatory painkillers (aspirin, ibuprofen), topical pain relievers, corticosteroids or narcotic pain relievers. There are also prescription medications that work by interfering with or suppressing the immune system’s attack on the joints.

While these drugs can be effective in treating RA pain and symptoms, they can also cause side effects and can work to alter the body’s natural response to RA.

Chinese Medicine and, specifically, acupuncture has been shown to be a safe and effective alternative approach for treating RA. A key benefit to using acupuncture to treat RA is that it is a drug-free way to minimize pain. Drug treatments can cause people to develop a tolerance and increased doses may be needed to have an effect. This does not happen with acupuncture and a licensed and experienced acupuncturist can work with each patient to develop a customized treatment regimen that can be further tailored to their condition as they treat their RA.

In fact, a recent “Health Alert” issued by Johns Hopkins about effectively treating RA stated: “acupuncture is a potentially viable adjunctive therapy for arthritis pain, and it is rapidly gaining favor in the western world.”

Additionally, a recent article in Arthritis Today outlined the benefits of using acupuncture to treat arthritis and cited several studies that showed its success:

Rheumatoid Arthritis: A recent study from China shows that both traditional acupuncture and electro acupuncture – a type in which pulsating electrical currents are sent through the needles to stimulate target areas – may reduce tenderness.

Osteoarthritis: In a German study, 304,674 people with knee OA who received 15 sessions of acupuncture combined with their usual medical care had less pain and stiffness, improved function and better quality of life than their counterparts who had routine care alone.

So, before you turn to medication for your RA – or to complement an ongoing and effective treatment regimen – think about how acupuncture could help relieve this pain and stop the attack. (1)

1. http://painmanagementinflorida.info/rheumatoid-arthritis-and-how-acupuncture-can-help-relieve-the-pain/