April Newsletter: Tired of Arthritis Pain? Acupuncture May Be the Solution

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Tired of Arthritis Pain? Acupuncture May Be the Solution

If you have moderate to severe arthritis, you've probably stopped doing a few of your favorite things due to pain. Although movement can ease stiffness and pain, it's hard to stay active when your joints hurt. Luckily, acupuncture eases arthritis pain and may also help improve your ability to move your joints.

Acupuncture Activates Pain-Fighting Hormones

Arthritis inflames and damages the cartilage, bones and tissues in your joints, making them stiff and sore. Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medical practice that involves placing hair-thin needles in the skin, relieves many kinds of pain, including osteoarthritis pain. The needles clear blockages of Qi, a life force that keeps your body in balance.

Medication isn't the only way to dull pain. In fact, your body has a very effective, built-in pain control system that can be triggered with acupuncture treatments. The treatments increase the production of endorphins and serotonin, hormones that decrease pain while also improving your mood. Acupuncture also prompts the release of natural opioids that ease pain.

If you've been relying on medication to treat your pain, acupuncture could help you decrease your dosage or even stop the medication in some cases.

Treatments Are Effective for Both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Acupuncture controls pain caused by many types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that happens when your body mistakenly attacks your joints. Osteoarthritis occurs when aging, wear and tear, or injuries wear away cartilage on the ends of bones. Cartilage helps the bones in the joint move together smoothly and acts as a shock absorber.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, knee osteoarthritis is one of the painful conditions that can be helped with acupuncture. Researchers who conducted a systemic review on the effects of acupuncture on knee osteoarthritis determined that acupuncture has a beneficial effect on pain relief and function, particularly in people with chronic or long-term pain. Their research appeared in BioMed Research International in April 2022.

Acupuncture can be just as helpful for rheumatoid arthritis. A meta-analysis published in Frontiers in Immunology in 2022 noted that acupuncture combined with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) could help improve symptoms. The combination of electroacupuncture and DMARDS was the most effective. During electroacupuncture, a gentle electrical current attached to acupuncture needles enhances the effects of the treatment.

Don't Want to Feel Pain? Keep the Brain Out of the Loop

The brain plays an important role in pain sensation. Let's say you cut your finger. The second the blood starts flowing, special receptor cells in your skin send a message to the brain via your nerves. Once the brain receives the message, it processes the information and causes the sensation you know as pain.

Acupuncture blocks pain messages from reaching your brain. Without input from your nervous system, your brain has no idea you hurt yourself and doesn't produce pain.

Reducing Inflammation with Acupuncture Eases Symptoms

Arthritic joints often become inflamed and swollen. Swelling causes stiffness that makes it difficult to bend or move the joint, in addition to increasing pain. Acupuncture treatments act on nerve pathways involved in inflammation and make them less active.

Muscle pain and spasms may accompany arthritis and make your pain feel worse. Acupuncture helps your muscles stay loose and limber, gets rid of knots, and relieves painful spasms.

Wondering if acupuncture could relieve your arthritis pain? Call our office to schedule an appointment.


National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Acupuncture: What You Need to Know, 10/2022


BioMed Research International: Acupuncture for Knee Osteoporosis: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials with Meta-Analyses and Trial Sequential Analyses, 4/2/2022


Frontiers in Immunology: Comparison of Efficacy of Acupuncture-Related Therapy in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, 3/7/2022


WebMD: Acupuncture for Arthritis, 6/12/2021


The Journal of Pain: Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis, 5/1/18



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