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Acupuncture for Arthritis

Acupuncture for Arthritis

As we get older, the potential for arthritis becomes more real. Heck, you probably remember a grandparent using a cane or walker all because of painful joints. As acupuncturists, we know the uncomfortable symptoms caused by arthritis can be managed with the insertion of a few needles and some adjunct therapies.

In Chinese medicine, arthritis is the condition of a block (or 'bi') of qi (or energy) in a meridian or channel. Bi presents itself when cold, damp, heat or wind penetrates the body's defenses and makes its way into the channel. This can cause pain, heaviness, burning, numbness or swelling in the muscles, sinews or joints.

A full intake helps the acupuncturist determine which bi syndrome the arthritic patient is experiencing. Symptoms of the four bi syndromes may include:

Heat Bi - redness, heat, swelling and burning pain

Cold Bi - fixed stabbing pain, local cold sensation, alleviated with warmth, aggravated by cold

Wind Bi - wandering pain with no fixed location, aversion to wind

Damp Bi - sore painful joints, swelling, numbness, aggravated by damp conditions or rainy days

A few key questions pinpoint a diagnosis. Some needling and potentially the use of moxa, cupping, gwa sha or electrical stimulation get the patient moving again...away from that cane or walker.

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