The pain associated with Arthritis for Pain Management might as well be one of the most severe and intense kinds of pain, perhaps second only to cancer pain. While the standard treatment of arthritis, depending on the type, will often involve the use of aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, gold, hyaluronic acid, steroids,
and sedative-hypnotics. All of these drugs have their respective side effects, some of which are potentially life-threatening if taken insubstantially larger doses. As such, a safer and equally effective alternative form of managing arthritis pain is needed.
Enter the centuries-old practice of acupuncture.
Arthritis is a collection of disease conditions that primarily affect the joints and its surrounding tissues of bone, tendons, and cartilage. Pain in arthritis can be brought about by the inflammation of the joint tissues or the depletion of lubrication and cartilage in the joint. In some cases, uric acid crystals can abnormally accumulate in the joint capsule which leads to its inflammation. However the pain develops, its management requires immediate attention as it can be an excruciating and highly debilitating if left untreated.
The Use of Acupuncture in Arthritis Pain Management
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine sterile needles into specific regions of the body that are considered in traditional Chinese medicine as the meridians or the regions where life’s natural energy, the Qi, flows. It is a widely held belief that pain is a result of the imbalance and disharmony that occurs from the blockage or disruption of the natural flow of Qi.
Based on the Qi principles, acupuncture works by unblocking the flow of Qi so that balance and harmony will be restored. One can think of it as a network of water canals wherein a blockage in one section will result in the backflow of water and its eventual spillage while the forward section will be empty of water. The entire scenario depicts one part as having excess water while the other is fully empty, thereby creating imbalance. Removing the obstruction will return the level of water to its original state.
The water canal analogy best illustrates how acupuncture works. It unblocks the flow of energy so that balance will be restored.
The Scientific Basis for Acupuncture
While many do not necessarily agree with the Oriental interpretation of how acupuncture works, Western medicine points out to the ability of acupuncture to stimulate the production of endorphins as one of the most strikingly important mechanisms for its effectiveness in managing arthritis pain. Endorphins are the body’s natural opiates, particularly morphine. These molecules are particularly useful in the mitigation of the individual’s pain experience.
Some experts also consider acupuncture as being able to stimulate muscle tissue relaxation so that they are relieved of spasmodic contractions as well as abnormally high tension. Some experts also point out to the possibility of the mobilization of the body’s natural healing factors with each needlepoint insertion.
It does not really matter which, between the Oriental description and the Western explanation is true because both philosophies point out to the effectiveness of acupuncture as an alternative form of arthritis pain management.