Arthritis is a common condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. It can be debilitating and significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
In some cases, standard pain relievers and treatment options are not enough to reduce the terrible pains of arthritis. This leads many people with arthritis to turn to alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, to help alleviate their pain.
But does acupuncture really work for arthritis pain?
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. Acupuncturists believe that these points are connected to the body’s natural energy flow. By stimulating these points with needles, acupuncturists aim to restore balance to the body’s energy and promote healing.
Acupuncture has been proposed as a possible treatment for all sorts of ailments, such as:
● Gastro-intestinal disorders
● Respiratory infections
● Eye or vision problems
● Musculoskeletal disorders
● Heart disease
● Anxiety and Depression
● Chronic pain
There is little evidence to support most of these claims, but a few studies have demonstrated some specific benefits of acupuncture.
How Does Acupuncture Work for Arthritis Pain?
There are several theories about how acupuncture may work to relieve arthritis pain. The primary explanation is that acupuncture stimulates the production of pain-relieving endorphins in the body.
Acupuncture may also help to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow, which can help to reduce pain and swelling in the joints.
Is Acupuncture Effective for Arthritis Pain?
There is some evidence to suggest that acupuncture may be effective for relieving pain in people with arthritis. A review of 43 studies found consistent benefits from acupuncture for reducing pain and improving function in people with rheumatoid arthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Another review published in 2022 of 12 randomized controlled trials found reliable evidence in favor of using acupuncture in combination with standard treatments.
However, it is important to note that the evidence is not entirely conclusive. Not all of the research on acupuncture is high-quality, and many of the studies were short-term and involved relatively few participants. More trials are needed to verify the safety and effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment option for people with arthritis pain.
Risks and Considerations
Acupuncture is generally considered to be a safe treatment with few side effects. However, there is a small risk of infection or injury from the needles. It is important to choose a qualified acupuncturist who follows proper sterilization techniques to reduce the risk of infection.