Also referred to as degenerative joint disease, Osteoarthritis is a deficiency that involves the subchondral bone and the body’s articular cartilage. These abnormalities may be hereditary, mechanical, metabolic, or developmental.
The causes of this disease mainly lead to loss of cartilage and when the bone is no longer protected with cartilage, it becomes exposed and prone to damage. Its primary symptoms include joint pain, locking, effusion, stiffness and tenderness.
Initial treatment usually involves analgesic backed by proper exercise and change in lifestyle. However, if pain goes beyond tolerable, joint replacement surgery is often performed.
Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of chronic disabilities in the world affecting over 27 million people in the United States and around 8 million people in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world.
Since pain is the primary symptom of Osteoarthritis, these days more and more patients suffering from the disease are now looking into acupuncture as a possible alternative treatment to ease the pain as acupuncture has been proven effective to ease pain caused by a variety of diseases.
Originating from China for thousands of years past, acupuncture was originally used as anesthetics to alleviate pain. The principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine contain that the human body has twelve meridians, otherwise known as channels wherein the body’s vital energy or life force passes through. Along the meridians are acupuncture points that are linked with a specific organ system of the body. According to TCM, diseases occur when the flow of the body’s life force is being disrupted and creates an imbalance in the yin and yang energy forces of the body.
Through acupuncture, the normal energy flow can be restored back to balance. Acupuncture utilizes specified needles to stimulate the acupuncture points in the energy channels to revitalize the body’s normal energy flow.
Osteoarthritis usually affects the spine, hands, hips, feet, and knees; although theory has it that Osteoarthritis can actually affect all joints in the body.
As Osteoarthritis worsens, the body joint being affected will appear swollen, painful, stiff and gets even aggravated when being used throughout the day.
Conventional medical treatments for Osteoarthritis normally involve non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs when the first line of analgesics no longer applies. However, these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are associated with severe side effects that will only make the patient suffer further. Taking NSAIDs are linked to gastrointestinal bleeding. Although there are other non-steroidal drugs that may have milder side effects, they can be too expensive. This is the very reason why patients with Osteoarthritis are now looking into alternative treatments such as acupuncture to ease them from such pain.
Other natural forms of treatment for knee recovery and strengthening is physical therapy. Physical therapy can help the healing process and strengthen the muscles and ligaments.