Arthritis, Aging, and Acupuncture
Updated: Feb 17
How acupuncture helps
Acupuncture treats the patient by addressing the whole body. When the body is out of balance, pain and illness can arise. Acupuncture works by returning the body back to its natural balance and energy flow to eliminate pain and to improve overall health.
There are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the body. When these specific points are stimulated through small acupuncture needles, it can help relieve pain by improving the body’s nervous system, which can jumpstart the production of pain-reducing endorphins.
A study in Germany found that 304,674 people with osteoarthritis experienced less pain and stiffness after 15 sessions of acupuncture. The treatments were done during a three-month period and lasting results were seen for another three months after treatment was stopped. The patients who had the acupuncture treatment reported better quality of life and function than those who had no treatment.
A study done at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan Medical School found that of 20 women who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the half that received acupuncture treatment had increased activity of the pain-reducing receptors in the brain.
A trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine studied 570 men and women with osteoarthritis. For the men and women who received 23 acupuncture treatments for about 6 months, results of less pain and better functionality occurred, compared to those with the placebo treatment.
Arthritis can be painful and persistent, resulting in frustration when it isn’t easy to find relief. Acupuncture is a non-invasive, alternative treatment that has been proven in numerous studies to help reduce pain and increase mobility.
6 Foods to Help Your Arthritis
Fish are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which work as a natural anti-inflammatory. Some of the best fish to consume include salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring, which are all rich in omega-3s. The recommended weekly amount is around six to eight ounces of fish.
Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, avocado and safflower oils are packed with healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties.
Because it contains sulforaphane, broccoli has been shown to slow and prevent the progression of osteoarthritis. Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, C and calcium, which is known to help strengthen bones.
Green tea has many health benefits, one including reducing pain of arthritis. The tea is full of antioxidants that work to lower inflammation and the disintegration of cartilage.
Fruits like oranges, limes and grapefruits are very acidic and full of vitamin C. Vitamin C can help aid healthy joints for those with arthritis and work as an anti-inflammatory.
For those with arthritis, exercise, no matter how little you do, is one of the best natural treatments. For those with severe arthritis, even the smallest amount of walking can make a difference. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for those with arthritis because it puts the least amount of impact on the joints. Strengthening exercises are also recommended to keep muscles and joints strong.
One of the most common reasons people seek out acupuncture is for arthritis relief. Acupuncture can help relieve pain from arthritis and increase blood flow and circulation, reducing inflammation. Through the specific placement of needles on acupuncture points on the body, acupuncture realigns the body back to balance.
Made from the chemical that gives chili peppers their heat, Capsaicin cream has been known to relieve arthritis pain. The cream works by decreasing the body’s pain receptors and as a result, lessening the overall pain caused by arthritis. The cream can be bought without a prescription at your local drug store.
Fish oil is beneficial for numerous reasons, one of them being its anti-inflammatory properties. Because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, trials have found that the oil can reduce morning stiffness and the need for pain medication for those with arthritis. Fish oil is a supplement that is safe and recommended to take every day for the most beneficial effects.
Mind-body techniques like meditation, relaxation and tai chi have been seen to improve overall quality of life for those with arthritis. Tai Chi is a martial art that involves slow, easy movements along with deep breathing. This exercise can improve the body’s motion and physical fitness without being too demanding on the joints and muscles. Although meditation and relaxation do not necessarily reduce pain, they have been found to improve mood and health in arthritis patients dealing with chronic pain.
Studies have shown that some patients benefit from changes in their diet by eliminating food that may contribute to their arthritis pain. By removing allergens from the diet, overall inflammation can be reduced. Common diets that have been seen to be beneficial include a mediterranean diet rich in nuts, fish, vegetables, fruit and olive oil. Foods that are not recommended include red meat and dairy as those can cause inflammatory reactions.