Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is often called wear-and-tear arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones, which serve to cushion the ends of the bones, wears down over time. 

Cartilage is the firm and slippery tissue which allows smooth joint motion. In osteoarthritis, the surface of the cartilage becomes rough, and with time, if the cartilage wears down completely, bone begins to rub against bone.

Osteoarthritis can damage any joint in the body. It primarily affects the joints in the hands, neck, lower back, knees and hips. While the condition has no cure, treatment can slow its progression, relieve pain and improve joint function.

 

Symptoms

Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain during or after movement
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning or after a period of inactivity
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating sensation when the joint is in motion
  • Bone spurs – these extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, may form around the affected joint

Acupuncture

Acupuncture treatments can be administered to reduce pain, tenderness and stiffness in the affected joint and improve range of motion and joint strength. Typically, acupuncture points are selected which circle the affected joint, along with other acupuncture points on the arms or legs which assist in relief of joint specific symptoms.

Once the very thin acupuncture needles have been inserted in the selected points, a mild electrical charge is usually applied to the needles to enhance the stimulation at the acupuncture point and the effectiveness of the treatment.

 

PRIMARY ACUPUNCTURE POINTS ON THE HANDS: BAXIE Points

Located at the junction of the finger digits. These points are used in the treatment of conditions related to the hands and wrists.

PRIMARY ACUPUNCTURE POINTS ON THE BACK: BACK BLADDER points

Located 1.5″ lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of each vertebrae of the spine. These points are used for pain along any area of the spine.

 

PRIMARY ACUPUNCTURE ON THE KNEE: XIYAN and ST.35

These two points are located at the lower inner and outer border of the patella of the knee.

 

Herbal formulas

Herbal formulas are used to slow the progression of the condition by strengthening the joint in addition to relieving pain.

 

Herbs noted for their strong analgesic effect include:

  • Ji Xue Teng (millettia root and vine)
  • Niu Xi (achyranthes root)
  • Yan Hu Suo (corydalis rhizome)
  • Mo Yao (myrrh)
  • Jiang Huang (turmeric rhizome): especially useful for joint pain in the neck, arms and hands

 

With chronic conditions, herbs are added to assist in strengthening the joint such as:

  • Xu Duan (Japanese teasel root)
  • He Shou Wu (fleeceflower root)
  • Sang Ji Sheng (Loranthus/Mulberry Mistletoe Stems)
  • Shu Di Huang (Chinese foxglove root)

 

Diet and lifestyle recommendations

Key recommendations include:

  • Foods high in omega-3 oils
  • Chlorophyll-rich foods
  • Moderate and regular exercise

Tracey-Ann Brown, Health Contributor

Originally posted on TheGleaner

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