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Rheumatoid Arthritis

ฝังเข็ม » Rheumatoid Arthritis

Acupuncture for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Because rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory and painful condition, it falls into the realm of interruption of qi . Inflammatory conditions reflect an excess of qi ; however, dull pains and stiff joints are indicative of a deficiency of qi . This probably mirrors the evolution of rheumatoid arthritis, from an early stage when it is highly inflammatory to a chronic, late stage where there is more atrophy, stiffness, and dull aching. The treatment of course has to be appropriate for each stage. So the clinician must examine you to determine the stage in order to use the appropriate acupuncture points. However, rheumatoid arthritis can be helped.

Questions and Answers

How long does acupuncture take to work?

Acupuncture effects last 48 to 72 hours in animals, which translates to 2 to 3 days in humans. Thus, for acupuncture to be effective, treatment sessions should not be more than 2 to 3 days apart. Once a week is not sufficient. You don't get cumulative benefits. And don't expect to see much benefit before 5 or 6 treatments.

If you have an acupuncturist working under the supervision of another doctor, the two have to agree on the cause of your problem and the approach must be planned out. If the two don't agree, the plan is different and the effects will be different. When expectations are different, you cannot gauge the results of the treatment.

Does acupuncture help inflammation?

Yes, it can help control acute inflammation in conditions, such as fever, laryngitis, and sinusitis. Acupuncture also has an effect on autoimmune reactivity and chronic inflammation, such as that seen in rheumatoid arthritis, but the treatment has to be maintained because the condition is chronic and we cannot totally eliminate the reactivity. However, we can alleviate it to some extent.

If you have cortisone shots for knee pain, could acupuncture replace those shots?

Probably. In the clinic here, a primary concern is back pain, often caused by spinal stenosis, which is an anatomical problem. It cannot be eliminated without surgery to eliminate the bone. But the pain can be alleviated, such as with cortisone shots. If the shots do not relieve pain for a specific time period of several months, acupuncture is offered as an alternative. In my experience, about 55 to 65% of patients respond to such treatment. However, a research study is underway to clearly define the level of benefit.

Can acupuncture replace surgery?

That depends on the reason for the surgery. If it's for pain, acupuncture may be an alternative. If it's for deformity, acupuncture cannot undo the deformity. Acupuncture is a symptomatic treatment, not an anatomical changing modality.

Can ulnar deviation of the hand be treated with acupuncture?

Ulnar deviation is due to joint erosion and, because the joint is damaged unevenly, the forces on the muscles on either side of the joint are uneven. Prevention requires relaxation of the muscle. Treatment must be prolonged and involve an acupuncture technique to relax those muscles. When trying to achieve relaxation, extra stimulation (such as electricity) should not be used. But once muscle shortening has become permanent, such as in a bunion, it is almost impossible to correct without lengthening or cutting loose the muscle in some way.

What can be done about fainting when the needle is inserted?

This is more common in men than women. Reclining eliminates 90% of fainting attacks. Be sure to have something to eat and drink beforehand, which also helps prevent fainting. Further, it helps to get used to the sensation of the needles in your hands or feet before applying needles to other parts of the body.

 
 

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