Recently, during a conversation with a colleague, I was reminded that arthritis is one of the top chronic ailments that plague Americans. Many have tried Western medicine without finding relief for their pain. As a result, people are turning to holistic medicine for help. This is for good reason as modalities such as Chinese medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise, and supplementation can offer a great deal of help for the debilitating effects of arthritis.
Arthritis is a general term that literally means “joint inflammation”. Although there are many diseases that result in arthritis, the most common are Osteo-arthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Osteo-arthritis is probably best known as the arthritis associated with old age. It can range from joints that are mildly stiff and “creaky” to extremely painful joints that don’t like to move. Osteo-Arthritis is a degenerative condition that involves inflammation and the subsequent breakdown of joint structures like cartilage and synovial tissue. Often this condition is worse in areas of old trauma – which encourages the early treatment and resolution of injuries.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a little more complicated, but is essentially an autoimmune disease where the bodies’ own immune system attacks the joints. The symptoms can range from swollen, painful, inflamed joints to gross deformities. Here, the synovial tissues become inflamed due to the constant assault of the white blood cells, damaging the joint structures. Genetics and the health of the immune system play a large role in the development and expression of the symptoms. Other diseases such as Lupus include RA as part of their symptomology.
Chinese medicine has a long history of successfully treating most types of arthritis. Through the use of herbs, acupuncture, massage, exercise, and nutritional counseling, the symptoms are relieved and the causes are eliminated. It is my experience that the cure rate significantly improves when Chinese medicine is combined with Western supplements. The correct use of substances such as glucosamine sulfate, MSM, SAMe, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and Western herbs can do much to promote the healing of the joint tissues. Acupuncture can do a great deal to limit pain and increase mobility.
If you or a loved one is suffering with arthritis, I highly encourage a visit to a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. It might be the medicine you have been searching for!