While preparing a presentation for the annual Juvenile Arthritis conference, I came across a great article by the Arthritis Foundation called, Can Acupuncture help Relieve RA? The article presents the results of several research studies that show that acupuncture does indeed help to relieve the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as Osteoarthritis. The article details acupuncture effects to reduce pain in both the central nervous system (the brain), as well as the peripheral nervous system (the rest of the body, including the joints).
The article not only explains the particulars of how acupuncture relieves arthritis pain, but it also explains how acupuncture has been shown to lower chemical markers of chronic inflammation. One such marker that was reduced in the acupuncture group in the study is called TNF-α. This research suggests that acupuncture has the potential to slow down the progression of the disease. Dr. Nathan Wei, MD, director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, MD. explains. “In particular, TNF-α appears to play a pivotal role in the chronic inflammation and joint destruction that characterizes RA. That’s why so many of the biologic medications such as Enbrel, Humira, and Remicade target TNF-α.
The article goes on to cite other studies where acupuncture has been shown to reduce other markers of inflammation. It also mentions a very interesting statistic. In a 2010 Mayo Clinic survey, 54 percent of rheumatologists said they would recommend acupuncture as an adjunct treatment.
The article quotes Jamie Starkey, LAc, the lead acupuncturist for the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, and Jeffrey I. Gold, PhD, director of the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic at a Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles who treats patients with juvenile arthritis. It gives people a real idea about the process of acupuncture treatment. It is not a onetime thing. It takes a series of treatments to get good results, but the success rate they report is about 80%, which is very similar to what we see in our clinic, Orlando Acupuncture.
If you know someone, young or old, who is suffering from arthritis please share this blog post with them and encourage them to talk to an acupuncturist to see if acupuncture might help them.