The word “arthritis” means “inflammation of the joint,” referring to the disease’s common characteristics of redness, heat, swelling, and pain in or around a joint. There are over 100 conditions covered by the term “arthritis” and most involve some form of inflammation. Osteoarthritis (OA, also known as degenerative joint disease, or DJD), is the most common form. It involves the breakdown of the cartilage around the bone or development of bone spurs and can lead to pain and limited function. The joints usually affected are the knees, hips, fingers, and back. OA can result from trauma or injury, or simply wear and tear. Individuals who are overweight are at greater risk.
Acupuncture is a very effective form of pain control in that it can relieve soreness in three ways. First, it causes the body to produce chemicals called endorphins, which inhibit the perception of pain naturally. Second, it blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain through the nervous system. Thirdly, it deactivates trigger points. Trigger points are tender and extremely reactivate areas that develop within muscles. The result of acupuncture is widespread relaxation of both mind and body.
The latest study by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the largest and longest clinical trials to show such conclusive effects and patients who underwent acupuncture treatment reported a 44% average reduction in pain and a 40% improvement in mobility.