Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage, which cushions and protects the joints, to slowly erode away. This increases friction every time the joints are used, roughing up the cartilage, and could eventually lead to bone touching bone. The cartilage at the end of a healthy bone should not be quite as hard as bone and it should be less flexible than muscle, thus promoting nice, fluid movements at the joints. Areas of the body made up of cartilage include the nose, ears, and all of the joints. It is mainly the joints of the hands, knees, hips, and spine that are affected by osteoarthritis.
The signs and symptoms that may occur at joints afflicted with osteoarthritis include the following:
- Joint pain and tenderness
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
- Loss of mobility and flexibility
- Crepitus–a crinkly sensation or a grating sound arising from movement of the joints
- Bone spurs–an outgrowth of tiny, bony slivers found along the edge of a bone
The following list includes risk factors for osteoarthritis:
- Advanced age
- Female gender
- Prior injuries
- Certain genetic bone deformities
There is no known cure for osteoarthritis, so standard Western medical treatment will often focus on managing symptoms with drug therapy–using certain NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and other analgesics such as ibuprofen.
However, these drugs provide only temporary relief from pain and may cause side effects such as stomach cramps, dizziness and, at worst, difficulty breathing. Fortunately, studies reveal the ability of acupuncture and Oriental medicine can provide significant pain relief in those with osteoarthritis.
Managing Your Arthritis Flareups
Most people are familiar with the term arthritis, which may conjure up images of twisted, knobby fingers or achy knees, but did you know there are over 100 different types of arthritis? Learn how acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can address the specific types of arthritis known to induce flare-ups, which are sudden escalations in the severity of symptoms.
Some arthritic conditions that are prone to flare-ups:
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)–a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks joint tissue. The synovial fluid that encases the joints thickens due to inflammation. This can cause pain and structural deformities. Other symptoms include fatigue and fever.
Osteoarthritis (OA)–also called degenerative joint disease. When cartilage, the protective cushioning found between the bones, starts eroding away, symptoms of OA may result. This can cause pain, visible swelling and difficulty moving the afflicted joint.
Psoriatic arthritis–a particular type of arthritis associated with the skin condition psoriasis. The most common symptoms include joint swelling, redness, and pain. Severe cases may result in misshapen joints.
Often the reason behind a flare-up is obvious. Dampness pervading the air before a rainstorm or overusing arthritic joints may trigger symptoms. Other times, the exact cause remains a mystery. However, no matter the origin of a flare-up, acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can help.
About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.
Dr. Mindy Boxer is a holistic practitioner who has grown into her specialties in an organic way. Understanding a range of disciplines allows her to integrate the wisdom of Ancient healing in combination with the most recent innovations in Scientific research. This dynamic blend has enabled Dr. Boxer to help patients in the prevention and treatment of disease for over 25 years.
Dr. Boxer has a particularly keen understanding of Women’s Health issues including Gynecological irregularity, PMS, Fertility, IUI & UVF support, Healthy Pregnancy & Delivery, and Menopausal issues. Her interest in the human body as a dynamic system has given her the understanding to deal with such problems as improper Digestion and elimination, Cancer Support, Allergies, back pain, tight neck and shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory distress, chronic fatigue, Insomnia, Stress, Anxiety and Depression.
She has also studied the art and science of Homeopathy, earning her Diplomate in Homeopathy from the Hahnemann College of Homeopathy in 1995. This allows her to treat the whole person — physically, mentally, emotionally.
Proper Nutrition, Herbs, Acupuncture, and Homeopathic remedies are the tools Dr. Boxer utilizes to allow the body to heal itself and find its way back to balance. She is dedicated to helping her patients find “Radiant Health and Well-Being.”