Over 54 million adults in the United States are affected by arthritis — that’s one in four adults! Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States.
Arthritis can be one of the most life-altering and unpleasant pain conditions. There are many types of arthritis (osteo-, rheumatoid, childhood, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia) , but symptoms typically include:
- Difficulty moving joint(s)
Arthritis can range from bothersome to extremely painful, hindering everyday activities for many who have it. It is also associated with other chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. That means millions of people aren’t able to work or are limited in their ability to work, are missing out on life-enhancing activities and travel, and may be in near-constant pain due to arthritis. Thankfully there are a multitude of ways to manage arthritis and the pain that so inhibits sufferers’ lives.
Acupuncture for Arthritis
When you consider that Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) dates back over 2,000 years, it is easy to see the vastness of theory and history involved. TCM practitioners have unique diagnostic methods to define the underlying problems and help the body correct them. Many clinical studies support acupuncture’s ability to be an effective treatment for arthritis. In addition to the increased production of endogenous opioid endorphins (the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals), acupuncture is a great option to keep in mind to reduce swelling and increase range of motion safely, naturally, and without harmful side effects.
“Motion is lotion,” you may have heard a physical therapist, chiropractor, or acupuncturist say. Movement can help reduce arthritic swelling and pain, and is a sure-fire mood-booster that can also help manage those conditions that are common in conjunction with arthritis. A lot of people are reluctant to move because of pain, but in the long run pain lessens if they stay active. It’s important that people suffering from arthritis choose low-impact exercise and only engage in physical activity that feels safe.
Easier said than done, I know, but stress has a big impact on the body’s ability to heal itself, especially when it comes to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. The pain of arthritis can also contribute to stress, creating a vicious cycle. Make sure you are taking care of your mental and emotional health by making self-care time, getting exercise and outdoor time, engaging in positive and healthful hobbies and recreation, and having a mindfulness routine can all help manage daily stress. Acupuncture can really help in this department too! Most people who get acupuncture treatments report that it is very relaxing and helps relieve stress.
The Mediterranean Diet
No diet can cure arthritis outright, but you have a full table of options when it comes to foods that can help fight inflammation and pain. Often called the The Mediterranean Diet (because, well, it’s common in the Mediterranean regions!), it is a diet low in processed food and full of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and beans, and healthy oil (Olive Oil) that can greatly reduce the symptoms of arthritis. You can read more about it at the Arthritis Foundation website by clicking here.