Friday, November 9, 2012

Acupuncture and Joint Pain

As we get older our joints may stiffen and become prone to pain and injury. This wear and tear is seen in Chinese medicine as a stagnation of the circulation of blood and energy through the body, a lack of “moisture of the tendons”.  Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to counteract these problems. These include Chinese herbal remedies that promote circulation and reduce chronic inflammation, nutritional supplementation and changing the emphasis of our physical activity to be low impact on joints. When a particular joint becomes consistently painful as a result of Osteoarthritis or from a sports injury, acupuncture is a time-honored method of resolving pain and restoring normal range of motion.

When I started practice over ten years ago such claims would have would have caused a skeptical eyebrow to be raised within the medical community. Thanks to a number of studies, acupuncture for these kinds of conditions has entered the medical mainstream.

There are two more notable facts emerging from research. The first is that there have been studies using acupuncture for pain control in patients who were awaiting replacement of the hip and knee, who in spite of the advanced state of the disease received significant pain relief which in some cases alleviated the need for surgery and in more cases delayed the need for surgery which, given the lifespan of a replaced joint, can be a very important consideration.

And the second fact: acupuncturists have always recommended regular follow up visits in order to maintain or improve upon the progress made. This advice was confirmed by a study on chronic osteoarthritis of the knee carried out at the University of Maryland Medical School. In this study the group that had received acupuncture for the initial two-month period were further divided into a group that continued to have acupuncture one time per month for one year and a group that had no further treatment for a year. The first group either maintained or improved upon their initial gains in health whilst the non-treatment group showed a worsening of their pain scores.

Interested in learning more about acupuncture and your health?  Come to the Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond on Wednesday, October 24 for their Fall Open House in honor of National Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Day!  visit for details.

© 2012 Deborah Farley, L.Ac, CHHC, DOM

Deborah Farley is a licensed acupuncturist, naturopath and owner of the Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond, in Richmond, Virginia. She's a leading authority on using nutrition and Chinese medicine for treating symptoms and root causes of illness.  For additional resources to improve your health and wellness, visit or call 804.288.3927.