Fall 08:Arthritis and Traditional Therapies

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It is a known fact that as we age, our bodies begin to breakdown from all the years of sports, raising children, and creating careers. That wear and tear becomes most evident when we begin to feel pain or discomfort in our joints and bones. This is oftentimes referred to as arthritis: the breakdown of muscle/bone tissue and loss of joint capsule fluid that allows for smooth movement between the articulating surfaces.

Pain medications, physical therapy, and joint replacement surgeries are three of the most common treatments we know are used for the management of arthritis but what about the traditional therapies we have always been curious about but were afraid to ask and try?

Therapeutic Massage therapy is a great way to start relieving the surrounding muscle tissue discomfort. The massage therapist should be state licensed and able to individualize the pressure to your tolerance level during soft, superficial Swedish style massage or deep tissue work.

Acupuncture has started to really come unto its own via Western medical research proving that “after 8 weeks of treatment, pain and joint function were improved more with acupuncture than with minimal acupuncture or no acupuncture in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.” (Acupuncture in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomised trial; Witt C, et al, Lancet. 2005 Jul 12;366(9480):136-43.) Acupuncture is excellent at affecting any and all joint pain and has been a successful form of international medicine for more than 2000 years.

Herbal Medicine, taken orally or applied topically, can also be incredibly helpful in decreasing inflammation. Herbal medicine can be accomplished within the Western herbal, naturopathic, or Traditional Chinese medicine styles. This is only a safe option when the prescription has been prepared and monitored by a licensed or extensively trained herbalist, and in conjunction with your primary physician. There are so many more treatment options for the management of arthritis pain before the need for surgery becomes inevitable!