What sort of painful joint problems can acupuncture help?
I suppose the most common condition I see in the clinic is low back pain. It can be related to something specific like heavy lifting or too many hours spent gardening but sometimes there isn’t an obvious cause. For many people, it’s just something that has got worse with time. Symptoms can travel down the leg giving sciatica type pain. IT’s the type of pain that can lower your mood, affects everyday life and your ability to sleep comfortably.
What other joints can it help?
The most commonly affected joints I seen in the clinic are elbows, knees and shoulders. Tennis elbow is a classic condition that I often see. It is caused by muscle strain or repetitive actions rather than just over-enthusiastic tennis matches! Knees can puff up and become painful overnight, toe joints can become swollen and ache even when wearing flat comfortable shoes, and it doesn’t always take a slip or trip to cause the initial complaint.
Most people who come along just know they have a painful joint which isn’t responding to rest and the usual anti-inflammatory medication. They may not know the cause or the technical name but get great improvement with acupuncture.
What happens next?
The basis of treatment is to identify the type of pain, its location, what makes it feel better and how intense it is. All these factors are helping form a traditional Chinese diagnosis so the best treatment principles can be used. Treatment will include a variety of techniques such as moxibustion, gua sha, cupping as well as needling specific acupuncture points.
The aim of treatment is to get the whole body back into balance targeting the specific areas of pain getting the body to heal itself.
Using acupuncture to treat pain
Yes! Acupuncture can be used to reduce pain and inflammation from arthritis. Recent trials to treat arthritis of the knee were carried out at Southampton University where the results were found to be very promising.
That’s good. Chiropractors and osteopaths can correct misaligned vertebra. Acupuncture works by reducing inflammation and treating the pain you are experiencing.
You will need to wait at least a month after the effects of the steroid injection have worn off before starting your course of acupuncture treatment. If you take steroid tablets, there is no need to wait as you can start acupuncture right away.