Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) & Medical Acupuncture
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): What is it?
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a long-term and progressive Autoimmune Disease. It causes inflammation, swelling and pain in and around the joints as well as in other organs of the body.
Initially, Rheumatoid Arthritis usually affects the arms and legs, but it might manifest in any other joint. It typically involves the same joints on both sides of the body.
It is well known that it may cause joint deformity, chronic disability and be accompanied by juxta-articular manifestations as a result of various tissues and organs being affected. It is a chronic, typically lifelong disease with a highly variable course.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Symptoms
Common symptoms include stiff joints, especially when one wakes up in the morning or sits for a while. Some people frequently experience fatigue and a general feeling of sickness. The Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network estimates that the disease affects up to 1% of the world’s population and over 1,3 million people in the USA.
It is also a systemic disease which means that it affects the whole body. It manifests when one’s Immune System considers healthy body tissues to be foreign invaders. As the Immune System responds, inflammation occurs in the target tissue or organ. In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, this may be the joints, the lungs, the eyes and the heart.
The symptoms of this specific condition include: pain, swelling and stiffness in more than one joint with a symmetrical participation of joints and in some cases their deformity.
Instability when walking and a general feeling of sickness are not rare as well as fever, loss of function and mobility, weight loss and weakness. The symptoms tend to come and go. During remission, they are likely to disappear or be mild.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): What happens during an outbreak?
However, during an outbreak, the symptoms are likely to be severe. No one knows what causes the Immune System to malfunction. Some people seem to have genetic factors that make them more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis. One theory is that bacteria or a virus trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis in people who have this genetic feature.
In Rheumatoid Arthritis, Immune System’s antibodies attack the Synovial Membrane which is the smooth coating of the joint. When that happens, pain and inflammation occur. Eventually, if there is no treatment, it may invade and destroy the cartilage and the connective tissue of joints of the peripheral limbs. Tendons and ligaments holding the joint can also weaken and stretch.
The damage in joints, caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis, potentially makes it difficult to carry out daily activities. Rheumatoid Arthritis may also be unpredictable. Often, a person does not know when inflammation occurs. Such an uncertainty might lead to depression, stress and significant work difficulties.
Medical Acupuncture in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
The systematic review of research finds that Acupuncture is a method applied on patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis for its symptoms as well as for the underlying health of the organism which is also disturbed.
According to the Report by the American National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), researchers conclude that Acupuncture in combination with Herbal Therapy and herbal remedies has particularly satisfactory results. In many cases, even comparable to conventional methods and the use of non-prescribed drugs.
One more benefit of Acupuncture is its proven effect on the Immune System, fostering its proper function and reducing inflammations and oxidations of the body, two important elements in the basis of autonomic mechanisms.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Medical Acupuncture
In conclusion, it has become clear that Medical Acupuncture (Acupuncture practiced by specialized Doctor – Acupuncturists) works effectively in:
- Reducing inflammation
- Relaxing the body
- Increasing blood circulation
Since Rheumatoid Arthritis causes inflammation in joints and this inflammation may provoke pain, Medical Acupuncture is an effective complementary treatment for relieving the symptoms.