The two most common type of arthritis are Osteoarathritis (OA) and Rheumatiod arthritis (RA).
OA is the most common type of arthritis, affecting more than 21million North Americans. It is a condition of the breaking down of the cartilage between the joints of the hips, hands, knees, low back or neck.
Some risk factors can increase the chances of getting it: including joints injury, overweight, aging, over usage by a repetitive motion and genetics.
RA is a chronic condition of inflammation of the lining of the joints. It can lead to long-term damage of the joint and loss of movement. It often starts in the hands or feet, and affects the same joints on both sides of the body. Symptoms of RA can include a swollen and tender joints, stiffness, fatigue, flu-like symptoms like fever, muscle pain and weakness.
From the Chinese Medicine's perspective, arthritis, whether it is OA or RA, is caused by a combination of two or more of the following conditions of the body. Generally, there is a constitutional imbalance of the body because of a weakness or deficiency of one or more internal organs. This results in a decrease in quantity and quality of Qi (vital energy), causing a blockage or inadequate flow of Qi in the respective meridians. The condition is triggered or worsened by physical injury or trauma, invasion from external factors such as wind, cold, damp and heat, and unresolved emotional upset related to stress and anxiety. Every arthritis patient would have a unique combination of the causes that caused his or her arthritis. As a TCM practitioner, we will take a physical exam and detailed health history to determine the body's imbalances, found out the organ(s) and meridians that are involved in causing that imbalance, so that we can supplement the deficient aspects, eliminate the accumulated cold or dampness or heat and move the stagnated Qi in the respective meridians.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has proven to be very effective in treating a lot of arthritis patients, both in easing the pain and mobilizing the joints and muscles. A holistic or whole-body approach is employed, so there is no adverse side effect from the using of these Chinese medication. Other than acupuncture and herbal formulas, Tui Na (a TCM massage therapy), cupping and moxa will also be applied depending on the body condition. We will also recommend some self massage methods, stretching exercises, lifestyle and diet changes to help you find relief faster and to stay away from triggers of the attack.
Although there is no quick fix for arthritis, we will work closely with you to let you take charge of your arthritis, and take a step toward a healthier and pain free life.