Monday, March 23, 2015

Is It Worth Accepting an Ancient Chinese Remedy For Arthritis Pain?

Millions of Americans suffer from arthritis; the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both of these forms, as well as more uncommon ones such as fibromyalgia, result in debilitating pain, stiffness, loss of mobility, and in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, redness, swelling in multiple joints, and tenderness of the affected joints. Arthritis can be a disabling disease, and the disability becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: moving causes pain, so the patient stops moving as much, and consequently it becomes harder and harder to move at all, resulting in a partial or total disability.

Arthritis is the disease defined by chronic joint inflammation, scarring, cartilage loss, drying up of the synovial fluids, swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and pain. Severe pain. There are currently one hundred known forms of the disease, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common. Osteoarthritis is associated with aging; the wear and tear on joints as we move gradually wears away cartilage and dries up the synovial fluid. Osteoarthritis generally occurs after age 50, but it can have an early onset if a joint is injured or suffers an infection. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder; the immune system goes haywire, and the body attacks the joint tissue as a foreign invader. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks joints bilaterally; osteoarthritis generally affects one side of the body, but rheumatoid arthritis will affect the joints in pairs. Fibromyalgia is also a form of arthritis; it is characterized by chronic, intense pain over the entire body, with muscles in continuous spasm. Fibromyalgia is also an autoimmune disorder. The causes of arthritis are not known, and there is no known cure in the Western medical world.

Ancient Chinese Medicine, or Traditional Chinese Medicine
Arthritis is not a new condition; it has existed for as long as humans, so the ancient Chinese medical practitioners developed natural treatments to both prevent it from occurring and to relieve it if a patient did develop the condition. Ancient Chinese practitioners would often develop custom therapies for patients, as arthritis can be as individual as the person suffering from arthritis, but over time they developed thirty-one common treatments very effective against the disease. Ancient Chinese Medicine, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, is based on natural plants and herbs, and on therapies such as acupuncture. Acupuncture relies on the concept of blocking or unblocking Qi. The Chinese consider the body to have energy meridians, and disease results from blood or Qi being blocked along meridians. Using needles, the Chinese practitioner blocks the flow along one meridian or set of meridians, or unblocks another meridian or set of meridians, to balance the flow of blood and Qi. Whether or not you accept the philosophy behind acupuncture, it has been proven to be effective as a treatment option.

Well, this depends on the individual involved. If a person is totally allopathic-based, he or she would most likely consider an ancient Chinese remedy to be quackery, even though there are thousands of years of effectiveness behind the therapy. If the individual is open-minded, and suffers from arthritis pain, he or she may be open to the idea. An individual committed to an alternative form of medical therapy would embrace the idea, no questions asked. Anyone suffering from arthritis joint pain should seriously consider trying arthritis remedies from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Allopathic studies have proven the effectiveness of these remedies, most specifically the remedy based on 'thunder god vine.' This remedy was compared to methotrexate, to determine which was more effective on rheumatoid arthritis. Interestingly, a combination of the two was found to be the most effective, but thunder god vine by itself was proven more effective than methotrexate alone. This is a case where integrative medicine was proven more effective than allopathic alone or alternative alone, although the alternative was more effective by itself than the allopathic.

Is it worth trying? Anyone in arthritis pain is looking for something to relieve it, preferably without a lot of unpleasant side effects. It makes sense, therefore, for the patient to look at all options available to them in the quest for relief. TCM should not be tried by an individual; it requires the knowledge of a TCM provider, much as allopathic medicine requires the assistance of a doctor. There are many treatments in both disciplines you can try on your own, but you need to be aware of drug interactions and side effects, and you will need to gain this knowledge from a certified practitioner. So the answer is yes - it is worth trying. Anything relieving pain from a chronic disease is worth a look.

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