Saturday, March 22, 2008

Acupuncture, Pain Relief, and Improved Functionality for Osteoarthritis Sufferers

If you've found this post, chances know what osteoarthritis is. Just the same, here's a short rundown on this impairment:

Osteoarthritis affects approximately twenty million Americans. In fact, osteoarthritis accounts for more than twenty-five percent of all primary care physician visits annually in the United States. Osteoarthrititis is a chronic disease, which is characterized by joint pain, swelling, stiffness, pain, joint deformities, and loss of joint mobility. There is no known cure for osteoarthritis; consequently most treatment are aimed at relieving symptoms and improving joint motion. Current medical standards suggest local cortisone injections, surgery, and a myriad of medications to control inflammation and pain.

Now, on to the point of this post:

Recently, more physicians are considering other alternative methods to treat the growing number of individuals who suffer from osteoarthritis (as the counntry ages, that means quite a few of us). For example, acupuncture has been gaining popularity among medical professionals. Several recent studies (including a study conducted at the University of Maryland in 2004) indicate that acupuncture (needles are placed at the point of pain and further along energetic pathways) provides both improved mobility and pain relief.

As our population ages and more people suffer the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis, alternative methods of treatment such as acupuncture are likely to become more popular due to improved results with fewer side affects than conventional treatment methods.

Of course, when we hear the phrase "alternative medicine", many of us are automatically inclined to think "quackery". And in a number of areas, that may be entirely fair. However...acupuncture seems to be the only alternative medicine therapy, to date, that is holding up to scrutiny, in the sense of having some degree of effectiveness that can be validated scientifically.

Here's the Mayo Clinic page on Acupuncture: Acupuncture: Can it help?

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