The word “arthritis” simply means inflammation of the joints. Symptoms include: pain and tenderness in the joints, inability to move a particular joint and stiff or swollen joints. There are many types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid spondylosis and spondylitis (the most common types).
In Spondylosis, the lining of the joint between the bones in the back (vertebrae becomes damaged so that there are bony overgrowths on the sides of the vertebrae. The nerve can be pinched by these overgrowths resulting in severe pain.
Chinese medicine looks at arthritis in a very different way than Western medicine. Depending on the individual, there may be several kinds of diagnoses, including kidney yin and yang deficiency, Liver chi congestion, spleen and lung chi (vital energy) deficiency. The pain may be caused or inflamed by what is called “external wind, stagnant blood” (if it is very severe), or dampness and congestion (which produced the swelling).
The practitioner must take the 12 pulses which represent the 12 energy channels within the body to determine which one of the above-mentioned diagnoses are the root of the problem. The therapy is to use acupuncture points and herbs which either strengthens the spleen or kidney yin and yang, remove dampness and congestion and/or dispel the stagnant blood; and herb points which “relieve” the surface and relieve inflammation.
Western medication for arthritis include Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Indocin, aspirin, and steroids. While these medications may relieve symptoms, they produce either undesirable side effects such as indigestion, severe stomach ulcers, disturbances in the blood, severe kidney damage and suppression of the immune system, especially if taken for a long period of time.
These are other holistic therapies such as Chinese Medicine which can relieve the symptoms and depending on the case, get rid of the root problem, without any side effects. They improve not only the condition of pain but the over-all health.
Once these energy channels are strengthened and corrected, the patient not only feels less or no pain, but feels his/her energy level and overall health improved. Other accompanying symptoms such as allergies, menstrual and stomach intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia, etc., also get cleared up. Some of these herbs include siler, acaranthes, eucommia, ginseng, stephania, clematis, tang kuei, chiang huo, peony, poria, tu huo and many more.
However, the success of the treatment is also dependent on the patient’s participation in the program which includes several dietary changes, (especially in the case of rheumatoid arthritis) and exercise as the patient gets better. Arthritis, as many people think, is not an incurable disease, if Chinese and other holistic therapies are used.