Arthritis means inflammation of the joints and according to Arthritis Care it affects over nine million people of all ages in the UK. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Acupuncture can be used alongside western medicine to help ease the pain of arthritis sufferers. A study into osteoarthritis of the knee has found that acupuncture can both relieve pain and improve movement:
‘Acupuncture patients showed a 40% decrease in pain and a nearly 40% improvement in knee function’.
Dr. Madeleine Devey of the Arthritis Research campaign states on the BBC’s Health site that:
‘It is extremely encouraging to see a well conducted clinical trial on a complementary therapy for OA that demonstrates a positive effect.’
A German study published in ‘Arthritis and Rheumatism’ compared the experience of 357 patients given acupuncture. The benefits were measured on the WOMAC scale which measures pain, stiffness and mobility. Before treatment the patient’s scores were about 50. After 3 months and 15 treatments, those treated had WOMAC scores of about 30. These trials were carried out alongside normal care.
These studies are really encouraging and show how acupuncture can play a part in alleviating the constant pain suffered by many arthritis sufferers. A testimonial, kindly given by one of my own patients, follows:
‘In February 2005, I was discharged from hospital with an immobility problem.
Although, this improved slightly by exercise, I was only able to walk using 2 sticks.
About 18 months ago arthritis attacked my knees which was very painful. The beginning of 2008 the arthritis moved to my arms, hands, thumbs and neck. The pain factor was so severe that I was taking 2 paracetamol 4 times a day (this being the maximum dose).
In desperation I turned to The Mitchell Hill Clinic. The first treatment gave me immediate relief for 3 or 4 days then the pain started to return. The next treatment a week later once again gave me respite for a few days. After each treatment the pain factor improved tremendously, so much so I started to reduce the number of paracetamol I was taking. At the end of a month Paul Adkins suggested that I did not have treatment for 2 weeks. I was concerned that the pain would return, but did as was suggested and found the pain was reduced for 10 days.
Subsequently, the amount of treatment has been left for a month, I sometimes only take paracetamol once a day, but usually it is twice a day. Needless to say I am very impressed with the treatment received from The Mitchell Hill Clinic.’ D Hollis