A degenerative joint disease characterized by destruction of the articular cartilage of synovial joint, osteoarthritis is one of the debilitating diseases that can lead to significant decline in the quality of life. It’s the commonest form of joint inflammation and mostly affects the small joints of the hands, the knee, and the hip joints. Many risk factors have been linked to the development of osteoarthritis, these include: ageing, obesity, previous injury to the joint, family history of osteoarthritis, etc.
Pain, swelling, warmth, and reduced range of movement across the affected joint are the common features of osteoarthritis. Treatment of knee osteoarthritis has traditionally been with the use of analgesic/anti-inflammatory drugs, intra-articular injection of corticosteroid, modification of risk factors, and lastly surgical interventions. However, each of these treatment modalities come with its own demerit and some of the surgical interventions are not readily accessible.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture have been in use for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis for hundreds of years and the results have shown significant advantages over the use of analgesic/anti-inflammatory drugs. These herbal medicines have been found to significantly reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, halt/slow down the progression of the disease, prevent disability and thus, improve the patients’ quality of life. TCM also provides a long lasting effect as compared to the short term relief offered by the analgesics.
One of the major side effects of analgesic/anti-inflammatory drugs used for the treatment of osteoarthritis is the induction/exacerbation of acid peptic disease but in contrast, traditional Chinese medicines have been found to be free from this adverse effect. Also due to its effect in slowing down the progression of the disease and preventing disability, TCM reduces the need for surgical intervention in patients suffering from knee arthritis.
The use of TCM and acupuncture for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis will go a long way in reducing patients’ suffering, protecting them from side effects of analgesics and significantly improving their quality of life.
Healthcmi.com. Acupuncture Beats Drugs For Knee Pain And Inflammation. 01 MARCH 2017 Link