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An Alternative to Suffering with Arthritis

It hurts to get up in the morning. Climbing the stairs isn't as easy as it used to be. Every once in a while, you swear you can hear your joints popping or creaking. Your rings don't fit anymore. Your general mobility is limited, and worse, it's making you depressed. Why? You have arthritis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 70 million Americans have some form of arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability among people 65 years or older. With no real cure, arthritis management usually consists of simply taking drugs to manage inflammation and pain . Yet many of the drugs prescribed for arthritis have unwanted side effects or don't effectively manage pain . Because of this, more and more patients are seeking a natural cure for arthritis such as acupuncture or herbs. For arthritis sufferers, any relief is welcome. Luckily, acupuncture is such an effective form.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in 1998 that the most frequent users of acupuncture are patients with chronic pain , such as arthritis. Furthermore, the FDA estimates that Americans with arthritis and other chronic pain conditions spend up to half a billion dollars per year on acupuncture. Arthritis sufferers have found new hope that a natural cure for arthritis will outshine Western medicine's offerings.

Acupuncture consists of the gentle insertion and stimulation of thin, disposable sterile needles at strategic points near the surface of the body. By stimulating specific areas of the body that are critical for the flow of blood and internal energy, acupuncture can prevent and alleviate pain and disease.

By increasing blood flow, acupuncture reduces the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Acupuncture also releases endorphins in the brain, which act as both natural pain relievers and mood elevators.

In a study of 48 patients with rheumatoid arthritis , patients received a combination of acupuncture and massage therapy for pain relief. Over 91 percent of the group said the treatment was effective in relieving symptoms of arthritis.

A natural cure for arthritis , its ability to increase blood flow and release endorphins makes acupuncture effective at combating such symptoms of arthritis as depression, fatigue and trouble sleeping.

With effects that can last up to 72 hours after treatment, acupuncture can strengthen the body's immune system, thus greatly reduce problems caused by arthritis. Taken with herbs for arthritis , symptoms can be greatly reduced.

According to Marly Wexler, a licensed acupuncturist and faculty member at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, " Acupuncture can change the body chemically. It improves the body's ability to detoxify itself."

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis , the body's immune system incorrectly attacks the natural membrane around the joints and replaces it with scar tissue, which creates narrowed joint spaces and often crippling pain . By strengthening and rebalancing the immune system, acupuncture can halt as well as prevent this process.

In 1980, the World Health Organization endorsed acupuncture arthritis treatment as a natural cure for arthritis symptoms, and in 1993, the National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on Acupuncture stated, "The data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies. One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse side effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other medical procedures used for the same conditions."

Some of the most popular drugs for arthritis are non-steroidal, anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), which often cause digestive problems and can actually impair the body's ability to generate cartilage tissue. There are no such side effects with acupuncture . Arthritis sufferers don't need any more pain . Herbs for arthritis can also work wonders and produce little to no side effects.

"Medications don't strengthen the body," Wexler said. "Even if it has short-term or even long-term effects, they reduce the body's strength."

Though one out of every three Americans has or will have arthritis, they don't need to suffer needlessly. They need to try herbs for arthritis and acupuncture. Arthritis patients can now live a life unhindered by pain .

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