Can Physiotherapy And Acupuncture Therapy Help In Arthritis Management?

Splinting of joints may be helpful, especially for patients who have regular flare-ups due to rheumatoid arthritis.

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograPublished at: Sep 27, 2020Updated at: Sep 27, 2020
Can Physiotherapy And Acupuncture Therapy Help In Arthritis Management?

Arthritis is one of the most prevalent non-communicable diseases in India. Although the term means joint inflammation, it is used to describe several conditions that affect the joints, the tissues surrounding the joints, and other connective tissue disorders. Amongst the various joint afflictions, osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease. Osteoarthritis affects the whole joint, including the bone, cartilage and ligaments. The second primary form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition where the immune mechanism ends up attacking the healthy tissues/cells in the body (which is supposed to be protected by immune mechanism). 

Can physiotherapy and diet therapy help in the management of arthritis?

Dr SELVAM A (Chief Physiotherapist, Jindal Naturecure Institute), states that, "the most common symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, and discomfort with mobility in the affected joints. Medication alone is not enough to control the symptoms and progression of arthritis. Physiotherapy is often recommended to improve mobility and re-establish the function of affected joints. Physiotherapists can study how the disease affects the joints and muscles and suggest appropriate therapies to manage the condition."

Also read: Acupuncture for the Body

  • Improving fitness: Staying active is essential in relieving the symptoms of arthritis.
  • Patients often tend to think that exercise will worsen the Pain and cause more damage to the joints.

  • However, joints are meant to move, and the muscles surrounding them become progressively weaker if one does not exercise them.
  • This causes joint instability, which further reduces the mobility of joints. Exercise increases the fitness levels, help to lose weight, improving general mobility, and making the patient more self-confident. 

  • Diet also plays a crucial role in fighting inflammation and improving joint symptoms.
  • Multiple studies confirm the benefits of adding nuts in an anti-inflammatory diet.
  • They also promote weight loss because the fibre, protein and inflammation-fighting monosaturated fats in nuts are satiating.
  • It is also essential to include more fruits and vegetables in the diet as they are rich in antioxidants.
  • Anthocyanins found in cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, and getting the right amount of vitamin C in the diet helps prevent inflammatory arthritis and maintain healthy joints.
  • Consuming vitamin K-rich vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, lettuce, and cabbage reduces inflammatory markers in the blood. 

Role of Acupuncture for arthritic Pain

  • Research has also suggested that acupuncture is beneficial for people who have rheumatoid arthritis, although the pain relief experienced depends on the severity of the condition.
  • The acupuncturist will insert needles, stimulated manually or by an electrical current, on the skin at meridian and sub meridian points to reduce inflammation, relax the muscles, and increase blood flow to affected joints.
  • This procedure also releases endorphins and encephalins, which helps reduce the intensity of pain. The needles are fragile, and having them inserted in the skin is not painful, and might feel a tingling or heaviness at the insertion site, which is a good sign.
  • Acupuncture is an excellent option for patients who cannot tolerate drugs. If there are other underlying conditions, get the go-ahead from the treating physician before deciding to go for acupuncture treatment.

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