Can Acupuncture Help Treat Arthritis?

Acupuncture for Arthritis Relief

Arthritis is a condition that manifests as joint pain and inflammation, which can affect many areas throughout the entire body. With the help of acupuncture treatments, many people manage the pain and see a vast improvement in the way their body functions. Acupuncture works to balance a person’s energy flow through the body, also known as “qi.” When this energy is flowing properly, the body experiences less illness.

Acupuncture can help relieve pain in three different ways:

  • Causing the body to produce endorphins, aka the feel-good chemicals that decrease the perception of pain.
  • Blocking the nervous system from sending pain signals to the brain.
  • Deactivating tender trigger points to allow the muscles to relax and decrease inflammation.

Common Forms of Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis hand pain


Osteoarthritis is considered the “wear-and-tear” type of arthritis. Over time, joints age and the cartilage that protects the space between the bones and joints start to wear down. This can cause the bones to rub together and create pain and inflammation in the joint. Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include, limited range of motion, grinding sensation in the joints, stiffness, and pain in the joints, tenderness, or formation of bone spurs around the joints. The demographics who are most often affected are those over 55 or who are obese. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis can strike at any age. It is an autoimmune disease that can cause pain and inflammation in multiple joints in the body. It doesn’t only affect the joints, but also tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue. It is typically symmetrical, meaning if one hip is affected, so is the other. Rheumatoid arthritis has similar symptoms as osteoarthritis such as limited range of motion and joint pain or stiffness and may also include fatigue, loss of appetite, and redness of the affected area. 

Arthritis Relief with Acupuncture

There have been many studies completed on the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of arthritis, and results show that it can help manage the symptoms. A study done by the US National Institutes of Health showed that patients who received acupuncture treatments reported an average of 40% improvement in mobility and a 44% reduction in pain.

Some patients find that they get the most relief when they use acupuncture with other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments. In some cases, patients combine Traditional Chinese Medicine with standard drug therapy used in Western methods of treating arthritis. A study conducted by Dr. Brian Berman of the University of Maryland School of Medicine tested 570 different patients of the average age of 65 with osteoarthritis, specifically in the knee. In addition to their standard care of pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications, the patients were either treated with acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or a self-help course for managing pain. Upon completion of this 26-week trial, the patients who received acupuncture saw overall pain reduction by about 40% and improved function by 40% as well. 

What to Expect

During your initial visit with Lotus Studio Acupuncture, a consultation will be completed so that everyone is on the same page regarding what issues to address and how the treatment will go. 

Acupuncture uses exceptionally tiny needles that are smaller than a strand of hair. The treatment points where the needles get inserted are located all over the body. Your acupuncturist may insert needles along your arms, shoulder, legs, or toes. Sometimes the needles will be directly on the affected area, and other times they may be near it. Upon insertion, it is not likely that you will notice any discomfort though you may feel a deeper aching sensation. You can expect the needles to remain in place anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Removing the needles is unlikely to cause any pain. 

Contact Lotus Studio Acupuncture

If you suffer from arthritis, contact Lotus Studio Acupuncture today to find out how we can help. Our highly experienced acupuncturists are available to answer any questions you have about our variety of services. Call us at 303-882-6169 or click here to make an appointment now.