From the category archives:

arthritis

Acupuncture better than surgery?

by Ed

Drug companies and other companies that have something to gain, are good at twisting research to make you believe what they want you to believe. If they can do it, so can I!

First a study on acupuncture from 2004. It was a very large and rigorous study that showed acupuncture is effective in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. The acupuncture group had 40% less pain and nearly 40% better function than either the sham acupuncture (placebo) group or the control group.

“For the first time, a clinical trial with sufficient rigor, size, and duration has shown that acupuncture reduces the pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee,” said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. “These results also indicate that acupuncture can serve as an effective addition to a standard regimen of care and improve quality of life for knee osteoarthritis sufferers. NCCAM has been building a portfolio of basic and clinical research that is now revealing the power and promise of applying stringent research methods to ancient practices like acupuncture.”

Next a study shows that orthoscopic surgery is no better than placebo in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. So, you see acupuncture is better than surgery for pain.

Disclaimer: In the interests of honesty and integrity, my last statement was obviously a huge leap. And orthopedic experts find fault with the study on knee surgery. They say most of the patients chosen would not have been good candidates fo the study any way.

So, assuming the “experts” are right, what do we learn here? Well obviously, acupuncture is effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain. What I find interesting though, is that the placebo effect is so powerful. Why aren’t they studying that? Everyone in healing professions, including surgeons, should be learning how to enhance the placebo effect. Mostly, science is trying to discount it. Apparently it is the most potent healer.

A quick note on Tai Chi

by Ed

I found this in Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter, from February, 2001:

A recent study looked at 33 arthritic adults aged 49 to 81, who either did or did not take a three month tai chi program. Participants in the hour long, twice weekly class said they were better able to manage disease symptoms and enjoyed better health. By doing these slow, flowing motions, arthritic patients reported significant improvements in their flexibility, mobility, and ability to bend and do household tasks. (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, December, 2000)

Arthritis and Rheumatism

by Ed

Back to talking about the cold damp weather, many people find their aches and pains are worse in the Winter. One of the statements of fact in Chinese Medicine is, “When qi (energy) is flowing, there is no pain. Where there is pain, qi is not flowing.” Cold damp weather tends to make the qi sluggish. It also makes us sluggish, which makes the qi more sluggish. So one of the first steps when you have pain is to keep moving. It may be a good idea to consult with a qualified health professional, if you do not have an exercise program, before you start. Tai chi is one of the best forms of exercise, particularly for older people. It is gentle, yet powerful in its effects. Research has proven it to be an excellent way to prevent osteoporosis, and to slow its progress. From the Chinese point of view, not only does it relax the body and move all the joints, but the particular movements encourage the free flow of qi throughout the body.

Diet can also be helpful for arthritis and rheumatism. It’s best to eat warming foods rather than cooling foods. Ice cream should definitely be avoided. Dairy products aggravate damp conditions and ice cream is obviously cold. Other foods to be avoided include the nightshade family: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers. For many people they are not a big problem, so the best thing to do is to go off them entirely for about a month, then add them back in, one at a time, and notice if they aggravate your symptoms. Many people also find that sugar aggravates painful conditions. Lastly oily, fatty foods can aggravate damp related conditions. One exception being the omega 3 oils found in fish and flax seeds. Omega 3 oils actually have anti-inflammatory action. Taken in large quantities, ginger also can relieve pain. It can also thin the blood, though so consult your doctor if you are on blood thinners or have a blood disorder.

Have an active pain free Winter.