Acupuncture for Arthritis

“A short note to express my gratitude for the progress you have made in the treatment of my hands for osteoarthritis.”
Mrs M - Bawdeswell

“I would wholeheartedly recommend the acupuncture treatment given to me by Stephen Ellis over the last few weeks for the relief of my arthritic and sciatic pain.”
Mrs G - North Walsham

“I have been treated by Stephen for eleven years for arthritis and other ailments. My family have too, and I would totally recommend him.”
Mrs S - Norwich

Osteo-Arthritis responds very well to acupuncture. I enjoy a great deal of success in helping to alleviate the pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness associated with this common disease. Obviously, I cannot cure the actual disease itself, but I help many people to effectively manage this troublesome condition.

Because the disease affects cartilage, arthritis may be present in any bone/joint – and is found commonly in much of the  population, where it can also be described as ‘wear and tear’ following diagnosis by x-ray. Earlier onset can occur in children onwards, but this form is less common.

Most people’s experience of arthritis is as a dull, occasional achy pain in one or more of their joints – which can develop into more acute and troublesome symptoms. When this happens, it’s fair to say the arthritis disease is active at this point, and it can usually be picked up through a blood test indicated by the presence of inflammatory markers. In most cases, this active phase of the disease is relatively short-lived, but the symptoms can linger for months afterwards, in the form of residual swelling and stubborn pain.

Acupuncture can help, not only to calm down the effects of an active arthritis episode, but also to clear up left-over symptoms when it eventually goes dormant. It can help in the following:

Neck pain

This is characterised by stiffness and sometimes pain upon turning the head from side to side. There can also be the presence of local inflammation and pain upon the vertebrae in the upper back and neck. The pain, either dull or sharp – can also refer into the shoulder blade and/or cap, into the upper arm and/or whole arm – and sometimes into the fingers.

These symptoms usually respond very favourably to a course of acupuncture, and in most cases I look to completely alleviate them during a course of 4-6 weekly treatments. Sometimes more are required, but mostly these can be spaced out at longer intervals.

Lower Back pain

Lower back ache may show as ‘lumbago’ – an ache across the whole lower back, or be just one sided – where it can refer into the buttock and leg as sciatica. Pain and stiffness may also be felt just locally upon the spine, in cases of wear and tear –or arthritis – on the spine.

Usually, 3-4 treatments are sufficient to produce a significant improvement in symptoms – if not to alleviate them. In more complex cases, more treatments may be required.

Shoulder pain

Symptoms caused from arthritic shoulders are usually located locally around the shoulder cap, and mostly refer down the front part of the upper arm as far as the Bicep, usually a dull ache. Sometimes, pins and needles and/or numbness can also be experienced down the arm, but more typically in the fingers or back of the hand.

I enjoy good success in treating these symptoms – and generally good relief can be achieved within 3-4 acupuncture treatments.

Hip pain

Arthritic hips usually present as a dull ache, locally upon the hip, but the symptoms can also refer into the groin, and also down the outside of the thigh into the front of the knee.

In the main, these symptoms respond well to a course of acupuncture, and generally between 4-6 treatments are required to ease them.

Knee joint

Arthritis typically attacks behind the knee cap, and so this is where the usual dull ache occurs – as well as commonly on the inside of the knee.

Again, I usually enjoy great success in treating painful and stiff knees, and the majority of cases require only 3-4 visits to ease the symptoms, although obviously more severe cases will require more, especially if there is swelling and redness on the kneecap present, or they are hot to touch. Sometimes people have trouble bending the knee back because of pain and stiffness. In these cases, I treat behind the knee, and then the front to assist in regaining movement.

It’s lovely to see people being able to straighten their legs out again, the relief is palpable.

Finger/Toe joints

In my experience, fingers and toes affected by Osteo Arthritis respond very favourably to a course of acupuncture. It can help reduce the swelling in these joints, calm pain and improve movement. Hands and feet are vital to leading an active life, and it pleases me to see people improve the quality of their lives once more.

Again, as a general guide, allow 3-4 treatments for simple cases, but allow more in more complex cases where swelling and inflammation may be present.

Plantar Fasciitus

Plantar Fasciitus (or Policemans heel) can be very painful, because in our everyday life, we are left with little choice other to walk – and on an area of inflammation this will of course hurt.

I usually achieve good results in treating this condition, and in mild cases, 3-4 visits is normally enough, but in more severe cases, allow between 4-8 treatments to calm things down.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is by its nature a very different disease, and I can help to minimise the side effects in mild cases, but in my experience, generally more severe cases are best treated by other means – whether conventionally or holistically.

Ankylosing Spondilitis

This is a degenerative condition of the spine, that can over time cause the vertebrae to fuse together. As can be imagined, the process can present various symptoms, including, inflamation, pain, stiffness, and tiredness.

As with any chronic degenerative condition, whilst the disease process is active, it is very difficult to achieve good and lasting results. So although acupuncture is very good at relieving inflammation for instance, if the disease is on-going, then although easier for a while, the symptoms are likely to return.

I am happy to see patients on this basis, but obviously, the treatment regime will need to be weekly, and for an extended period to have a proper effect and alongside conventional drug therapy.

Better results are acheived in patients for whom the disease is largely inactive or mild, because whatever the acupuncture achieves, is likely to remain longlasting.

I would usually recommend a course of between 6-12 treatments to be effective, and also top up treatments every 10 weeks to maintain the improvement.