The immune system produces antibodies that attach to the linings of joints. Immune system cells then attack the joints, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. If untreated, rheumatoid arthritis gradually causes permanent joint damage. Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis can include various oral or injectable medications that reduce immune system overactivity.
· Morning stiffness lasting more than 30 minutes
· Swelling, tenderness, decreased range of motion, and warmth in more than one joint
· Low-grade fevers, loss of appetite, and fatigue
· Arthritis on both sides of the body
· At least one positive blood test
· Arthritis affects small joints in the hands, wrist, or feet
· Symptoms last for at least six weeks
· An imaging scan shows signs of cartilage erosion and narrowing joint spaces
How to Test for RA:
Diagnosing RA may be difficult in the early stages. This is because symptoms may be very mild, and signs of the disease may not be seen on X-rays or in blood tests. Your healthcare provider will take your medical history and give you a physical exam. Tests may also be done, such as:
X-ray. This test uses a small amount of radiation to create images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
Joint aspiration. A small fluid sample is taken from a swollen joint for this test. It is done to look for signs of infection or gout.
Nodule biopsy. Tiny tissue samples are taken to look at under a microscope. This helps to check for cancer or other abnormal cells.
Blood tests. These tests are done to find specific antibodies, called rheumatoid factor, cyclic citrullinated antibody, and other signs of RA.
Ultrasound or MRI. These imaging tests can look for bone damage and inflammation.
Treatments Offered by Acupuncture:
There is no cure for RA. The goal of treatment is often to limit pain and inflammation and help ensure function.
Patients are often frustrated with the lack of relief provided by Western Medicine and often turn to alternative and complementary treatments, including Acupuncture, to manage their symptoms. In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Rheumatoid Arthritis is thought to be caused by the invasion of wind, cold, dampness, and heat. It is diagnosed according to the characteristics of how the symptoms are presented in the joints of the body.
If the pain and swelling come and go and travel from one area to another, the cause is wind. If the affected area is red or hot, with early morning stiffness, heat is to blame. If the joints are typically cold, pale, and stiff, with symptoms worse in the cold weather, cold weather is to blame. And if you’re experiencing swelling and heaviness, stiffness, and restricted movements of the joints, often worse in the damp, humid, and hot weather, dampness is the culprit. These patterns often appear in a combo and appear in various ways depending on the stage of RA. And are prone to affect the proper functioning of the organs, including the liver, kidney, spleen, and blood and overall energy (qi) levels.
Acupuncture can work at a deep level by promoting blood flow and movement to unblock any energy blockages and stagnation that may be causing the swollen, inflamed feeling about which many patients complain. Acupuncture provides many therapeutic benefits: it alleviates joint pain, reduces inflammation and swelling, provides relaxation to the body, and promotes general anesthesia and lessened pain by stimulating the release of endorphins — the body’s natural pain killers.
Acupuncture works deeply on the peripheral and central nervous systems affecting the immunological, neurological, hormonal, and psychological systems. Acupuncture patients report a great deal of relief with the associated inflammation, swelling, and pain attributed to RA. If you are experiencing any of these uncomfortable symptoms, Acupuncture is a good adjunct therapy to help manage your discomfort. Additionally, Acupuncture strengthens the immune system to help prevent any other associated illnesses and balance the nervous system to relax the body and mind while helping minimize the associated stress without any harmful side effects that prescription medications often cause.
At Gulf Coast Acupuncture and Fertility, we are here to help you feel better. Our office is minutes away from the Pensacola International Airport and is very accessible from the I-10. Book your appointment today. (850) 331-9991