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Aching Bones – Arthritis

Dec 16, 2010 | Health - Conditions

Does Acupuncture Treat Aching Bones or Arthritis?

By Jill Ellen Smith L.Ac., M.Ac.
For the Howard County Women’s Journal

Spring is here. The air is less dense. The birds sound more active.  Listen, and you will hear the difference. You will hear water dripping down rain spouts on a crystal clear afternoon — melting snow and ice.

The movement of life is happening. Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) on the move. Where life seemed silent, cold, and lifeless in winter it begins to sing a new tune right about now.

Oftentimes this new burst of movement—as the qi rises through our bodies and nature around us — can aggravate aching joints, tendons, and muscles. We begin that heavier spring cleaning and gardening, and with it may come the sore backs, hips, hands, knees, etc.

Arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even Rheumatoid arthritis, will often flare up in this season. In the December 21st issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, a landmark study was reported upon, declaring with statistical significance, the effectiveness of acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee. Knee osteoarthritis affects nearly 10% of people over age 55.

Acupuncture is not only a less expensive and safer intervention for arthritis it also impacts on many other levels of functioning. Through acupuncture treatment for arthritis, patients experience (in addition to pain relief), improvement of sleep, movement, mood, overall physical capacity.

As you may recall from my previous articles, acupuncture is the quintessential holistic medicine (and has been so for thousands of years).

It is about removing the blocks and obstructions of qi that cause the disorders we experience. In the process of restoring a freer flow of qi, and rebalancing the body, one experiences profound shifts in body, mind, and spirit.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, arthritis is known as Painful Obstruction Syndrome, and it is treatable. If caught early enough, it can possibly completely resolve the symptoms. If the disease is longer standing, and chronic, and has already caused damage to joints, then acupuncture can still significantly reduce the symptoms and improve functioning.

Different arthritic presentations will be diagnosed and treated in varying ways. Of significance are factors like if the pain moves from one joint to another, or if swelling occurs, or if the joints are cold or hot, or if the condition is aggravated by damp and cold conditions. Each variation is significant and treated differently. The underlying premise is the same however, because arthritis is characterized by obstruction, and acupuncture moves obstructions.


“After months of physical therapy and pain medication, it was the combination of acupuncture and lifestyle guidance from Jill Ellen that has best benefited my back and neck problems. As a scientist I thought it might be hard to “accept” the concept of acupuncture. However, as I learned more from Jill Ellen, the techniques make sense and the results cannot be ignored.”

M. Riley, Towson, Maryland

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