Types of arthritis?

Arthritis could be divided into the following types according to their etiology.

1. Osteoarthritis (OA), is the most common form of joint disease involves progressive loss of articular cartilage and reactive changes at joint margins and in subchondral bone. It is a degenerative joint disease that seems almost inescapable in old age.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease of unknown etiology with a predilection for joint involvement. Articular inflammation may be remitting, but if continued usually results in joint damage and disability.

3. Others, such as Infectious Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, etc.

By location, arthritis could affect joints most commonly seen at hip joints, knee joints, elbow joints, spine joints, shoulder joints, toe/finger joints and hand/wrist joints.

Prognoses for arthritis?

Arthritis is characterized by joint pain, inflammation & a process leads to tissue permanent damage or bone deformity. What physicians aim for is a slowing down of the inflammatory process so that the joint cartilage and bone is left intact for as long as possible. To reduce inflammation, relief pain and slowing down the progress are the focus of treatment in most types of arthritis. Early treatment brings better prognoses than delayed treatment

Self-Management for arthritis?

Since arthritis has so many different types and stages, please consult your family doctor or health care provider to give advisories according to your condition. You may also call us at 233-0498 for a self-management advisory.

In general for osteoarthritis, keep your joints mobile while you are young, do some stretching exercises such as yoga (this can be kept up in old age,) and keep away from impact exercises without gradual increase of intensity. Avoid repeatedly cracking your knuckles or neck joints. Since osteoarthritis often appears at the site of an old injury, it is important that these be treated adequately.

How acupuncture treats arthritis?

Acupuncture treats arthritis in 3 ways.

  1. reducing inflammations
  2. relieving pain
  3. improving the microcirculation locally
  4. regulating the systemic imbalance

When the inflammation is controlled, the progress of bone & cartilage damage is then slowed down.

Since one thing that slows down the effectiveness of acupuncture is the use of strong drugs, especially long term use of cortisone, gold and penicillamine (a drug similar to gold,) it is advisable to seek acupuncture treatment early on, when your doctor is most likely to prescribe only a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, also known as NSAIDs, such as Aspirin, Celebrex or Ibuprofen. Acupuncture intervention is then more likely to succeed.

Is the acupuncture effect real or simply a placebo effect?

There are numerous experiments and researches done through out the decades suggesting that acupuncture stimulation desensitizes or reduces activation in the cortical areas that are believed to be involved with pain signal processing, acupuncture stimulation regulates hormone, endocrine & blood vessels activities to reduce pathological inflammation and acupuncture stimulation regulates neurotransmitters in brain activities.

Can acupuncture replace surgery?

That depends on the reasons for the surgery. If it’s for pain, acupuncture may be an alternative. If it’s for deformity, acupuncture cannot undo the deformity. Acupuncture is a symptomatic treatment, not an anatomical changing treatment. However, when the pain disappears, many patients and doctors feel that surgery is unnecessary and can be reserved as last resort.

Does it work for me?

Acupuncture treatment in pain relief and anti-inflammation has been proven effective and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institute of Health (NIH). It has been helping many patients with arthritis problems. It is certainly a reasonable natural modality that has its potential to help with least side effects. However, “It works for many” doesn’t equal to “it works for you”. As for you, there is only one way to find out…

How much does it cost?

We charge $85 per acupuncture session. There is a $45 initial consultation fee in addition to the treatment fee. All fees above are subject to change without notice. Please call 403-233-0498 for current rate.

Does Alberta Health Care Cover It?

Alberta Health Care does not cover acupuncture. However, most company benefits cover acupuncture when treatment is provided through a Registered Acupuncturist. You may contact human resources department or the insurance company for the details, including the coverage amount for each session, and a year, what the cut off day of the year is, if a medical referral is required etc..