Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, adjacent soft tissue and organs. Commonly affects women in middle age.
RA attacks joints on both sides of the body equally. The common areas are the wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles. Symptoms are morning stiffness, joint pain, sometimes numbness, tingling or burning in the hands and feet. Gradually nodules appear under the skin with destruction of the joints leading to deformity and disability. Other symptoms include chest pain when taking a breath (pleurisy), dry eyes and mouth, eye burning, itching, and discharge.
RA usually requires lifelong treatment and early treatment could decrease pain and damage, traditionally includes medications (most common is Methotrexate), physical therapy, exercise, education, and possibly surgery; however acupuncture has been found effective in treating RA as evidenced in the World Health Organization 2002 – Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trial.
I, myself suffered from RA since 2005 and was on Methotrexate for a few years. Being aware of the potential detrimental side effects to the body, I stopped the medicine and started acupuncture treatment. Within few months, the joint swelling and pain subsided. Since then I have been having acupuncture treatment on a weekly basis as a preventive measure.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is an autoimmune disease of the inflammation of the spine. The cause is unknown and occurrence within the family is not uncommon. The onset is usually in late adolescence and early adulthood and is more common in men.
Symptoms are morning stiffness and inflexibility of the back. When AS affects the rib cage, it makes the lung difficult to inflate. Other complications include eye inflammation (uveitits), compression fractures and distortion of the aortic valve caused by an inflamed aorta.
The disease has no cure, exercise helps and acupuncture can ameliorate some of the symptoms as published in World Health Organization 2002 – Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trial.
SPINAL DISC HERMIATION
Herniated Disc, Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc (PID) , Slipped Disc
A herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery discs between the vertebrae at the spine. The discs are pads that serve as “cushions” between the vertebral bodies that serve to minimize the impact of movement on the spinal column. Each disc is designed like a jelly donut with a central softer component (nucleus pulposus) encased within a tougher exterior fibres.
PID occurs when some of the softer “jelly” pushes out through a crack in the tougher exterior pressing against the spinal nerves which come out from the spinal cord through the holes between the vertebrae (intervertebral foramen) supplying the arms and the legs. A herniated disk can irritate nearby nerves resulting in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.
According to the World Health Organization 2002 – Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trial, acupuncture has been employed extensively in the treatment of PID.
The normal cycle of hair growth lasts between two to six years. Each hair grows approximately 1 centimetre (less than half an inch) per month. In the scalp, 90% of a hair’s life is in a growth phase. Two to three months after it ceases to grow, it falls out from the hair follicle while a new hair starts to grow. Hair loss (alopecia) can occur few months after pregnancy, medication, certain illness or a major surgery and is usually temporary.
There are two main types of alopecia, androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary permanent hair loss in that hair on the head thins and falls out and alopecia areata which is an autoimmune disorder and could be temporary. Acupuncture has been known traditionally to stop the progress of the hair loss and help the re-growth of the hair in the latter type.