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TCM Treatment for Osteoarthritis

TCM Treatment for Osteoarthritis

                                                           ——Ma Kuang physician Li Hui Ping

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease involving articular cartilage and subchondral bone. It commonly affects hip, knee and spine. When bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage, bone may be damaged, leading to stiffness, pain, and decreased range of motion. Osteoarthritis is more common among females than males, especially after the age of 50 years. However, it can also be caused by trauma or underlying conditions in young adults.

 

Often, osteoarthritis in elderly is only mildly symptomatic and not progressive. Surgery is generally unnecessary. Treatment should focus on pain relief and functional rehabilitation. Significant improvement may be achieved in merely a month with herbal medicine, acupuncture and TuiNa.

 

Herbal Medicine (Oral)

Many patients use supplements such as glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin and Omega 3 fatty acids for joint pain, although the result is limited. TCM suggests combining herbs, such as eucommia bark ,common achyranthes,boswellia, myrrh, tumeric, winter cherry and dried ginger, to improve circulation and relax muscles.

 

Acupuncture

Acupuncturist often combines acupuncture and moxibustion, and places needles on following acupoints: XiGuan (LR7), YangLingQuan (GB34),  ZuSanLi (ST36), YinLingQuan (SP9), LiangQiu (ST34), XueHai (SP10) and direct trigger points. Acupuncture needling can unblock meridians, restore functions, improve circulation, facilitate osteoblast activities, and relieve pain.

 

TuiNa

TuiNa reduces muscle stiffness and increases range of motion. For example, TuiNa normalizes knee joint weigh bearing, reduces grinding, which can lead to instantaneous symptomatic relief. It is even beneficial in moderate to severe cases.

 

Precautions

Active exercise plays a crucial role in osteoarthritis rehabilitation. Regular exercises maintain flexibility and strengthen the joints. Although those with joint pain should consult a physician prior to exercise planning.  Those who are overweigh or obese should manage their weight by regular physical activity and diet. As their joints are subject to increased pressure, they are more susceptible to degeneration.

In conclusion:

  1.       Avoid long-term weight bearing
  2.       Keep joints warm with adequate sun exposure
  3.       Avoid traumatic injury
  4.       Use knee brace
  5.       Use walker if necessary to avoid overloading the knee joints
  6.       Supplementations, including protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, and vitamin C, E, and D.