Arthritis means joint inflammation and is characterised as a rheumatism condition which involves aching, pain, stiffness and swelling in and around one or more joints at the hands and leg, usually the knee joint. Arthritis symptoms may develop gradually or suddenly and typically worsen with age. Some rheumatism conditions may also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body.
The most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Although arthritis is diagnosed more commonly among adults aged 65 years or older, it can also affect people of all ages (including children).
Severe cases of arthritis involving the joints of hands or leg may make it difficult for one to perform the normal daily tasks. It may even keep one from sitting up straight or walking comfortably. In certain cases, the joints may become twisted and deformed.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Following are the common signs and symptoms of arthritis involving the joints. The signs and symptoms may vary according to the type of arthritis you have.
- Decreased range of movement
Causes of Arthritis
There is no one cause attributed to arthritis. The likely causes may include:
- Abnormal metabolism
- Injury leading to degenerative arthritis
- Overactive immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Aging and thus weakening in the joints of the body
One common form of arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, is caused by the body attacking its own tissues. Legs are made up of several joints such as the hip, knee, ankle and the joints present in the toes. The immune system will attack the joints and other parts of the body. The symptoms produced will vary between individuals, often involving pain, fatigue and warm, swollen, inflamed-looking joints. The joints get inflamed causing pain that becomes acute upon exposure to cold weather. This condition is chronic and common among the elderly people though it may affect the young as well.
For Rheumatoid Arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a membrane that encloses all the part of the joints. This membrane then becomes inflamed and swollen. For severe cases, the disease process can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint.
Another common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to the catilage of the joints— the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones. Enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement. Such wear and tear can occur gradually over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection.
Natural Therapy for Treatment of Arthritis
The pain and limitations of treatment for arthritis sufferers, together with the risks of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, send many arthritis sufferers in search of alternative treatments, such as traditional Chinese remedies.
Practiced for more than 3,00 years since ancient times in China, Moxibustion is an important and integral part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The practice of moxibustion, a therapy used in traditional Chinese medicine, may safely relieve pain and improve function for arthritis sufferers from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Typically, moxibustion is a cross between acupressure and old-fashioned herbal methods. It involves the burning of moxa (the herb Artemisia vulgaris, also known as mugwort) at various acupoints (acupuncture meridian points) of the body.
In a clinical study among 110 patients with chronic knee osteoarthritis (KOA) pain, a 6-week course of moxibustion was performed. Overall, 83% of those involved reported an effective rate. Results from the therapy indicate effectiveness in relieving pain effectively and improving function in patients with KOA after the end of treatment.
In an interview with Medscape Medical News, independent commentator Jamie Starkey, LAc, lead acupuncturist at the Tanya I. Edwards Center for Integrative Medicine Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said:
“This study showed clinical significance of the reduction in pain scores for arthritis patients.”
In addition to providing relief for arthritis, this ancient moxibustion therapy also provides many accompanying therapeutic effects for menstrual cramps, strengthens and relive stiff neck and spine, stabilise irregular periods. The therapy is also commonly used to treat ailment related to dysmenorrhea, insomnia treatment.