How does acupuncture work?
It is thought that acupuncture alters the way the brain and spinal cord processes pain. Certain acupuncture points have been shown to deactivate parts of the brain that deal with the perception of pain. Acupuncture also stimulates the release of endorphins and natural opioids, which have pain relieving and anti inflammatory properties. It reduces local inflammation and swelling by increasing microcirculation and promoting the release of vascular and immune enhancing factors. It relaxes tight muscles and trigger points which contribute to pain in the surrounding muscle tissue.
Diet and lifestyle
A well-balanced diet is vital when you have arthritis. Not only will you ensure your body has a good supply of essential nutrients, but you will be better able to maintain a healthy body weight. Many people find that losing a few pounds has improved pain management by reducing the stress placed on weight bearing joints.
You should ensure that you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and keep sugary and processed foods to a minimum. Omega 3 oils have been shown to give some relief from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This can be take either in the form of a good quality fish or krill oil supplement or by eating two portions of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and fresh tuna a week.