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  • Writer's pictureCraig Amrine L.Ac.

Acupuncture for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Are you one of the folks who continue to dream of pushing themselves as a fighter, runner, hiker, or skier long after their knees tell them to retire? I hear the common story from my patients who used to be competitive athletes. The heart is willing, but the body doesn’t always want to cooperate. Whether it’s past injuries, or simple degradation from over-use, osteoarthritis of the knee can often put an end to dreams of competing….even at a mild level… far before they’re ready to retire. The doctor says they’ve got osteoarthritis of the knee.

Before you say yes to a cortisone shot, I highly suggest you get a good understanding of the term “osteoarthritis”. (Come to think of it, avoid cortisone shots altogether until you learn of all it’s potential negative side-effects and consider much healthier solutions). Arthritis simply means “inflammation of the joint”. The term “inflammation” has been often misused and has been applied to any “swelling” in the body. This is not accurate. “Inflammation” is an immune response comprised of a complex series of chemical reactions. These reactions are used to both fight off infection and initiate tissue repair. Chronic inflammation is a different term that can be caused by residual organisms that were never removed, chronic injury, or even hypersensitivity to common substances that aren’t normally considered a threat. Over several months, this condition can actually accelerate damage to joints. To avoid the negative side-effects of immunosuppressive corticosteroids, we can look at regenerative techniques like acupuncture and low-level laser therapy ( cold laser therapy). A growing body of evidence has demonstrated how both acupuncture AND cold laser therapy can significantly reduce. inflammation. The anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture seem to be felt both locally AND throughout the entire body (systemically). Recent research has also suggest electro-acupuncture can improve cartilage repair compared to a control group that received only physical therapy. When you add on low-level laser therapy that has been proven to accelerate cartilage growth, you have a powerful combination of tools that can help knees recover quicker and decrease pain and inflammation. The result is a way to lengthen the life of your knees and allow you to continue leading an active and even competitive lifestyle.


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