Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff. It’s the most common type of arthritis in the UK. Some people also experience swelling, tenderness and a grating or crackling sound when moving the affected joints. For some people, the symptoms can be mild and may come and go. Other people can experience more continuous and severe problems which make it difficult to carry out everyday activities. Almost any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis, but the condition most often causes problems in the knees, hips and small joints of the hands.
Our joints are exposed to a constant low level of damage and in most cases the body repairs the damage itself. But in osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. Bony growths can develop, and the area can become inflamed (red and swollen). There are several things thought to increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis, including: joint injury – overusing your joint, especially when it hasn’t had enough time to heal after an injury or operation; secondary arthritis can occur in joints severely damaged by another condition, being obese puts excess strain on your joints, particularly those that bear most weight, such as knees and hips, age and family history are also factors.
Western Medicine sees osteoarthritis is a long-term condition that can’t be cured but doesn’t necessarily get any worse over time and it can sometimes gradually improve. Mild symptoms can sometimes be managed with simple measures including: regular exercise, losing weight, wearing suitable footwear or using special devices to reduce the strain on joints during everyday activities. More severe symptoms, may need additional medical treatments such as painkilling medications and a structured exercise plan carried out under the supervision of a physiotherapist. In a small number of cases, where the above treatments haven’t helped or the damage to the joints is particularly severe, surgery may be carried out to repair, strengthen or replace a damaged joint.
The Five Element acupuncturist sees osteoarthritis (like all symptoms) as a sign of an imbalance in the person. All living beings are governed by the natural laws we observe in nature and the joint pain (osteoarthritis) experienced by the presenting patient will have a cause in one of the five elements that produce our outer and inner reality. Practitioners of this ancient healing tradition have the skills to diagnose the unique cause of osteoarthritis in each person and effect an acupuncture treatment that has the potential to alleviate not only the symptoms of joint pain but all suffering.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a frequently diagnosed disorder (or collection of symptoms) that affects the bowel (colon) and produces symptoms like cramping, abdominal pain and bloating, alternating diarrhoea/constipation or one or the other. It is considered a chronic condition because in most cases it doesn’t go away but can and needs to be managed carefully. IBS is often relatively mild and not considered a severe or life threatening problem. However should you experience any of the following list of symptoms – it is important to consult a doctor. Diarrhoea at night, unusual vomiting and difficulty swallowing, anaemia, or persistent pain that is not relived after a bowel movement.
The medical approach to IBS is very limited. The cause is unknown and for the most part the patient is advised to make lifestyle choices through experimentation of food types and timing of eating, reduce stress and overwork, rest well and exercise. There is no one answer for everyone and in cases of chronic diarhoea the doctor could prescribe something to help reduce the frequency but it is not a cure by any means.
The Five Element acupuncturist sees IBS (like any symptom) as a sign of an imbalance in the person. All living beings are governed by the natural laws we observe in nature and the cause of the IBS experienced by the presenting patient will have a cause in one of the five elements that produce our outer and inner reality. Practitioners of this ancient healing tradition have the skills to diagnose the unique cause of IBS in each person and effect an acupuncture treatment that has the potential to relieve all symptoms of IBS and all levels of suffering.