Does Acupuncture Help with Arthritis? Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

Posted on Oct 11th, 2023.

Arthritis, a common condition characterized by joint inflammation, affects millions of people worldwide. 

For those living with arthritis, chronic pain, and limited mobility can significantly impact their quality of life. 

While there are various treatment options available, including medications and physical therapy, an increasing number of individuals are turning to acupuncture as a complementary approach to manage arthritis-related pain and discomfort.

But, does acupuncture help with arthritis? And how does it heal chronic pain?

Let's dive into the world of acupuncture and its role in enhancing the well-being of those living with arthritis.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a broad term used to describe inflammation of the joints. There are many different types of arthritis, but these are the two most common:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most prevalent form of arthritis and occurs due to the wear and tear of joint cartilage over time. It commonly affects weight-bearing joints like knees, hips, and the spine.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. This leads to joint inflammation and can affect multiple joints throughout the body.

The Role of Acupuncture in Pain Management

Acupuncture, an ancient healing practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has gained recognition worldwide for its effectiveness in managing various forms of pain. For individuals living with arthritis, acupuncture offers a holistic and complementary approach to pain relief. Let's explore how acupuncture plays a pivotal role in pain management:

Holistic Pain Relief

Acupuncture is founded on the principle of balance within the body's vital energy, known as Qi (pronounced "chee"). Acupuncturists believe that disruptions in the flow of Qi can lead to pain and discomfort. By inserting thin, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points along the body's meridians, acupuncturists aim to restore balance and harmony.

Release of Endorphins

One of the key mechanisms behind acupuncture's pain-relieving effects is the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers, and their production can be stimulated by the insertion of acupuncture needles. As endorphin levels increase, patients often experience a sense of well-being and reduced pain.

Reduction of Inflammation

Inflammation is a common factor in many types of chronic pain, including arthritis-related pain. Acupuncture has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation in affected joints. By addressing the underlying inflammation, acupuncture provides relief and supports the body's natural healing processes.

Improved Blood Circulation

Acupuncture also enhances blood circulation, promoting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues. This improved circulation can help reduce muscle tension, alleviate pain, and support the healing of damaged joints and tissues.

Nerve Stimulation

Acupuncture needles stimulate sensory nerves in the skin and muscles, sending signals to the central nervous system. These signals can override pain signals from the affected area, effectively "blocking" the perception of pain. This mechanism is particularly useful in managing chronic pain conditions.

Long-Term Pain Management

One of the strengths of acupuncture in pain management is its potential for long-term relief. While some individuals may experience immediate pain reduction after a single session, acupuncture often provides cumulative benefits over a series of treatments. Regular acupuncture sessions can help maintain pain relief and support ongoing well-being.

So, Does Acupuncture Help with Arthritis?

Yes, acupuncture has shown promise as an effective complementary approach to managing arthritis-related pain and discomfort. While it may not cure arthritis, it can provide significant relief and improve overall well-being for individuals living with this condition. 

Here's why acupuncture is considered a valuable ally in the fight against arthritis:

Targeted Pain Relief

One of the strengths of acupuncture is its ability to provide targeted pain relief. Acupuncture practitioners carefully select acupuncture points based on the type of arthritis, the location of affected joints, and the specific symptoms experienced by the patient. By tailoring treatments to address individual needs, acupuncture can offer precise and effective pain relief where it's needed most.

Improved Joint Mobility

Arthritis can lead to reduced joint mobility and stiffness, making it challenging to perform everyday tasks. Acupuncture can enhance joint mobility by reducing pain and inflammation. As pain subsides and joint function improves, individuals with arthritis often experience increased flexibility and a greater range of motion.

Holistic Well-Being

Beyond pain relief, acupuncture offers holistic benefits that can improve overall well-being. Living with chronic pain can take a toll on mental and emotional health. Many patients report reduced stress, improved sleep, and a sense of emotional balance and well-being following acupuncture sessions. This holistic approach addresses the emotional aspects of living with arthritis, contributing to a better quality of life.

Integrating Acupuncture into Arthritis Management

Acupuncture is typically used as part of a comprehensive arthritis management plan. While it can provide substantial pain relief, it is often combined with other treatment modalities such as medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications. Integrating acupuncture into a multifaceted approach to arthritis management can enhance its effectiveness and provide a more comprehensive solution.

It's important to note that the effectiveness of acupuncture may vary from person to person, and results can depend on factors such as the type and severity of arthritis. However, many individuals living with arthritis have found acupuncture to be a valuable and complementary tool in their journey to managing pain and improving their overall quality of life.


If you're living with arthritis and seeking a holistic approach to pain management, consider exploring the benefits of acupuncture. At Aviva Acupuncture, we specialize in pain management and offer individualized acupuncture treatments designed to address your unique needs.

Discover the potential of acupuncture for arthritis by booking a session with us. Contact us today at (808) 797-8721 or [email protected]m to start your journey towards enhanced well-being and relief from chronic pain.

Learn more about our acupuncture services and how we can support you in your quest for a pain-free life.

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