Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs in Richmond, VA
Wang, Xiaoyan, L. Ac., MD (China)
Phone: (804) 301-1784
Email: or
Bringing Wisdom of Ancient China to US for Pain Management
Arthritis Pain Management

If you suffer from arthritis pain, you have plenty of company. Over 70 million Americans currently experience some form of this crippling disease. In fact, arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability among adults 18 years of age and older. Arthritis pain is generally diagnosed as chronic. Unlike acute pain which is temporary and strikes immediately, arthritis pain is persistent and can linger for weeks and often a lifetime.

Arthritis Pain Type #1: Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, affects more than 20 million people. This type of arthritis pain strikes finger joints, knees, hips and the spine. It can also affect ankles, shoulders, elbows and wrists. Generally, the joints it attacks have experienced an injury in the past which triggers a breakdown in cartilage and subsequent pain and stiffness.

Arthritis Pain Type #2: Rheumatoid Arthritis

It's estimated that about 1% of the US population, 2.1 million people, have rheumatoid arthritis. It's found two to three times more often in women than men. In this form of arthritis, the lining of various joints becomes inflamed (the word "arthritis" means join inflammation). Rheumatoid arthritis also affects the blood, lungs and heart.
Besides pain, the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can produce stiffness, swelling and redness. Over time, joints may become so damaged that normal movement is impaired. This is a prolonged form of arthritis which can go into remission for periods of time and they suddenly flare up.

Arthritis Pain Therapies and Treatments

More money is spent on unproven arthritis pain treatments in America than on basic research into its cause. However, with an early diagnosis, treatments can be started that not only provide pain relief and management, but help slow the progression of arthritis. The most frequently used arthritis treatments are surgery, medicine and alternative therapies.

Arthritis Pain Surgery

If medicine and physical therapy fail to bring relief, joint surgery, usually hip and knee replacements, is often thought as a last resort for arthritis pain management. However, even the most successful operations leave patients with some limited mobility.
Another thing to consider is the high failure rate of these surgeries and that fact that they're not a permanent solution to arthritis pain. A typically large joint replacement last 8 to 10 years before a repeat surgery is required.
The failure rate is even higher for smaller joints like this extremely high failure rate makes it a less than favorable for smaller joints like wrists, fingers, toes and ankles. For example, 95% of total ankle replacements fail within 5 years. Joint fusion is often the preferred surgery for relief of arthritis pain in these smaller joints. Unfortunately, it sacrifices movement in these joints.

Arthritis Pain Management and Pain Relief Medications

Pharmaceutical treatments for arthritis range from over-the-counter medicines like aspirin to prescription drugs. Pain relievers like acetaminophen may be helpful to osteoarthritis sufferers since their condition involves little inflammation.
For people with rheumatoid arthritis, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which include ibuprofen, aspirin and newer drugs like are helpful. NSAIDs with COX-2 specific inhibitors that block an enzyme known to cause an inflammatory response are often prescribed by medical doctors for arthritis pain management and relief. However these drugs carry with them the risk of side effects like heart disease, digestive disorders, ulcers and liver damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who don't respond to NSAIDs are often given DMARDs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. These drugs are believed to correct immune system deficiencies contributing to rheumatoid arthritis. They include Arava and methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, penicillamine, and gold injections, all of which may cause side effects if not monitored closely.
Medical doctors may also prescribe corticosteroids for arthritis pain. While these hormones may temporarily treat the pain, they carry with them serious health risks and may potentially be life threatening side effects. They may be taken orally or through an injection directly into the affected joint. However, this therapy should only be administered once or twice a year due to the risk of permanent cartilage damage.
Another disadvantage of using medications for arthritis pain relief and management is the risk of addiction over an extended period. Medications can't cure degenerative arthritis pain. Doctors prescribe them for the management of its inflammation and pain.

Alternative Arthritis Pain Management

Fortunately, Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine offer arthritis pain sufferers the option of natural pain management and relief therapies without the risks of surgical and pharmaceutical approaches. The sooner the treatment begins, the quicker the pain relieves. If you would like to pursue this form of treatment or information, please contact Xiaoyan.
About Us
Pain Relief
Wang, Xiaoyan
Phone: (804) 301-1784