Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain, inflammation and stiffness, and reduced range of motion, which can have a negative impact on quality of life, reducing mobility and getting in the way of a good night’s sleep.
Many doctors strive to avoid prescribing medication, particularly opioids, for chronic pain - instead many are recommending acupuncture as an alternative to drugs. Acupuncture is in fact one of the treatments recommended for knee pain from osteoarthritis in the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation.
When the acupuncture needles are placed on the body, a signal is sent along the spinal cord to the brain which triggers a release of endogenous opioid endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals, and increases blood flow to the affected area to promote healing. Acupuncture also decreases the production of cortisol in the body, a hormone that helps control inflammation. With reduced pain sensations and less inflammation after acupuncture treatments, knee function and mobility can be improved.