Acupuncture for Joint ReplacementConventional medical technology has been advancing in leaps and bounds over the past twenty years. There have been especially great strides in joint replacement as materials and surgical procedures continue to become more successful in efficiency as well as longevity. To compliment these advancements traditional medicine has also stepped up to peripherally provide relief and strengthening beyond many conventional approaches such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and muscle relaxant pharmaceutical fixes. This is particularly true for the use of acupuncture for joint replacement. By embracing a regimented acupuncture program for pre and post joint replacement one may experience more beneficial results that includes less pain and better ROM (range of motion).

A Bionic Populous by 2030
A recent report presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) by Steven M. Kurtz, PhD, director of the Philadelphia office of Exponent Inc., an engineering and scientific consulting firm stated that:

“…the number of procedures for primary (first-time) total knee replacement would jump by 673 percent – to 3.48 million – in 2030. The number of primary total hip replacements, the authors estimate, will increase by 174 percent – to 572,000 – in 2030.”

Even though with many people joint replacement is avoided at all costs and only considered as a last option, these statistics may be sobering.

The Hard Facts
Alternative medicine can often work wonders in keeping a joint replacement at bay however, in some cases, avoiding it may not be an option. Doctor Kurtz comments, “There are few procedures that return as much quality of life as joint replacement,” PR Newswire that reported the AAOS presentation explains some additional causes behind this predicted rise in joint breakdown, “Other reasons include an aging population with arthritis requiring joint replacement; the increasing prevalence of obesity, which puts undue stress on the knee and hip joints; and the trend toward baby boomers remaining physically active later in life, which also places demands on the joints.” In addition, joint replacement due to trauma or disease can also be a factor.

A Study of Acupuncture Therapy
Some people will seek acupuncture treatment when their health challenge has gone beyond repair. In the case of joint weakness, pain and swelling can be alleviated however due to many factors (such as those mentioned above) a joint replacement could be inevitable. If this is the case, using acupuncture as a pre and post treatment tool could bare significantly positive results. In a study of acupuncture for post knee replacement treatment by the Department of Orthopedics at Takagi Hospital in Tokyo, Japan the conclusion stated that, “Acupuncture provides effective treatment during the post-acute phase of rehabilitation after TKA [total knee arthroplasty] with respect to pain relief, reduction of swelling around the knee, and early recovery of ROM.”

The 4 Phases of Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture cannot reverse joint, ligament, tendon or cartilage damage. However it can help with pre and post joint replacement surgery.

These are the 4 phases of acupuncture treatment that address joint replacement issues:

Pain – If applied frequently, this phase can sometimes hold off surgery for weeks, months or even years by reducing and in some cases eliminating pain.

Surgery Prep – Joint replacement surgery can be a huge strain on not only the affected area but the rest of the body as well. Acupuncture increases circulation to the joint keeping it as healthy as possible before surgery. At the same time the immune system can be strengthened as it will be working overtime after the operation.

Healing – Post surgery symptoms can include overall pain, inflammation, loss of ROM and the possibility of infection. Acupuncture is a safe, non-pharmaceutical supportive therapy found to alleviate these symptoms while building strength. In a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery – British Volume, (90-B) it was concluded that, “Acupuncture is a safe and effective adjunct to traditional methods of postoperative pain management after total hip and total knee replacement.”

Maintenance – A joint replacement is estimated to last about fifteen years. Many people are able to resume normal activities however various challenges can occur. Shortly after surgery or a few months down the line symptoms such as anesthesia detox, residual pain (especially when the weather is damp), ROM weakness and joint or peripheral joint fatigue can occur. Acupuncture has shown significant results in reducing these often inevitable adverse effects of joint replacement surgery.

Helping Acupuncture Along
In addition to acupuncture, naturopathic medicine can offer a variety of remedies to help it along. This includes a Clinical Nutrition approach that may incorporate an anti-inflammatory diet such as avoiding night shades; Botanical Medicine which involves the many healing properties of plant compounds; Nutraceutical Supplementation, a vitamin, mineral, amino acid and enzyme regiment that can boost the immune system as well as support weak joints; and Homeopathy, a like-cures-like remedy protocol that can be applied to a wide variety of joint replacement diagnosed symptoms.

At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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