How Cold Causes Joint Pain

wintery landscape 1Winter is here. It comes as no surprise that the cold and damp weather means achy and painful joints and an exacerbation of arthritis.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have understood this seasonal phenomena for thousands of years.

According to acupuncture, cold and damp can become stuck in the joints disrupting the normal function and circulation which leads to pain.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work to warm the body and increase circulation leading to a decrease in pain. Warming the acupuncture points and acupuncture channels helps to dislodge the cold.

How can acupuncture warm the joints?

In the west, most people think of acupuncture as the use of acupuncture needles with acupuncture points. But really, acupuncture therapy encompasses much more.

In Chinese, acupuncture is not just acupuncture. Acupuncture is called 针灸 (pronounced Zhen Jiu). This translates to acupuncture and moxibustion.

Moxibustion refers to the warming of the acupuncture needles or acupuncture points. Most often it is done with the burning of an herb called mugwort. It can also be done with a heat lamp or warming herbal extracts rubbed onto acupuncture points or the affected muscle.

By warming the acupuncture points and acupuncture needles with moxibustion, we can stimulated improved circulation and pain relief.

In our office we also use an infrared lamp called a TDP lamp.  These lamps create a very soothing healing heat.

Moxibustion is very effective for treating many conditions causes by cold. During the winter in particular, I use it for back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, knee pain, and joint pain. Moxabustion is very effective for menstrual cramps.

Moxibustion at the acupuncture point UB 65 is surprisingly effective at turning breech babies.

Warming Herbs

There are many warming herbal formulas for treating pain and reducing inflammation.  One of the most common formulas for back pain is Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang. This formula warms cold and dissipates dampness responcible for back pain.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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