Arthritis: Breaking a Vicious Cycle

March 25, 2019 Joe Brady

For the more than 40 million Americans with Arthritis, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a safe, natural and effective way to alleviate pain and prevent further damage. Learn to relieve aches & pains without drugs.

Wind, a Change in the Weather

Bing Ji: what is going on ?

In the case of arthritis, “it’s not the age, it’s the mileage that counts.” Poor posture, bad body mechanics, old injuries and daily life accumulate little trauma’s in the joints that over time make them more sensitive to changes.

Exposure to wind is an extremely important cause of “Bi” or Painful Obstruction Syndrome, the Chinese term for arthritis. Changes in barometric pressure, characterized by “wind” signal changes in the weather.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is the changes in activity, environment and even emotions that get the joints to flare up and all those old injuries to say hello again. As a result in TCM Arthritis is considered an invasion of external pathogenic factors such as Wind, Cold or Dampness.

Painful Obstruction Syndrome can of course develop also from exposure to other conditions, such as sitting on damp surfaces, wading in water, living in a damp environment, etc.

Susceptibility to “Wind” as an etiological factor in TCM is more prevalent with a sudden change of weather and the inability of the body to adapt to it, rather than actual wind. The body is more prone to invasion of Wind during spells of unseasonable weather: this applies not only when it is unseasonably cold, but also when it is unseasonably warm. Other predisposing factors include excessive sport or work activities causing stagnation of Qi and Blood in an area which becomes more prone to invasion of exterior pathogenic factors. For example, the wrists in car mechanics become prone to stagnation of Qi and Blood through repeated use of wrenches, and screw-drivers.

Another very important predisposing factor is an underlying deficiency of Blood or Yin which leads to malnourishment of the channels so that they become prone to invasion of external pathogenic factors. Particularly in chronic Painful Obstruction Syndrome or in older adults, an underlying deficiency of Blood or Yin is nearly always a factor. In treatment, it is important not   only to expel Wind, Cold or Damp, but also to nourish Blood or Yin.

Accidents and injuries also predispose one to Painful ObstructionSyndrome. Qi or blood stasis and subsequent exposure to external pathogenic factors leads to the development of Painful Obstruction Syndrome in that particular area. 

Emotional problems are also contributing factors in the origin of Painful Obstruction Syndrome either by causing stagnation of Qi, or by causing depletion of Qi and Blood

What helps?

Regular low impact Exercise

Properly done a regular physical activity program can improve cartilage and bone tissue health and decrease joint swelling and pain. Regular exercise can also help you maintain better function and a healthy weight (which reduces pressure on your joints). Choose low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, and  Tai Chi Chuan.

Aging and arthritis

Another very important predisposing factor is aging, an underlying deficiency of Blood or Yin which leads to malnourishment of the channels. In treatment, it is important not   only to expel Wind, Cold or Damp, but also to nourish Blood or Yin.

Stress makes it worse

Emotional problems are also contributing factors in the origin of Painful Obstruction Syndrome either by causing stagnation of Qi, or by causing depletion of Qi and Blood

Arthritis Self Help

Dragon Tiger Fighting Formula for Painmassaging all three levels. Massage nine times at each level. Each iteration pain will diminish.

Bone Marrow Washing Qigongopening and closing the joints

Examples of different Acupuncture points for different types of arthritis

Wandering Bi, Wind Obstructing channels

Wandering pain in joints. Eliminate Wind Cold Damp along Yang Meridians with ashi, local and distal Points, Bl 17, Sp 10.

Cold painful Bi Obstructing Channels- 

Sore painful joints; fixed pain, heat relieves, cold weather aggravates. ashi, local and distal Points Bl 23, Ren 4 

Damp fixed Bi Obstructing Channels 

Joint pain; heavy feeling, fixed pain, numbness, damp weather aggravates, St 36, Sp 5 . 

Wind, Cold and Damp Obstructing Channels- various combinations of above

Wind/Heat Bi Obstructing Channels-

Alleviated by cold, aggravated by warmth, red swollen limited motion. Clear heat with ashi, local and distal points Du 14, Li 11.

Damp Heat Obstructing Channels-

Rarely joint pain can be caused by an infection. These need to be treated with antibiotics or anti-viral herbs or if need be with western antibiotics.

Arthritis Liniments and Herbal Formulas

Dit da jiao, (warming)

Shang shi zhi tong gao, (warming)

Zheng Gu shui, (warming)

Guan jie yan wan (hot or cold), 

Moxa patch warms for 10 hours, 

White Flower oil, Cold 

Herbal Prescriptions

Shentong Zhu Yu Tang (Damp Bi Chronic)

Xiao huo luo dan (w-c phlegm bi poor circulation)

Feng Shih hsiao tong wan (heat bi with deformities and tendonitis.

A Chinese Medicine practitioner can use several stronger techniques if self-help is not enough. Acupuncture, Guasha, Cupping, Electrostim, of course, and Moxa, as appropriate, 7 star and TDP all O.K.

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