Study: Self-Administered Acupressure Could Be an Arthritis Option


Chronic pain can be a difficult thing to treat. The same goes for many of the conditions that cause it. Take osteoarthritis. Not even the most reliable treatments work 100 % of the time. That is why it helps to have options, like acupressure.

Most of us have probably never heard of acupressure. Nonetheless, a study recently published in JAMA Network Open seems to suggest that it could be yet another viable option for treating chronic pain attributed to osteoarthritis.

A Degenerative Form of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is also a degenerative disease. Once the cartilage between joints begins to break down and wear away, there is no getting it back. Patients experience mild to moderate pain under the best circumstances. A worst-case scenario could see a patient fully debilitated by the condition.

The pain is directly attributed to the two bones of a joint grinding onto one another. Cartilage normally prevents such grinding. It fills the open space and provides a layer cushioning. But as cartilage is lost, bones make direct contact. It is quite uncomfortable.

Acupressure as a Treatment

Acupressure is a traditional Chinese technique that relieves pain by applying pressure to specific points on the body. The pressure points are targeted, meaning a practitioner doesn’t have to randomly choose points and hope they work. The points are the same for all patients.

Acupressure is in the same family as acupuncture. Both practices are rooted in the belief that the human body contains a natural energy that can be manipulated for better health. Where acupressure relies on the hands to manipulate energy, acupuncture relies on needles.

One of the nice things about acupressure is that it can be self-administered. According to the previously mentioned study, self-administered acupressure (SAA) apparently shows promise as a pain-relieving technique for osteoarthritis in the knee.

More About the Study

Researchers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University enrolled 314 study participants with a mean age of 62.7 years. All reported knee pain as the result of osteoarthritis. Participants were divided into two groups: the control group and intervention group.

The control group received standard education on knee health. The intervention group was taught acupressure and instructed to practice it twice daily four 12 weeks. At the end of the study:

  1. The intervention group reported significantly less pain.
  2. The intervention group was also more likely to say that the treatment would be cost effective.

There was little to no difference between the groups when measured using the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index, Timed Up and Go, or Fast Gait Speed tests.

Researchers concluded that SAA a has a high likelihood of offering significant pain relief among osteoarthritis patients willing to adhere to a strict treatment regimen. Furthermore, SAA appears to be a cost-effective treatment because patients can administer it at home, on their own.

We Need More Alternatives

Although the research does not propose an open and shut case, it does appear as though SAA can work for some people. That is good. It gives patients and their doctors yet another option for treating arthritis pain. We need more options. Prescription medications and joint replacement surgeries just aren’t cutting at.

Plant-based medicine is another alternative, and one recommended by the clinicians at KindlyMD in Utah. With multiple clinics scattered throughout the state, KindlyMD helps patients obtain plant-based medicines through the Utah medical card.

If you experience pain related to osteoarthritis, do not assume your only option is a prescription painkiller or surgery. Look into SSA and plant-based medicine. You might find something that works better and costs less.

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