Joint Pain in a Nutshell
Most people think of muscles when they think of being flexible, but our bones equally give us mobility. Without our bones, our muscles would enable us to move like worms, but with our bones we become erect and perform a myriad of functional activities. Our joints are the articulations between bones, and vary depending on what kind of movement is required.
Types of Joints
Joint structures allow range of motion and accentuate a specific movement. There are three basic types of articulations: fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial joints.
1. Fibrous joints have no joint cavity so the two bones must form a tight fit, and this achieved with fibrous connective tissue, that holds the bones together. This type of joint allows for very little movement. Sutures that connect the cranial bones and allow enough movement for the pulsing of the cerebral spinal fluid is an example of a fibrous joint.
2. Cartilaginous joints don’t have a joint cavity either, and the bones are held together by cartilage. The vertebrae of the spinal column and the pubic symphysis are examples of cartilaginous joints.
3. The synovial joint has a joint cavity, which allows for greater movement. Protective tissue surrounds the bone to cushion it for a lifetime of wear-and-tear: hyaline cartilage, a wrapping of ligaments, bursa sacs, and synovial fluid inside the joint reduce friction and maintain proper range of motion. Synovial joints are in the major articulations of the body: the knee, elbow, hip, and shoulders.
Directions of Synovial Joint
The synovial joint can move in many directions.
Gliding back-and-forth (ankles, wrists)
Rotation turns bone along its axis (flip hand palm up palm down)
Circumduction (rotate whole arm)
Angular increases (i) or decreases (d) between the two bones involved:
Flexion- bends (d)
Extension- straightens (i)
Abduction- away from midline (i)
Adduction- towards and crossing midline (d)
The Injury and Healing of Joints
High-quality nutrition and regular exercise are the key ingredients for healthy joints. Our joints are susceptible to normal wear-and-tear, with age and gravity adding further stress on the tissue. The ligaments, tendons, and cartilage in the joint spaces get little or no blood supply, and it is for this reason that injuries seem to linger.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can speed healing in a wide variety of joint problems, both chronic and acute. From a Chinese medicine perspective, joints are places where things can get stuck, creating the sensation of tightness and pain. Acupuncture and its modalities facilitate local activity at the site of injury.
It is our recommendation that to keep your joints healthy and pliable, eat the best possible nutrition, keep moving by including stretch and strengthening qi gong exercises in your routine, and when needed, decompress the joints when possible, and finally get some acupuncture to correct the problem before it gets worse.
If you have questions and concerns about acupuncture treatment, we offer a free 20-minute phone session: click here for contact information to call or e-mail us. We practice at The Highlands Ranch Medical Pavilion in Littleton, Colorado.
Insurance is welcome and accepted.