Gabrielle Mathieu is a Licensed Acupuncturist,
with a graduate degree in Oriental Medicine.She has an
undergraduate degree in medical technology and worked
in hospitals as a lab technician for 12 years before coming
to Oriental Medicine.She integrates both medicines in
her Austin Texas practice.
How would you treat chronic joint pain (CJP)? I have had CJP
in my left hip for years and blamed it on bursitis. Within the
last couple of years I've not been able to sleep on that side,
loss of sleep is definitely not good as I am a researcher in the
field of human development: a wife & mother of three young
children! I now have pain in the right hip as well. X-rays and
MRI's reveal no arthritis or injuries (phew!). The rheumatologist
had me try a round of Vioxx - in increasing dosages 12, 25, 50.
I am not a fan of conventional treatments.
There is crepitus in both knees, with that feeling of "OMG,
it's going to go out" on a loaded stair climb (carrying a
sleeping child). Exercise has become practically impossible as
even riding my stationary bike causes swelling in the knees. I
am active but pay for it most nights with aching & stiffness.
I just started water PT but would like to enhance that treatment
with an herbal remedy as opposed to drug treatment. Can you help?
The question of how we would treat join pain, and what you are
asking for, seem to be to different things to me. It sounds like
you are looking for a supplement or herb that you can buy at the
health food store.
Our education, as Chinese herbalists, includes several years
of herbal study, on both the individual components of herbal formulas,
and the traditional formulas themselves. A visit to an herbalist
consists of a careful history, observation of the tongue, and
taking of the pulse. Based on the observable syndrome or combination
of syndromes, an herbal formula is recommended. Your letter suggests
that the Chinese "Kidney" may be involved to some extent,
suggested by problems with the bones and a feeling that your knees
are "about to give." However, without actually seeing
you in person, it would be difficult for a Chinese herbalist to
offer you a recommendation of a Chinese herbal formula.
There are currently supplements on the market that seem promising.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
states, "Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural substances
found in and around the cells of cartilage. Researchers believe
these substances may help in the repair and maintenance of cartilage.
In addition, researchers believe that glucosamine inhibits inflammation
and stimulates cartilage cell growth, while chondroitin provides
cartilage with strength and resilience."
Other substances like boswellia or curcumin also are gaining
in popularity. Although these substances will not treat the root
cause of your malaise, they seem to have anti-inflammatory properties
and help some people. To review information about boswellia you
can visit the following link: http://www.herbmed.org/Herbs/Herb94.htm.
Boswellia (frankincense) is traditionally used with myrrh in some
Chinese formulas, to move stagnated blood.
We suggest you visit someone who has passed the board for herbal
studies, as well as for acupuncture, so you can receive the benefits
of both. You can also try http://www.pulsemed.org/findacupuncturist.htm.