Reduced range of motion in the joints

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Reduced range of motion in the joints can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like reduced range of motion in the joints here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here reduced range of motion in the joints is often associated with heat and pain in the joints, fever and shaking chills in the pattern “Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause reduced range of motion in the joints.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of reduced range of motion in the joints we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the two medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat reduced range of motion in the joints.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause reduced range of motion in the joints

In Chinese Medicine reduced range of motion in the joints is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

In addition to reduced range of motion in the joints, other symptoms associated with Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels include heat and pain in the joints, fever and shaking chills.

Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels is often treated with Xuan Bi Tang, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Stephania Roots - Fang Ji - as a key herb). Xuan Bi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dispel wind-damp", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears and resolves Damp-Heat".

Read more about Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels here

Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

In addition to reduced range of motion in the joints, other symptoms associated with Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp include weight loss, headaches and dizziness.

Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp is often treated with Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Cinnamon Twigs - Gui Zhi - as a key herb). Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dispel wind-damp", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and inflammations".

Read more about Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp here

Two herbal formulas that might help with reduced range of motion in the joints

Xuan Bi Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears and resolves Damp-Heat. Unblocks the meridians. Disbands painful obstruction.

Why might Xuan Bi Tang help with reduced range of motion in the joints?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels' of which reduced range of motion in the joints is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Painful Obstruction Due To Damp Heat In Channels include heat and pain in the joints, fever and shaking chills.

Read more about Xuan Bi Tang here

Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and inflammations. Unblocks the flow of Yang Qi and promotes movement (in areas with painful obstruction). Clears Wind and Damp. Relieves pain.

Why might Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang help with reduced range of motion in the joints?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp' of which reduced range of motion in the joints is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Painful Obstruction With Wind-Cold-Damp include weight loss, headaches and dizziness.

Read more about Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang here

The two Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat reduced range of motion in the joints

Why might Stephania Root (Fang Ji) help with reduced range of motion in the joints?

Because it is a key herb in Xuan Bi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels' (a pattern with reduced range of motion in the joints as a symptom)

Stephania Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Bladder and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination. Allays pain and dispels Wind-Damp painful obstruction (Bi Pain).

Read more about Stephania Roots here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with reduced range of motion in the joints?

Because it is a key herb in Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp' (a pattern with reduced range of motion in the joints as a symptom)

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here