Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes swelling and pain that can range from mild to excruciating. Although more than two hundred diseases are classified under the name "arthritis," most arthritic conditions fall into one of two categories: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is by far the more common, afflicting 40 million Americans and 80 percent of people over fifty. The pain and the inflammation occur when the cartilage that protects the bones from rubbing against each other wears down. Not surprisingly, the disease usually appears in joints that do most of the body's hard work: the knees, the hips, the spine, and the hands. Although injury or the normal wear and tear of life often bring on cartilage damage, it can be made much worse by food allergies, poor diet, and mineral deposits in the joints. For some people, the effects of mental and emotional stress aggravate arthritis pain. Changes in the weather-usually, rain and falling barometric pressure-often cause arthritis flare-ups.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is believed to be caused by an inappropriate immune reaction, in which white blood cells attack the cartilage in the joints; it can go on to destroy the bones themselves and even the muscles the skin. It is often exceedingly painful and can cripple its sufferers. While osteoarthritis affects men and women equally, RA appears three times more frequently in women. It affects only 2 to 3 percent of the population and can occur at any age, even in childhood. The course of the disease is difficult to predict. It may disappear a few months after its appearance, or it may grow progressively worse. Experts disagree over the causes of RA, but it seems clear that genes, food allergies, bacterial or viral infection, stress, excess acid in the body, and the presence of certain antibodies in the blood all playa role. Many of the complementary therapies used for osteoarthritis are also effective in reducing the pain and slowing the spread of rheumatoid arthritis.
Underlying factors for both of these conditions may include poor digestive function (intestinal permeability), hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, and lifestyle factors.
SYMPTOMS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS: Symptoms usually come on gradually, progressing as follows: Morning stiffness, restricted range of motion, painful, swollen joints and deformity of joints (in some cases).
SYMPTOMS OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Inflammation, pain, tenderness, and discoloration in the joints, usually the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists, the fingers, the ankles, or the toes; morning stiffness, lumps under the skin at the site of damaged joints, deformity of joints in long-term cases, fatigue, weight loss, weakness, and occasionally fever and chronic infections.
CAUSES OF OSTEOARTHRITIS : Fractures or other injuries, even those that occurred early in life, food allergies, a diet high in fats, animal products, and other foods that promote an internal acidic environment, excess of body fat, which places extra stress on joints, emotional stress , Poor digestion heath (increased intestinal permeability, bacteria imbalance) and hormone
CAUSES OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: No one is exactly sure what causes RA. It is likely multifactorial: Autoimmune malfunction (presence in the blood of the rheumatoid factor [RF], a set of antibodies in the blood that leads to an attack on ence in the blood the body's joint tissue), infection (mycoplasma, bacterial, or viral), oOvergrowth of harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (dysbiosis), food allergies, toxic metal accumulation and emotional stress
An effective diet will go a long way toward controlling arthritis for many people.
Flaxseeds and cold-water fish are high in essential fatty acids and have anti-inflammatory properties. Salmon and mackerel are good examples.
Eat lots of fiber in the form of raw vegetables and whole grains. It will help sweep away mineral and acid build-up and keep your digestive system free of harmful bacteria. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower also have anti- inflammatory properties.
Foods high in sulfur will help repair cartilage and bone. Try eating some asparagus, cabbage, garlic, or onion every day. To keep cartilage lubricated and healthy, drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours. Dehydration has been linked to arthritis pain.
Raw pineapple, whether whole or juiced, has an enzyme called bromelain, which has been shown to reduce inflammation.
Food to Avoid
Too much acid in the body causes inflammation, which leads to pain. Avoid acid- promoting foods such as red meat, eggs, saturated fats, oils, fried foods, sugar, dairy products, refined carbohydrates, foods high in gluten (such as breads, pasta, and pas- tries), alcohol, and caffeine. Although this list is long, allergy sufferers who eliminate these foods often experience great relief. Food allergy or sensitivity testing helps to narrow down the group of offending foods.
Animal products generally worsen inflammation in the joints. Avoid all eggs, dairy, and meat, with the exception of fish, which contains anti-inflammatory oils. Allergies cause inflammation, and for people with RA, they also do further damage to the immune system and may increase the intestinal tract's vulnerability to bacteria. The nightshade vegetables-tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers--contain a substance called solanine, which can trigger allergic responses and pain in some allergy sufferers. Eliminate these foods from your diet for a period of six weeks to see if there is improvement.
A vegetable juice or water fast is helpful to reduce joint pain. Work with a nutrition- oriented doctor. Lemon and grapefruit juices are especially supportive of an arthritis fast. Mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey into a glass of clean water, and drink it every day of your fast. This concoction will help alkalinize your body. Green drinks are excellent for detoxification.
ARTHRITIS SUPER REMEDIES
Many excellent herbs reduce inflammation. Devil's claw root (Harpagophytum procumbens), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and yucca root (Yucca schidigera) capsules are among the best. Give these herbs at least two months to take effect. Recommended dosages are as follows:
Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) should not be taken if you have a history of gallstones, heartburn, or ulcers. Take 1500 to 2500 mg of the standardized powdered herb in capsule or tablet form daily, or use 1 to 2 ml of a tincture three times a day.
White willow (Salix alba) products that are standardized to contain 240 mg of salicin daily or 5 ml of the tincture form should be taken three times daily.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) comes in the form of capsules or tablets made from dried alfalfa leaves. Take 500 to 1000 mg daily, or take 1 to 2 ml of a tincture three times daily.
Yucca root (Yucca schidigera) in the capsule form is taken in 1000 mg doses twice daily.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a popular choice for relief of both (inflammation and pain. Pour boiling water over the grated root and drink the tea, or try adding ginger fresh to your meals. If you want something stronger, take I to 2 grams of dried powder in a capsule two or three times daily, or use I to 2 ml of a tincture three times daily.
Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) is taken in doses of 1200 to 1500 mg of standardized extract, containing 60 to 65 percent boswellic acids, two to three times daily. Plant sterols and sterolin is more specifically used for rheumatoid arthritis, to calm down an overactive immune system. Take as directed on the container, between meals, three times daily.
DHEA: If your levels are low, work with a holistic doctor and start with 10 to 25 mg daily.
SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is an excellent supplement to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Take 600 to 1200 mg for two months and then 400 to 800 mg as a maintenance dosage.
Vitamin E is preferably taken via a vitamin E-complex with additional tocotrienols. If you are on blood-thinning medication, use a lower amount under your doctor's supervision. Take 800 IU daily.
Vitamin C: Take 1,000 two to three times daily.
Boron: Take 1 mg per day.
Niacinamide: Take 500 mg four times daily.
Plant enzymes: Take as directed on the container to improve food absorption.
Chlorella or spirulina are super green foods high in antioxidants and aid detoxification. Take as directed on the container.
Protease enzymes reduce inflammation. Take 1 to 2 capsules twice daily between meals.
A light drainage massage of the areas surrounding an arthritic joint will reduce the buildup of lymphatic fluid. Stress and tension can trigger painful episodes, especially for sufferers of RA. Regular massage will relax the body and the mind. It will also loosen muscles that have tightened in reaction to pain.
Soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts or mineral salts for at least twenty minutes. You’ll eliminate toxins through sweat, and the salts will help replenish the body's mineral stores.
A number of different oils will reduce stress, so you should try several to see which ones work best for you. Some good choices are chamomile, jasmine, lavender, and rose. To assist in cleansing the joints of mineral and acid deposits, use juniper or lemon balm in a hot bath. Chamomile, lavender, and rosemary all have anti-inflammatory properties. Use them in a bath, or combine them with a base oil and apply gently to the painful area. Lavender is an especially good choice for people with rheumatic pain. Black pepper, ginger, and eucalyptus all stimulate blood flow around the joints and are invigorating in a bath.
BACH FLOWER REMEDIES
Consult the list if the following suggestions do not apply to your particular needs. Once you have selected the right remedy, place 10 drops under your tongue. Hold them in place for thirty seconds and swallow. Use as often as needed. If you are inflexible and critical of yourself and others, try Rock Water.
To relieve fatigue and exhaustion brought on by pain, use Hornbeam or Olive.
If you are sensitive to weather changes, use a combination of Aspen, Olive, Elm, and Holly.
Vitamin D from sunshine is crucial to bone health. Don't let arthritis pain keep you from getting out in the early morning sun every day. Arthritis sufferers often cut back on activity, but studies show that moderate exercise actually reduces pain and swelling. While you must avoid joint pounding workouts like jogging or tennis, low- or no-impact exercises like swimming, aqua-aerobics, cycling, and walking are excellent choices.