Saturday, February 2, 2013

Treating Diabetic Dogs Who Suffer From Arthritis

Almost all dogs will suffer to some degree from arthritis later in their lives. This joint disease occurring in canines is the exact condition that many older humans suffer from. Diabetic dogs will usually have symptoms of osteoarthritis just as those without diabetes.

Although there are many prescription drugs available for treating arthritis dogs, many of those can cause significant side effects and other severe complications. Some animals have even died from the prescribed drugs. Also, these considerations are even more important when dealing with arthritis dogs with arthritis. Vets will always take special care when treating pets with osteoarthritis who also are diabetic.

Glucosamine is widely used to treat canine arthritis symptoms. However, in many of the products sugar is added and this is a concern for pet owners whose dogs suffer from hypoglycemia or other blood sugar related disease. In many cases the dogs are on very strict diets and even the very small amounts of sugars found in glucosamine products must be restricted.

For those who have a dog with diabetic disease and also suffering from arthritis, there are products available that offer glucosamine in forms which does not have sugar. These sugar-free versions of liquid glucosamine are becoming more widely available on the market today.

Be regardless of the availability, owners should always consult with their veterinarians before giving any animal supplements of any kind to those pets suffering from some form of sugar intolerance. Most vets will wish to look at the ingredients on the proposed supplement. As with any new drug or supplement it is important to watch the animal very carefully for the first few days or weeks when first supplying the dog with the supplement.

Dogs with diabetes can live long and happy lives if their condition is treated and are observed very closely. Arthritis will almost surely become an issue at some point in a dog's life. Before attempting to treat the problem with prescriptions, which only mask the problems, give liquid glucosamine a try. Just be aware that since natural supplement acts to fix the actual problem and not just ease the pain, it can take several weeks and even up to a month of treatment with the glucosamine before significant benefits will be observed.

In most cases, it won't be possible to find the liquid versions of all natural glucosamine supplements in local stores. The reason is that their expiration dates do not go out far enough to allow stores to buy in significant quantities as with their other products. Therefore, the best place to usually find the supplement is online.

Arthritis Treatment: The Workhorse Medicine for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis affecting almost two million Americans. It is a chronic autoimmune systemic disease for which there is no cure yet. It is also associated with a higher morbidity and mortality compared with the general population as a result of increased cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.

However, advance over the last 30 years have permitted rheumatologists to get RA into remission in a great number of instances.

Probably one of the medicines that has made the most difference is methotrexate (MTX). This is a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug that was first used in the early 1980's and is considered the "base drug" upon which other therapies are added.

MTX was first used in the oncology field. Its effect is to inhibit cellular metabolism and the proliferation (multiplication) of cells. Besides this anti-proliferative effect, MTX also has an a modest immunosuppressive effect.

Typically, a new patient with rheumatoid arthritis is immediately started on MTX in combination with either low dose prednisone or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Doses start at 7.5 mgs or 10 mgs per week given as a single dose once a week. The maximum dose we use is about 20 mgs. Some rheumatologists prefer to add on other DMARDS such as sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) or both.

Many other rheumatologists, however, prefer to add a biologic drug to MTX. I fall into this latter group.

MTX has been demonstrated to have two beneficial effects above and beyond the relief of symptoms. It has been shown to slow down the rate of x-ray progression which is a key determinant of eventual disability and also to potentially reduce the mortality associated with cardiovascular events.

It is generally safe. There are potential side effects including mouth ulcers, nausea, hair loss and more serious side effects such as potential liver damage and suppression of white blood cell count. Another issue is lung toxicity which can come on suddenly and is referred to as "methotrexate lung" or more insidiously leading to eventual fibrosis of the lungs. Patients with underlying liver disease such as hepatitis B and C should probably not receive the drug if possible.

Supplementation with folic acid can prevent or reduce the severity of many of the minor side effects. Close laboratory monitoring is mandatory. Patients with kidney disease should be monitored particularly closely and lower doses of MTX should be used since MTX toxicity increases with declining kidney function.

When patients develop infections of any sort, we recommend holding the MTX until they have recovered. For patients scheduled to have surgery we recommend they hold the MTX one week before and one week after the operation before resuming the drug.

Types Of Hand Surgery

Hand surgery refers to a number of different surgical procedures doctors can provide as reconstructive procedures. Often times, hands are impaired due to accidents, disease or due to deformity from birth. The good news is that many procedures can restore more than just an improved appearance but also an improved overall level of function. What's unique about this type of surgical procedure is that it is incredibly important to have a specialized treatment plan, one designed specifically for your needs. Doing so requires a doctor that specializes in this area. There are various types of procedures available to do just that.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Improvement

One of the most common forms of hand surgery is to improve carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition causes pressure to build on the median nerve located in the wrist. Individuals suffering from this condition often have pain or a tingling sensation. Many have weakness in their fingers and often must take pain medications to soothe the soreness. In this procedure, the doctor works to improve the pressure levels placed on the nerves.

Arthritis-Related Treatments

As people get older, joints begin to wear down. You may have heard of joint replacements for the hips and knees, some of the most commonly needed procedures today. However, the hands are not to be forgotten. Procedures are available that can improve the pain and suffering associated with rheumatoid arthritis specifically. These procedures and reduce the severe inflammation present on the joints. Without it, the joints become disfigured and, eventually, lose their ability to function, as they should.

Dupuytren's Contracture Procedures

Another situation where a surgical procedure can be helpful is for Dupuytren's contracture. This condition is a type of disabling disorder. Bands of thick, scar tissue-like material builds within the palm. Sometimes, it extends into the fingers. When this happens, it causes limitations on the way a person can move his or her hands. It can also cause some pain. Just bending your fingers may be nearly impossible to do as this condition advances. With surgery, though, it may be possible to improve the condition significantly.

Doctors can use many other procedures to improve the way your hands look and function. Hand surgery is like other types of procedures, though. It can be invasive and serious. The ideal candidate is healthy with any chronic conditions under control. He or she should not smoke and should have realistic goals for what to expect from the procedure. If you think you could benefit from having this type of procedure performed, the first step is a consultation with a surgeon specializing in the hands. Then, you can learn what type of procedure is right for you and what you can expect from it.

How You Can Get Arthritis In The Fingers

Did you know that arthritis can also attack your fingers? Arthritis in fingers is also a common symptom of arthritis. Our hands are one of the most important parts of our body. We almost can't do anything without using our hands.

Each of our fingers has a different function. What if one of our fingers is disabled? Can we still do what we want? Possibly, yes, but it will be more difficult the more advanced the arthritis is. And by difficult, I mean painful; even worse, as arthritis advances, you may cause even more damage to your finger joints, making even more difficult to move your fingers.

The types of arthritis that typically attacks our fingers are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis commonly affects those of more advanced years, but rheumatoid arthritis can affect anyone of any age.

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that is a result of years of wear and tear on the joints. Eventually the body is unable to keep up with the damage, and the connective tissue is unable to regenerate to its former elasticity. When this happens, it can harden and crack, allowing the bones of the joints to come in contact, resulting in pain. Do you crack your knuckles? This is one way to induce wear and tear of the finger joints, which can result in arthritis in fingers down the line.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder; basically, your immune system, for some reason, starts to attack the tissues around your joints, resulting in damage similar to that in osteoarthritis. This damage happens on a quicker timetable when compared with osteoarthritis, however, and those with rheumatoid arthritis will often eventually experience arthritis in fingers.

In both cases the symptoms are the same: joint pain, swelling, cracking sounds, stiffness and immobility. While the arthritis is not yet advanced, you may only experience some swelling and joint pain, which may go away in time. But you may also hear some cracking sounds when you move your finger joints, which is a sign of damaged connective tissues. Eventually, if the arthritis in fingers gets worse, your fingers may become immobile and deformed, as the flexibility and mobility of your fingers is lost.

The pain of arthritis in fingers can be relieved through a variety of treatments. Just as with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, there are medications that can relieve the pain and reduce the inflammation. Some less advanced cases may also be treated with physical therapy, while more advanced cases may require special surgery to restore mobility. There are also a variety of natural remedies that can be used to treat arthritis when it attacks your fingers, though the most important of them involve a healthy diet and lifestyle, in order to help your body fight the effects of arthritis.

Arthritis Treatment: Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Now

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic, chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder that affects, roughly, two million Americans. While it preferentially attacks joints, it may affect other organ systems. These other areas include the lungs, heart, peripheral nervous system, skin, bone marrow, and eyes.

If Rheumatoid arthritis is suspected, a patient should be referred to a rheumatologist (arthritis specialist) as soon as possible. The current goal of Rheumatoid arthritis therapy is to treat and control disease before any joint damage has occurred. A rheumatologist can help by making the diagnosis and initiating disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) to slow down disease as soon as possible.

One new development in establishing the early diagnosis is the 2010 American College of Rheumatology/ European League Against Rheumatism Classification Criteria that were developed to identify patients earlier in the course of disease, so that correct DMARD therapy can be initiated quickly. These criteria use a point system that is weighted toward the number of joints that are inflamed. A total of 6 points or more is consistent with a diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis, and up to 5 points can come from the joint exam. Other parts of the criteria from which points are tallied up include elevated blood markers of inflammation, symptoms lasting longer than 6 weeks, and positive blood tests for either rheumatoid factor or anti-CCP. What is important to realize is the primary factor that establishes the diagnosis is the presence of inflamed joints.

Once the diagnosis is established, aggressive treatment with DMARDS should be started. These DMARDS are usually a combination of standard "old school" DMARDS such as methotrexate along with "new school" DMARDS, called biologics. These latter medicines are proteins that are used to specifically target the immune abnormalities that characterize rheumatoid arthritis.

Using this approach, it is possible to get the majority of Rheumatoid arthritis patients, seen early, into remission. While remission is a target that rheumatologists shoot for, the definition of remission varies depending on the remission-defining tool used. Nonetheless, they all have similar characteristics. There people who don't respond. These patients are referred to as "non-responders."

A non-responder is a patient with persistent disease despite current therapy. This may show up as persistent joint inflammation, elevated blood markers of systemic inflammation, or declining function.

A non-responder can be either primary... not responding right out of the chute, or secondary meaning they respond early on but then lose their response over time.

In either case, a switch in treatment is needed in order to prevent further functional decline and permanent joint damage.

How To Deal With Arthritis

Joint pain or rheumatic pain prompts a lot people to seek medical help because of the trouble and pain that it brings. Each individual has different pain threshold level. Sometimes seeing a doctor depends upon how much pain is experienced and how it is affecting a person's life. If joint pain is experienced but without swelling or fever, generally it is safe to wait and see what happens. However, if there is constant pain that is already interfering with a person's daily activities, seeking for a doctor's exam is advisable. If joint pain is accompanied with fever, sudden and considerable swelling with severe pain, it is best to see a doctor as well.

What type of doctor should you see then? A rheumatologist and an orthopedic surgeon are two types of doctors who deal with joint and muscle illnesses. Furthermore, an orthopedic surgeon focuses mostly on surgical treatment of these conditions. Although it may be appropriate to see these types of doctors, primary care doctors can very well handle non-complicated rheumatic problems and may only make referrals to specialists if the condition demands it.

The major complaint about arthritis is the pain that accompanies it. Most often, medicines that you can buy over the counter are the first treatment of choice for arthritic pain. There are two types of pain relievers that are used to alleviate the pain that goes with arthritis. Not one type though is perfect for all pains but however if used correctly, both types could be beneficial. These two main types are the simple pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs).

Acetaminophen is an example of a simple pain reliever that can be effective in controlling pain caused by arthritis. To determine its effectiveness, a medicine should be taken overtime and the same is true with acetaminophen. Two extra strength tablets taken three to four times daily and taken for several days should be enough to determine whether or not it will be effective for a long-term treatment plan. Acetaminophen's edge over the other pain reliever's is its known gentleness to the stomach and not causing gastrointestinal problems. However, it has its own share of accompanying risks as with other medicines. People who drink alcohol heavily or those who have underlying liver disease may encounter liver problems arising from acetaminophen medication. NSAIDs are medicines that relieve pain and decrease inflammation, the two classic symptoms of arthritis. Examples of these medicines are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium all of which are readily available over the counter without prescription. There are also many other NSAIDs that are available through prescription. NSAIDs have the added advantage of decreasing inflammation aside from relieving pain. Although NSAIDs are effective in relieving arthritis, these have accompanying serious effects. Ulcer or bleeding from the stomach poses a major concern to those who are taking these types of drugs. This side effect usually occurs more frequently in patients who have a previous history of stomach ulcers, elderly patients and those patients who have underlying illnesses and are taking other medications. Another major concern with NSAIDs is the possibility of harming kidney function. Although this poses a potential problem, thankfully its incidence is rather rare.

Maintaining an ideal body weight is not only the key to better health but this will also aid in treating arthritis. An obese or over weight individual carries extra load increasing the painful arthritic joint's wear and strain.

There are also some foods that may affect arthritis symptoms. These could either increase or decrease the symptoms. Fish oils have been found out to decrease the inflammation that usually comes with rheumatoid arthritis. There are also specific foods that cause arthritis symptoms to flare up, although these vary from person to person. Identifying your own food culprit may help you and your doctor properly deal with your arthritis.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Osteoarthritis and Loss of Joint Mobility Due to Breakdown of Cartilage

Nearly everyone, over the course of their lives, will experience some sort of joint pain. Chronic pain in the form of osteoarthritis is the mot common disorder affecting the joints and is nearly universal in people over the age of 80. For this reason, it is important that people know the symptoms of this degenerative disease, as well as some of the methods that doctors use to reduce pain and keep the joints healthy.

While osteoarthritis is common in people over age 80, it begins to manifest itself in people who are in their 40s and 50s. Below the age of 40, it is mostly men who have the degenerative joint disease and it is usually related to some sort of traumatic experience. From ages 40 to 70, though, it is mostly women who have osteoarthritis. By the time people hit their 80s, however, the distribution is even between men and women.

Osteoarthritis is referred to as a degenerative joint disease due to the loss of cartilage protecting the bones in the joints and the changes this loss of cartilage leads to. Pain in the joints, stiffness when using the affected joints, and occasional swelling are some of the symptoms indicating a potential loss of cartilage. It can begin with trauma, inflammation, or defects in the way the body makes and breaks down cartilage.

The end result of any of the causes of osteoarthritis, though, is that the protective cartilage breaks down and the bones become exposed and are able to rub up against each other when a joint is moved through a range of motion. Osteophytes, also known as bone spurs, can develop on the affected bones in an effort to maintain the stability of the joint. Ligaments and tendons can also become irritated and inflamed, and the muscles can get weaker, leading to further instability.

For older people, osteoarthritis of the spinal column can be a major problem. While the risk of herniating a disc lessens as people age, the risk of arthritis causing serious back pain increases. Osteoarthritis of the vertebrae can increase the chances of damaging the ligaments. Ligament damage in the back can be debilitating and can take months or years to heal fully.

A back doctor should evaluate anyone who has potential osteoarthritis of the spine, and x-rays can confirm the degeneration of the cartilage in any of the joints most affected. If the disease is suspected or confirmed by x-rays, it then becomes important to maintain joint function, range of motion, and the health of the cartilage protecting against bone rubbing on bone. Stretching and flexibility exercises can be used to mitigate the loss of mobility.

Various treatments can be used for reducing pain from osteoarthritis, including massage, acupuncture, and topical ointments to reduce pain and swelling. In extreme cases, surgery and total joint replacement may be used if all else has failed. Supplements such as MSM and glucosamine and chondroitin, if given enough time to work, may help reduce the rate of cartilage breakdown in some individuals.

What Can Be Done to Treat Arthritis in Cats?

A recent study shows that more than 20% of the older cats in the USA suffer from arthritis. Arthritis in cats causes their joints to deteriorate and cause pain in the tendons, most commonly due to their old age and athleticism. Arthritis is found normally even in people due to less movement and also in other pets mostly due to their high age, high level of activity and also their fatness. Other reasons causing feline arthritis can be due to stress or mental trauma. Osteoarthritis arthritis in the most commonly found kind in cats where the joints wear and tear due to age causes inflammation and dislocation of joints, severe pain, limping, stiffness and lameness.

Due to the technological advancement, arthritis in cats can now be properly treated with the help of effective medicines and natural remedies that will help maintain the vitality and health in future. Although it has been noted that in some cases the disease is not curable due to the stage of the disease, nature of arthritis and cat's physical condition at the time when the disease was spotted. Unlike dogs, cats are difficult to be identified when having pain or when limping, because slow movement is already an issue of old age and it is difficult to be distinguished with arthritis. However the following symptoms will help you diagnose any probable condition of arthritis in cats. There might be a different walking style, signs of limping or inflexibility, having more sleep, unwillingness to jump, urinating or defecating outside the space allotted, losing weight, appearing thinner due to muscle loss and other mental attitude changes such as more depression and annoyance.

To diagnose the arthritis properly, your veterinarian would examine the cat thoroughly at all stances after considering any possible symptoms. Additional blood tests, screening, X-Rays and joint juices would be taken from the affected joint and a detailed analysis procedure would be performed. The vet also may have to control the joints in order to know the state of stiffness and the necessary steps that would have to be taken.

Cats suffering from Osteoarthritis can be treated in a number of ways such as medicinal and natural treatments as well as physical in-home therapies. It can be difficult for cat owners to see their pets under distress. Even before their treatment, cats suffering from arthritis can be comforted through low-surfaced orthopedic beds, short-sided litter boxes and healthy food to compensate the strength lost due to arthritis. Cure for arthritis in cats is most commonly provided with the long-term use of dietary supplements such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin and fatty acids. These are components in the fluid of the joints and cartilage in a cat's body and regular quality dosage of these drugs can lead to fast recovery of the joints tissue damage. Steroids such as Tramadol, corticosteroids such as Prednisone, and anti-inflammatory non-steroidal drugs such as Metacam work as quick pain relievers but their expenditure has dropped due to their side effects. Such medications are popular among athlete-pet owners. Acupuncture, acupressure, swimming, massage, exercise, encouraging more activity and other such physical therapy supplemented with an above-stated medication greatly increases the chances of recovery and even strengthens the body, giving you a more energetic and in shape cat that you wanted, always wandering around and being with you during your loneliness.

Avoiding NSAIDs in Dog Arthritis Treatment

Dog arthritis is a crippling disease that attacks the cartilage in the joints. As the joint loses more cartilage, bone spurs and scar tissue start to develop. These make the joint stiffer and cause chronic pain and inflammation in the joints. As a result, the arthritic dog experiences lameness. When the cartilage loss becomes too extensive, "bone to bone" contact occurs. This is when the bones on either side of the joint are exposed to higher levels of friction, without the cartilage's cushioning effect and smooth surface, so that using the joint becomes very difficult, resulting in severe pain.

Though veterinary science has yet to discover a cure for this debilitating disease, there are many ways to prevent it from progressing to a stage where the arthritis will greatly reduce a dog's quality of life. Treatments for dog arthritis must aim at stopping cartilage loss, as well as protecting and supporting chondrocytes (the cells in the cartilage matrix), reducing inflammation and relieving pain.

The basis for any dog arthritis treatment plan is the management of pain and inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs have been a common arthritis treatment for the second half of the twentieth century. There is no doubt that these drugs are effective and have contributed to the improvement and comfort of many arthritic dogs.

Nevertheless, there is now a growing concern over the safety of anti-inflammatory drugs, especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This growing concern from veterinarians and informed dog owners is based on the mechanism of action of NSAIDs. These drugs reduce inflammation by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory properties of COX-enzymes. Unfortunately, COX-enzymes have several important functions in a dog's body such as the production of platelets, the maintenance of the protective lining of the stomach and upper intestines and maintaining sufficient blood flow in the kidneys. So there is a concern that some NSAIDs may cause the development of stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding, excessive blood thinning or even renal failure. All of which have the potential to be fatal.

These side effects were far more common with the older NSAIDs, which had an effect on all of the COX-enzymes (for example, aspirin). With the development of newer non-steroidals and the requirement of thorough clinical trials prior to these newer NSAIDs being registered in the market, there has been a marked reduction in side effects. These newer NSAIDs are known as COX-2 selective drugs, which means they have less of an effect on the "good" functions of COX-enzymes and mainly focus on reducing inflammation, ie "bad" and debilitating functions. Despite these advances in research and development, there are still some dogs that do not tolerate NSAIDs regardless of whether they are COX-2 selective or not, so it is important to monitor all dogs closely for side effects while they are on the drugs and carry out a blood screening test to check the kidney function before and during treatment.

It is a good idea to formulate treatment plans that are less dependent solely on NSAIDs. The following are dog arthritis treatment options that can reduce dependency on NSAIDs or in some cases, may function as a complete substitute:

NMDA antagonists help reduce pain by "calming down" overactive neural pain pathways. Common NMDA antagonists include Gabapentin, Amantadine, Ketamine and Amitriptyline.

Opioids provide stronger pain relief than other prescription painkillers and have very few side effects. They contain substances that bind to the pain receptors found in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract to decrease the brain's awareness of pain. Examples of opioids are Tramadol, Morphine, Fentanyl, Buprenorphine, and Codeine. Unfortunately, these drugs are not available in all states and countries as some local laws identify opioids as controlled substances.

Stem cell therapy is considered by some as a controversial treatment option but has been showing good potential. Conversely, stem cell therapy for dogs does deserve the notoriety it has been given. With this method, stem cells are harvested from the dog's body fat, which are then injected to the arthritic joint. Stem cells are able to stop the cartilage damage, promote cartilage regrowth, and suppress inflammation.

Cortisone is a more potent anti-inflammatory than NSAIDs. It can help to settle "acute on chronic" pain. However, it should never be considered as first option and it should not be used for more than two to three times a year. Furthermore, Cortisone should not be used together with NSAIDs.

Joint health supplements are health products made from natural ingredients. They are believed to reverse some of the effects of the disease and provide the necessary building blocks for cartilage repair. When choosing the right supplement, make sure the product contains the following:

-D-Phenylalanine. An essential amino acid found in the breast milk of mammals. It is reputed to be a natural analgesic.

-SAM-e. Also known as S-Adenosyl methionine, SAM-e is a substance produced and consumed by the liver. Studies have shown that it has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

-Low molecular weight Chondroitin. An important component of cartilage, it can suppress inflammation, inhibit cartilage-destroying agents, promote the growth of new cartilage and the production of synovial fluid.

-Glucosamine HCL. A structural component of cartilage responsible for the tissue's spongy texture.

-Fish Oil Omega-3 Fatty Acids. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid that can reduce inflammation. Studies have also revealed that omega-3 helps to protect the existing cartilage from further damage.

-Niacinamide. Also called Vitamin B3, this nutrient can improve cartilage production, prevent further cartilage damage, and improve joint mobility.

-Avocado and Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU). This substance has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and can help improve chondrocyte metabolism.

Lemon - The Common Fruit That Can Relieve Your Arthritis Pain and Other Diseases!

Lemons are invaluable in cases of gout, malaria, rheumatism, and scurvy. They are also useful in fevers and liver complaints.

Lemons are a great source of vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

I have found the juice of one lemon taken in a little hot water could remove dizzy feelings in the head and leave you feeling refreshed. Its cleansing properties help the liver with the detoxification process.

The juice of a lemon in hot water may be taken night and morning with advantage by sufferers from rheumatism. In the "lemon cure" for gout and rheumatism, the patients begins with one lemon per day and increase the quantity until they arrive at a dozen or more. But I think this is carrying it to excess. Dr. Fernie recommends the juice of one lemon mixed with an equal proportion of hot water, to be taken pretty frequently, in cases of rheumatic fever.

A prescription for malaria, given in the Lancet, is the following: "Take a full-sized lemon, cut it in thin transverse slices, rind and all, boil these down in an earthenware jar containing a pint and a half of water, until the decoction is reduced to half a pint. Let this cool on the window-sill overnight, and drink it off in the morning." A Florentine doctor discovered that fresh lemon juice will alleviate the pain of cancerous ulceration of the tongue. His patient sucked slices of lemon.

A German doctor found that fresh lemon juice kills the diptheria bacillus (basically lemon juice because of the low pH is antibacterial), and advises a gargle of diluted lemon juice to diptheric patients. Such a gargle is excellent for sore throat.

Dr. Fernie recommends lemon juice for nervous palpitation of the heart. Lemon juice rubbed on to corns will eventually do away with them, and if applied to unbroken chilblains will effect a cure.

The juice of a lemon is also an old remedy for the removal of freckles and blackheads from the face. It should be rubbed in at bedtime, after washing with warm water.

4 Cheap Treatments for Arthritis Knee Pain

How to Read the Confusing Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis Knee Pain

Athletes, very active people and those of us who are overweight are usually the prime time people who will probably develop some type of arthritis knee pain in our life. The confusion begins with the signs and symptoms of any type of joint pain. Just remember that swelling, inflammation, point tenderness and stiffness are early warning signs that your knees could be heading towards arthritis.

If we have those signs and symptoms does that really mean we have arthritic knees? Not necessarily. The best way to determine if you have arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis or even osteoarthritis is to have your blood tested. If you have been suffering for a while it is best to visit your doctor soon and find out exactly what is going on.

Blood work can go a long way in helping you determine exactly what you have. Many of us, when pain persists in our knees, we just mutter: "I've got arthritis in my knees" but we really don't know. People who actually suffer from arthritis honestly can tell the difference between normal joint pains and arthritis joint pains.

Age Factors Can Help Sort out the confusion of arthritis knee pain:

Rheumatoid arthritis usually develops sooner than osteoarthritis, so you might want to take that into consideration. As you know, rhuematoid arthritis basically lost a couple of nuts along the way and starts attacking your body without any known cause.

Osteoarthritis on the other hand can be a direct result of the "old injury bug" that has been re-injured many times in your life. Heck it could be a meniscus that was torn when you were 18 years old and now that you are in your 40's that rubbing and irritation could lead to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis usually creaps into your world in the middle to upper years of your life.

Other factors that can lead to arthritis knee pain

  • age

  • genetics

  • body weight

  • diet -this is a biggy

This I know about arthritis knee pain. If you let it go long enough it will come back to bite you in the butt. Go see a doctor to determine if you have some loose objects floating around in your knee. It might require minor surgery to get it fixed and then you will be as good as new. If not, they will have some answers for you and so do we.

I know there are times when your knees really hurt when you are walking. Listen to your body and when the pain is present, don't be bull headed and think you can fight through the pain. You will probably win, but in the long run the arthritis will win.

There are tons of exercises you can do to help increase the blood flow through your knees. Follow those specific exercises and recommendations. Not only will your heart be happy but so will your knees with all that extra blood flowing through your knee joints.

Weight loss: I know how hard it is to lose weight when you can do much physically. But you always have a good part of the day when you could be doing some type of physical exercise. Follow the Nike slogan and "Just Do It".

Changing your eating habits: Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins/minerals and they have a cleansing effect which allows your body to begin repairing itself. Instead of grabbing a bag of potato chips, start grabbing a bag of carrots. You'll be surprised when your body begins to respond favorably.

Supplementation: I'm such a firm believer in supplementation because I am living proof it works. Supplementing with the proper vitamins, minerals, amino acids and digestive enzymes is critical to your overall health, weight loss and arthritis pain. On the site, we have two excellent options for you that are specific to arthritis and joint pain. I can give you the number to a place that we purchase liquid vitamins from. We have drank this formula since 1998 and we don't see a need to stop it. It works.

In all honesty, I truly believe your body will heal itself from the inside out if you give it the proper ingredients. Specific arthritis knee pain is a sign that should not be ignored. Listen to your body, follow up with some type of treatment and exercise and over time you will find yourself in much better shape, you will be much happier and in less pain.

You can beat arthritis knee pain.

6 Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis - Could I Really Have RA?

The signs of rheumatoid arthritis are not as hidden and unnoticeable as some people seem to believe. Although there are indeed rheumatoid arthritis signs that some people might not be able to pick up on, there are still PLENTY of other symptoms that you'll be able to notice and clearly identify. What are those signs & symptoms? Take a look below to find out.

6 Typical Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis...

1. Joint Pain: The most obvious of all arthritis signs. If you have sudden, lingering joint pain which can not be contributed to an injury of some kind, it could very well be the onset of RA. Most be a constant, unwavering pain that doesn't fade over time.

2. Joint Fatigue: Unexplained fatigue that is not your typical level of "tired". Your joints ache and it would just be better for them if you were to lay down and not do anything at all.

3. Low Energy: A drastic decrease in energy level. This is a bit like joint fatigue, except that it is an "all over body" feeling which effects more than just joints.

4. Swollen Joints: This isn't a little redness, this is SWOLLEN to the extreme. Your joints will be enlarged, red, tender, and of course painful. This "flare up" won't be just a freak occurrence, but more than likely a DAILY thing. This is one of the signs of rheumatoid arthritis that will NOT be able to go unnoticed, period.

5. Low Grade Fever: One of those signs of rheumatoid arthritis that may be hard to pick up on -- as this may be something that you just pass off as being the usual "flu". Be sure to take notice of the length of the flu and/or other possible flu-like symptoms. If it is in fact just a flu, then it should pass in time and not return too frequently. On the other hand, if it IS a fever brought on by RA and it is ALSO accompanied by other signs of rheumatoid arthritis, well, you can put the pieces together, can't you?

6. Swollen Glands: Glands may start to swell for no apparent reason. If there is no other cause (that you know of), then it is indeed possible you could be suffering from RA. As usual, take into account if you are experiencing other signs of rheumatoid arthritis so you don't make a false diagnosis; thereby scaring yourself into unnecessary treatments.

Remember, these 6 signs of rheumatoid arthritis won't be experienced every "now & again" -- but SEVERAL times a week, if not on a daily basis. This, without a doubt, is the most important aspect in determining if you have RA. If it's just a temporary thing that passes and doesn't return, well, then you're probably in the clear.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Psoriasis Treatment - May Hot Peppers Help?

Hot peppers (Chili peppers) include a special ingredient called Capsaicin in their composition. Capsaicin is the particular ingredient which makes Chili peppers taste hot. Pure Capsaicin is a colorless and odorless crystalline compound.

Some plants naturally have Capsaicin in them for the protection of their leaf from animals eating them, and possibly also for the protection from certain fungi. The highest concentrations of Capsaicin are usually found in the fleshy parts of the seeds and the fruits of the genus Capsicum plants (i.e. chili peppers, red or green peppers).

Capsaicin causes a sensation of heat anywhere it comes in the contact with the skin (especially in the sensitive skin areas) or the mucous membranes of a human or an animal.

Capsaicin is used in the sprays for the riot control, as it will cause a severe burning if it gets onto the face or into the eyes of a human.

In medicine Capsaicin is most commonly used as a component of the Over the Counter (OTC) pain relievers for arthritis, and sometimes also as a circulatory stimulant. Over the Counter pain relieving creams usually contain Capsaicin in concentrations between 0.025 % and 0.075 %. Some studies show that Capsaicin can also help to reduce the pains, associated with Psoriatic Arthritis.

Topical creams with Capsaicin help to relieve the pain in the nerve endings near the skin surface. Capsaicin interrupts the action of molecules at the nerve endings, which affect how the brain recognizes pain, itch, and heat. When Capsaicin is removed, the nerve endings recover back to their normal state.

May Capsaicin also help in psoriasis treatment? And if yes, then how will it - topically or internally?

Several double-blind placebo controlled studies have shown that a topical application of a 0.025% cream with Capsaicin has helped to sufficiently relieve the skin symptoms in the people with psoriasis when compared to the placebo controlled group of people with psoriasis.

Due to the burning sensation caused by Capsaicin when it comes in contact with mucous membranes (mucous membranes include mouth, gums, stomach, intestines, nose, bronchial tubes, and urinary tract), it is often used in food products to make them taste spicy or "hot".

According to some studies, Capsaicin may also cause the release of endorphins in the body - the compounds produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during exercise, a sexual intercourse, an excitement etc. Endorphins cause a feeling of pleasure when released into the human body.

Some people with psoriasis say that they also benefit from the dietary intake of foods containing Capsaicin. Other people can not use Capsaicin as an internal psoriasis treatment, due to that, hot peppers (Chili peppers or Cayenne peppers) and other products with Capsaicin cause heartburn in them.

I suspect that Capsaicin may work in psoriasis treatment due to acting as an irritant for the psoriatic plaques. Just as with Cryotherapy (treatment with the use of ultra low temperatures), Capsaicin may irritate the skin due to causing the sensation of a strong heat on the skin, and thus to cause the skin to "pay attention" to what is going on with the site and to adjust accordingly.

Capsaicin may also serve a natural anti-inflammatory agent for the psoriatic plaques.

Learning About Rheumatoid Arthritis - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Many people have a hard time defining exactly what rheumatoid arthritis is. It is a common form of arthritis that affects the joints. It normally occurs in small joints such has hands and feet. This article will give a brief description of it and its symptoms, causes and treatments.

This type is one of the most common types of arthritis. It usually occurs on both sides of the body. This is the number one way it is diagnosed. The symmetry of this form is very unique. Besides the joints it is also associated with effects of the skin, eyes, nerves, blood and heart. All types of this crippling disorder occur when joints become inflamed. There are various reasons the joints become inflamed and the inflammation usually leads to intense pain.

The most common symptom is joint swelling or inflammation. Things like stiffness and fatigue are also associated with this type. These symptoms can be continuous or infrequent. Sometimes the pain occurs over months of even years. A remission state can be entered; however it is likely to come back. As previously stated this form of arthritis usually occurs in the smaller joints of the body. The inflammation or swelling is usually visible and can be seen by the naked eye.

The causes of it have yet to be determined. There are many theories, but none are proven to be more accurate than the other. Some believe that this type is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and hormonal factors. Another theory is that internal factors cause the immune system to attack the joints. The most common hypothesis is that viruses and bacteria destroy joints. Because none of these theories have been proven accurate all are taken into consideration when deciding upon a treatment.

The normal treatment for this type of debilitating disease is medication. Multiple forms of medication can be used such as pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs. Other treatments include rest, therapy, and on occasion, surgery. The type of therapy is directly related to where the pain is concentrated and what causes the pain.

This type can affect anyone. The most common misconception of pain is that only people of older age can become subject to it. This is untrue and it is important to remember that anyone can get arthritis. It is a common disorder and is often untreated. The reason this particular type is frequently untreated is because it is normally unreported. Many people do not notice their joint pain as arthritis. Like mentioned before, it can take many years to become extremely painful.

This particular debilitation can commonly be mistaken for many things. Until the pain is heightened most people do not even take it into consideration. It has many distinct symptoms and can easily be diagnosed. Even though the causes of it are not exact, there are many theories. These theories are all taken into consideration when making the diagnosis and deciding upon a treatment. Rheumatoid arthritis is a common disorder and should be taken seriously.

Some Of The Main Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms To Watch Out For

What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops in some people who experience the skin condition psoriasis. The skin is in a constant process of regeneration, and completely replaces itself over the course of a month. New skin cells form underneath the outer layer of older skin, which then sloughs off to expose the newer skin.

Psoriasis develops when the regeneration process occurs too quickly- the new skin cells develop faster than they should and the old skin is not shed quick enough. This causes scaly red patches of skin to form, known as plaques, which can become very sore and itchy. These psoriasis plaques are usually found in localized patches on the knees, elbows, buttocks or head but can be found anywhere on the body and can occasionally cover a wider area.

Psoriatic arthritis generally only develops in psoriasis sufferers, although this does not mean that psoriasis sufferers will automatically develop the condition, nor does it mean that those with the most severe psoriasis symptoms will develop more severe forms of psoriatic arthritis. The condition occurs in around five to ten percent of people with psoriasis. In addition, around fifteen percent of people develop psoriatic arthritis before experiencing the symptoms of psoriasis.

Different Types of Psoriatic Arthritis and Their Symptoms

There are five different types of psoriatic arthritis, and each type has its own symptoms and treatment.

Symmetric arthritis; this affects the same joints in pairs, on each side of the body; for example both knee joints will be affected. The symptoms resemble a milder form of rheumatoid arthritis, although it can occur in more severe forms and cause deformity to the joints. Symmetrical arthritis is the second most common form of psoriatic arthritis and tends to cause more severe psoriasis symptoms.

Asymmetric arthritis; this tends to affect only a few joints, generally less than five, and joints are affected individually rather than in pairs. Although any joint can be affected, it is most common on the fingers and toes, and can cause a swelling in fingers known as 'sausage digits'. Asymmetrical arthritis is one of the most common forms of psoriatic arthritis, and is milder and less progressive than other types.

Digital Interphalangeal Predominant (DIP) arthritis; this affects the last joint in the toes and fingers, and can be mistaken for osteoarthritis.

Arthritis mutilans; this is a rare form of psoriatic arthritis, affecting fewer than 5% of sufferers, but can be severe. It can destroy cartilage and bone tissue, and can cause deformity to the hands, feet or spine. It generally occurs in flare ups and subsequent remissions, which are reflected in the symptoms of psoriasis.

Spondylitis; this is an inflammation of the spinal joints and discs, and can be very severe, resulting in spinal deformities if not treated. It can also affect the joints and ligaments in the arms and legs. The predominant symptoms include stiffness in the back and neck joints, tenderness and inflammation.

People with psoriatic arthritis may develop more than one of these types and can show symptoms of several at any one time, which can make diagnosis of one single type more difficult. There are also other types of arthritis that sufferers of psoriasis are at risk of developing; these are gout, which causes sudden inflammation in the toes, feet or hands, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and Reiter's Syndrome, which causes arthritis as well as inflammation of the urethra and eyes.

Other Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms

In addition to the above symptoms, there are several more which can indicate the presence of the condition;

  • Swelling, throbbing, redness and stiffness in the affected joints, particularly first thing in the morning or after a period of rest

  • Reduced range of movement in the affected joints of digits

  • Swelling to the fingers or toes, as the joints and connective tissues become inflamed

  • General tiredness

  • Changes in finger and toe nails; nails may become thicker or become 'pitted' in appearance

These symptoms can be mild or more severe and can flare up and die down in a similar manner to the symptoms of psoriasis, and the two conditions can even mirror each other at times. Psoriatic arthritis occurs more frequently in the finger and toe joints, particularly the end joints, but can affect any joint in the body.

Although there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, there are many treatments available to relieve the symptoms and avoid further damage to the joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief - Massage Therapy For Managing Arthritic Pain

Massage therapy will not cure rheumatoid arthritis but it will definitely offer a rheumatoid arthritis pain relief and will lessen the stress associated with it.

Why Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is considered one of the popular alternative or complementary rheumatoid arthritis treatments because:

- It lessens muscle tension so that stiffness and muscle pain is reduced.
- It promotes better blood flow.
- It improves joint movement and flexibility.
- It reduces inflammation and the pain that goes along with it.
- It is relaxing hence people don't feel stressed out.

According to a recent study, massage therapy has helped to increase grip strength in the hands of people who suffer from arthritis. In a four week period, a massage was given once a week to participants in the study. In addition, the participants were asked to perform the same massage routine on a daily basis.

Different Types of Massage Therapy

There are different types of massage therapy used for managing arthritic pain. These are:

1. Swedish Massage. Swedish massage is a whole body massage that involves the following techniques:

  • Effleurage where there is a gliding movement of the hands that is meant to relax the muscles and calm the nerves. The pressure used is light to medium.

  • Petrissage which involves kneading of the flesh.

  • Friction strokes which are supposed to attack deeper problem areas in the muscles. This technique involves the most pressure.

  • Vibration where parts of the body are gently shaken.

  • Tapotement is a tapping movement which can be done with cupped hands, using the side of the hands or by curling the hand into a loose fist.

2. Myofascial Release. During a myofascial massage, the patient is massaged using long and stretching strokes. This approach releases tension in the fascia, the connective tissue surrounding the muscles.

3. Trigger Point Therapy. In this approach, trigger points are identified then pressure is applied (using the fingers) so that they no longer cause pain to other parts of the body.

4. Reflexology. Reflexology is similar to trigger point therapy in that they both use pressure to ease pain but the former is restricted to points in the hands and feet.

5. Acupressure and Shiatsu. In acupressure and shiatsu, the fingers are used to apply pressure on specific regions of the body. They are similar to acupuncture in that they all "attack" the same points in the body to help release or control pain.

6. Deep Tissue Massage. This approach attacks the areas beneath the surface muscles so strong pressure is usually applied.

Massage therapy provides a safe rheumatoid arthritis relief and while it is true that it doesn't eliminate arthritis altogether, it improves quality of life by effectively managing the pain that comes along with it.

How To Cure Psoriasis Fast Within Days

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes cells of the skin to grow at a fast rate, thus causing red, irritated blotches to appear on the skin. When this happens, the skin will scale, dry out and most likely be extremely itchy.

In this article, I will recommend some effective remedies and treatments on how to cure Psoriasis fast. These are all natural and safe, and have been proven to work on thousands of Psoriasis sufferers.

1) Spend Time Outside Each Day

It's a good idea to get outside each day, as the natural sunlight contains ultraviolet rays which can help reduce any inflammation and help the skin cells heal faster. It's recommended to get at least 5-10 minutes of exposure to sunlight each day. Even if the sun isn't bright, this will still benefit the skin. You also want to make sure you do not spend too much time in the sun, as this will have an opposite effect and can make your Psoriasis worse.

2) Use Coal Tar Each Day

An often overlooked remedy on how to cure Psoriasis is Coal Tar. Coal Tar is an effective aid in curing Psoriasis, and it comes in cream, oil or lotion form which makes it easy to apply to the skin. It's been proven that Coal Tar helps reduce inflammation, gets rid of itchiness, and stops scaling. There are also shampoo's that have Coal Tar in it that you can use on the scalp.

3) Try Light Therapy

There are special light therapies, one called Psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA), which is another effective treatment on how to cure Psoriasis fast. During this light therapy, ultraviolet A is shot down on the infected area of the skin and has been proven to help dry up the scales and heal Psoriasis quickly.

4) Boost Your Immune System

Your body naturally wants to heal itself from any ailments or conditions that are foreign to your natural state of health. When you provide the body with the proper nutrients, hydration, rest and supplements, it can cure Psoriasis on its own.

Whenever someone asks me, "How to cure Psoriasis?", I always ask them what their diet is. Diet is the most overlooked factor, and it's probably the most important in getting rid of Psoriasis. If you're consuming foods that aren't nourishing your body and providing the cells with what they need, then you're making it very difficult to get better.

You want to be consuming as many vegetables as possible, and avoiding sugars, dairy and meats. Not only that, but I recommend taking some good supplements - such as vitamins and minerals. There are some good oils that contain essential fatty acids that your body also needs as well, such as coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or sunflower oil. These oils, when ingested, will do wonders for the skin.

Osteoarthritis - Not Just Wear and Tear

An interesting study out of the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. demonstrates this principle quite clearly. Researchers performed a double blind placebo controlled study of patients scheduled for knee replacement. Half the patients received a tablespoon of high potency cod liver oil each day and the remainder received a placebo. As the original knees were removed, they were analyzed for enzymatic markers indicating pain and inflammation. The results were quite striking. The markers for both pain and inflammation were significantly reduced in the active group compared to the placebo group. In their published research, they indicated their belief that even this single measure could significantly reduce the incidence of knee replacements. Since joints can normally only be replaced twice and don't last all that long, delaying or preventing the need is critically important for long term health and quality of life.

Other research has demonstrated that some people are sensitive to the Nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes and peppers). Proteins in these vegetables have an affinity for joint tissue and since many suffer some degree of leaky gut syndrome, some of these foreign proteins pass undigested into the blood stream and bond to joint tissues. The immune system attacks the foreign proteins and inadvertently causes collateral damage to the tough but delicate and all important cartilage lining the ball and socket of each joint. Milk and gluten too, can wreak havoc on the joints of those who are sensitive.

Given the role of inflammation in Osteoarthritis, there are three approaches which may bring significant improvement or relief.

1) Use nutrient agents which many have reported to be effective in reducing inflammation and/or helping heal leaky gut syndrome, such as curcumin, Omega 3s, Equilib nutrient and Arthrimend.

2) Do a simple test of strictly eliminating suspected foods for at least three weeks to see if symptoms improve. This means carefully examining all mixed herbs and spices and prepared foods for eliminated substances.

3) Start doing consistent gentle but regular exercises and work up to full range of motion for joints.

This is beneficial for two reasons

a) Muscles should be taking up most of the strain on joints, so weak muscles = increased risk of joint pain and/or injury

b) When joints are taken to their full range of motion, it stimulates synovial fluid production. This is the lubricant which is critical in preventing cartilaginous damage between the ball and socket of joints.

One final word for Caucasian men and post menopausal women: Should you begin to experience unexplained hip pain and/or pain in the end knuckles of your middle three fingers, request your physician to order a serum ferritin test. If this blood test shows elevated ferritin levels, you may have Hemochromatosis (one of the most common genetic errors seen in Caucasians). If left untreated, the ongoing accumulation of iron will have serious brain/body health effects including substantially increased risk of liver cancer and dementia. For many, simply donating blood regularly will keep iron levels in the optimum range and helps save lives.

I personally use all of the above tools to very good effect.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

10 Ways to Manage Arthritis Foot Pain

Diabetics are not the only ones to suffer foot pain, people with arthritis are also prone to foot pain. Due to the fact that the foot has 33 joints, it is especially prone to arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by the inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, and often includes an increase of joint fluid. Walking and moving is often extremely difficult for those with arthritis foot pain.

What causes arthritis foot pain? There are different causes, but those that put a person at greater risk include:

- Injury and strain not properly taken care of

- Bacteria and viral infections

- Certain disorders such as ileitis and colitis

- Certain prescription drugs and illegal drug use

- Genetics

In addition to the above causes, there are two forms of arthritis that can lead to foot pain:

1. Rheumatoid arthritis - This is a systemic disease that causes non-specific inflammation of joints belonging to the hands and feet. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis may result in the destruction of the joints and cause serious, chronic foot problems including hammertoes, bunions, etc.

2. Osteoarthritis - This is a degenerative form of arthritis, and it often affects more than one joint. Osteoarthritis is more common among the elderly, obese or those who've suffered a physical trauma. Osteoarthritis can cause changes in the foot bones such as cartilage destruction, spurs, narrowing of joint space and cystic changes.

How can arthritis foot pain be treated? Arthritis foot pain shouldn't be ignored, and should be treated as soon as possible. The following are 10 treatments you can try to help relieve inflammation and pain, as well as improve the flexibility of joints -

1. Exercises - Stretching, range of motion, and functional exercises are all ideal for preventing arthritis foot pain. These exercise help to improve blood flow to the feet, improve flexibility, and keep bones and muscles strong. It's best to ask your podiatrist to recommend exercises.

2. Lose weight - Weight puts plenty of stress and strain on your joints. If you are overweight, shedding excess pounds can make a significant difference to your feet.

3. Supportive footwear - It is imperative that you invest in shoes that provide your foot with support, and feature a high, wide toe box. Shoes with rocker-bottom soles are a good choice for those suffering from heel pain. You should avoid wearing high heel shoes and shoes with pointed toes. In fact, it's a good idea to have your shoes custom made or ask a podiatrist for recommendations.

You should also consider acquiring removable insoles or orthotics for your shoes to provide your foot with more support.

4. Knee, ankle and foot supports - Tensor bandages and braces that provide mild compression and support can help reduce stress placed on the joint.

5. Heat/cold therapy - Applying heating pads or ice packs to the inflamed joint can help relieve inflammation and sooth the aching joint.

6. Physical therapy - Talk to your doctor about physical therapy treatment.

7. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements - These supplements help to slow the deterioration of cartilage between joint bones and reduce pain. Talk to your doctor about these supplements before taking them.

8. Over-the-counter pain medication - If you are suffering from pain due to joint inflammation, common over-the-counter medications that may be effective at reducing inflammation and pain include aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

9. Anti-inflammatory creams and topical ointments - There are topical medications that help relieve acute pain (I.E. "JointFlex"), and those that relieve pain and reduce inflammation (I.E. "Aspercreme").

10. Surgery - Those who suffer from severe, disabling foot pain may require surgery to realign or replace joints.

Finally, remember that it is not normal for joints to hurt anywhere in your body. If you are experiencing frequent or recurring foot pain, it's time to visit your doctor.

Why Glucosamine and Chondroitin Are Better Than NSAIDs in Treating Canine Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints that is not exclusive to humans. Dogs can also suffer from osteoarthritis. Large dog breeds in particular, such as Labradors, German shepherds and Great Danes are more vulnerable to canine osteoarthritis. Because their weight adds more strain, this naturally causes more vulnerability to their joints.

In the past, typical forms of treatment used in managing canine osteoarthritis involve non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs have been very effective in easing the swelling and inflammation in the joints as well as blocking the pain. However, glucosamine supplements in recent studies have shown very positive results in those suffering arthritic joint pain. Glucosamine supplements when taken in conjunction with chondroitin sulfate actually have proven to be more effective in managing moderate to severe joint pain than NSAIDs. These supplements have been studied in people, but the therapy has shown to be just as effective in dogs, cats, horses, and so on.

Reasons as why supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin are seen to be a better alternative to NSAIDs in treating canine osteoarthritis are:

1. NSAIDs and nutritional supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin are both effective in treating canine osteoarthritis pain. However, compared to NSAIDs, glucosamine, and chondroitin are virtually devoid of any serious side effects. NSAIDs, on the other hand, can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney problems and liver failure, among a long list of others.

2. Glucosamine and chondroitin treat the pain at the source. Glucosamine stimulates the growth of new cartilage to replace cartilage tissue damaged, while chondroitin helps to provide lubrication to the joints. This leads to a healing that reduces and eliminates joint pain. On the other hand, NSAIDs only deal with the harmful enzymes causing the inflammation and pain. This is not necessarily a bad thing but when you factor in the risks of using such powerful drugs, long term use makes the risk to high.

3. Glucosamine and chondroitin are produced naturally in us and our pets. These two supplements for osteoarthritis also come from other natural sources, such as shrimp, crab and other shellfish. Unlike them, NSAIDs are created synthetically in pharmaceutical laboratories. Natural supplement is this case is a safe and effective choice.

4. Effects and visible improvements of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to the dogs health can be seen in as little as 7 days depending on the supplement used, to 6 weeks if pill form supplements are used. Long term effects can be sustained safely with daily use. NSAIDs are quick in relieving joint pain and inflammation but again, long term use puts your pet at risk for serious side effects.

5. NSAIDs are much more expensive than glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. For a dog that weighs around 50 pounds, a daily dosage of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements would cost around 50 cents a day. On the other hand, NSAIDs are expensive and $100 a month or more in treatment should be expected.

These are just a few reasons as to why glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are better than NSAIDs. There are more resources and more literature available online. Every pet owner with a dog or cat suffering from osteoarthritis should take time to get as much information as possible regarding the advantages of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements over NSAIDs.

These supplements have seen new complete formulas in liquid form come to market. Syn-flex for Pets is a leader in pharmaceutical liquid glucosamine sales. Syn-flex formulas, made for people and pets, combine the necessary glucosamine and chondroitin supplements and a host of others to help with inflammation and swelling. Syn-flex is dosed to your pet according to weight, and the liquid formula makes administering it to your pet very easy. The liquid formula is also fast acting since the body absorbs liquids almost completely letting the supplements give full benefit.

Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Cause Arthritis?

With Carpal Tunnel and Wrist Tendonitis being such a prevalent issue that involves various pains and symptoms in the wrist area, one can start to wonder if there is any connection to the development, onset, and progression of Arthritis.

The dynamic that causes Carpal Tunnel Symptoms can  cause Arthritis.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can cause Arthritis.

How does it do that? First we must look at the Carpal Tunnel Dynamic.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the end result of an ever increasing Pain Causing Dynamic.

We use our hands on a daily basis, and every time we contract a muscle, that muscle retains a tiny bit of that contraction. So we slowly get tighter and tighter. And we stay tighter and tighter, even when we sleep. This has our structures get less and less circulation, less new blood and nutrition in, and less waste product out. This becomes an irritation.

Also, or connective tissue starts to slowly shrink wrap, compressing our structures into an increasingly immobile state. Out body compensates as long as it can, but eventually starts to lose the battle, and that's when we start to feel pain. The factor we need to pay attention to in a context of getting or avoiding Arthritis, is the part of the dynamic where muscles get tight, and stay tight.

When a muscle is tight, the tendons that connect muscle to bone get pulled on. So whatever the tendon connects to gets pulled on.  So if your forearm muscles connect to the forearm, and the hand. If your forearm muscles are tight, they pull your hand bones into your forearm bones. This compresses your wrist joint(s).

Because muscles get tight and stay tight, even when you sleep your wrist and/or your finger joints are getting compressed. When you are using your hands during the day, every time you move your hands and fingers, those joints grind on each other.

The tighter your muscles, the more pressure the bones grind on each other with.

Ideally joints glide smoothly. If the bones are compressed, then they are grinding instead of gliding. This irritates and eventually causes wear and tear damage to the inside lining of the joint. This leads to Arthritis.

Having said that, once arthritis sets into the joint, you may or may not be able to heal. But it's safe to say, if you don't loosen the muscles and connective tissue and turn off the Inflammation process, it will continue to get worse. And even if it's not possible to heal the damage that's already there (I believe that it is), you can greatly reduce your Arthritis pain and symptoms. 

Arthritis and the Role of Natural Products

Over three million Canadians suffer with the debilitating symptoms of arthritis - pain and inflammation. Arthritis encompasses over 100 forms of inflammatory disorders with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis the most common. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition caused by wear and tear of the connective tissue and cartilage that cushions the joint. It typically occurs later in life and affects the weight bearing joints - hips, knees and spine - leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can appear suddenly at any age, and may fluctuate in severity. The immune system produces antibodies that cause damage to the joints leading to redness, pain, inflammation and deformation.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly prescribed to dampen the pain and inflammation of arthritis, yet their popularity is waning as many serious and life threatening side effects have emerged, such as stomach ulcers and bleeding, increased gut permeability, water retention and kidney damage. Recently, one class of these drugs (COX-2 inhibitors) has been linked to increased risk of heart attacks. Ironically, long term use of these drugs can actually worsen joint health by accelerating the breakdown of cartilage and destroying healthy cartilage tissue. With all these drawbacks, it is not surprising that many are turning to natural approaches to managing arthritis. Below are my top supplement recommendations for arthritis relief:


Celadrin is a blend of fatty acids that works to reduce inflammation, lubricate joints and promote healing, thus offering benefits for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis sufferers. In a study of sixty-four individuals with knee osteoarthritis the use of Celadrin was found to reduce pain and swelling, and improve flexibility and range of motion compared to placebo. (Hesslink, 2002) Celadrin is sold by various companies in tablets, capsules and creams and has no side effects. The recommended dosage is 1500 mg daily. Cream is applied twice daily.

Essential Fatty Acids

Both the omega-3s (fish oil) and omega-6s (borage, primrose oil) have been found to help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. These "good" fats work in part by boost levels of prostaglandins - hormone-like substances that have anti-inflammatory activity. Omega-3s are also very beneficial for heart health. Usual dosage of these oils is between 2 and 4 grams daily.


Glucosamine is nutrient used by the body in the production of cartilage. It stimulates the production of new cartilage, blocks enzymes that break down connective tissue, and reduces pain and inflammation. Glucosamine has been studied extensively for osteoarthritis and found to be comparable to NSAIDs, yet better tolerated. The recommended dosage is 1500 mg daily.

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)

SAMe is a nutrient produced in the body that is vital to the health and development of my tissues and organs. In the joint, SAMe is involved in cartilage formation and repair.

Supplementing with SAMe has been found to reduce the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and to stimulate cartilage formation in numerous studies. Recently, the US government Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality conducted a review of 10 studies on SAMe for osteoarthritis and found it equally effective to NSAIDs. (Hardy et al, 2002) SAMe is very safe and well tolerated. The recommended dosage range is 400 to 1200 mg of natural (Isoactive) SAMe daily.

All of these nutritional supplements are backed by solid clinical research and can offer great help to those suffering with arthritis.

Calming Inflammation

Inflammation is a process by which the body's defense system or immune system (white blood cells and other chemicals) reacts to infection, contact with foreign substances, or injury. It happens when you stub your toe, contract a virus or are exposed to a harsh chemical. Your immune system mounts a defense by releasing various chemicals which increase blood flow to the area, causing some or all of the following symptoms: redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. Inflammation may also be associated with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue and aching.

Although inflammation is a natural process designed to help the body fight infection and promote healing, in some cases the body's immune system over-reacts or reacts inappropriately. Such is the case with autoimmune diseases, where the body's normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues.

Lifestyle factors such as stress, poor diet and lack of sleep also contribute to inflammation. While there are often obvious signs of acute inflammation, such as redness and swelling, chronic inflammation, which occurs from lifestyle factors, can be more insidious. It can affect many body tissues including blood vessels, organs and nerves with few or no obvious signs until a serious health problem develops. Researchers have now identified inflammation as a factor in the development and progression of many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Thus it is essential to be aware of the factors that trigger inflammation and approaches to keep this process in check.

Inflammation and Disease

There is no debate that many chronic diseases that we face today are associated with inflammation. Below are some of the most common and concerning health problems linked to inflammation.


Arthritis is a general term used to describe various inflammatory conditions in the body. There are over 100 forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and Sj繹gren's syndrome. These diseases involve joint and musculoskeletal pain, and are often a result of inflammation of the joint lining. Some forms of arthritis are caused by autoimmune responses, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and others are caused by wear and tear to the joint (such as osteoarthritis) which leads to inflammation.


Chronic inflammation resulting from infection or chemical exposure has been identified as a risk factor for various forms cancer. For example, research has found strong associations for the Human papiloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer, Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection and gastric adenocarcinoma, the hepatitis B virus and cirrhosis and hepato-cellular carcinoma, asbestos-induced inflammation and lung cancer, and cigarette smoke-induced inflammation and lung, bowel and pancreatic cancer. These studies demonstrate that inflammation promotes tumor development.

Cancer and inflammation share another connection. It has been found that that chronic inflammation occurs due to tumor environment stress and that this generates a protective shield from the immune system. In other words, inflammation protects the tumor from attack by the immune system. Researchers have found that the release of inflammatory compounds such as cytokines, leucocytes, lymphocytes and macrophages contribute to the progression and metastasis. Furthermore, this inflammatory response can compromise the response to chemotherapy.


Mounting research is linking uncontrolled high levels of blood glucose to inflammation, which can lead to diabetic complication such as neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy. Researchers have found that high levels of blood glucose lead to glycation and oxidation of proteins, lipids and nucleotides, resulting in the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). It is thought that AGEs trigger various inflammatory processes which can lead to damage of the blood vessels throughout the body. Thus, controlling blood sugar is vital to the prevention of inflammation and diabetic complications.

Heart Disease

Over the past decade researchers have discovered a link between inflammation and heart disease. Studies suggest that inflammation is important in the development of atherosclerosis, the process in which fatty deposits build up in the inner lining of arteries increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Factors that promote atherosclerosis, including cigarette smoking, hypertension, atherogenic lipoproteins, and hyperglycemia, give rise to a variety of noxious stimuli that cause the release of chemicals and the activation of cells involved in the inflammatory process. These events contribute not only to the formation of plaque but may also contribute to its disruption resulting in the formation of a blood clot.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced in the liver during inflammation. Research has found that those with high CRP levels are at increased risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, macular degeneration and Type 2 diabetes. Your CRP level can be determined by a simple blood test ordered by your doctor.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the brain and spinal cord. Inflammation destroys the myelin, leaving multiple areas of scar tissue (sclerosis). Individuals with MS develop progressive neurological disability, and this is thought to be caused by degradation of the nerve cells. New research is looking at antioxidants that can protect nerve cells and reduce disease progression.

Lifestyle Factors that Promote Inflammation

Poor Diet - high glycemic (quick release) carbohydrates such as white bread and other refined foods raise blood glucose levels which trigger the release of advanced glycation end products which promote inflammation. Consuming saturated fat (animal products), eating overcooked (burned foods) and overeating also lead to inflammation in the body.

Lack of Sleep - adequate sleep is required by the body and immune system for regeneration and repair. Researchers have found that lack of sleep leads to the production of inflammatory compounds (cytokines). If you produce these inflammatory markers on a chronic basis it can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, and a shorter life span.

Stress - during stress, the body releases various hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol helps the body in the fight/flight situation by suppressing immune system function and reducing inflammation. If stress becomes chronic and the body can't make adequate stress hormones to turn the immune system off autoimmune diseases and inflammation can occur.

Obesity - fat cells secrete compounds, such as cytokines, that trigger inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Excess weight also puts strain on the joints, primarily the hips and knees. Over time this pressure can wear down cartilage and cause bone to grind against bone, triggering inflammation.

Controlling Inflammation

To control inflammation and its consequences, consider the following lifestyle approaches:

Diet: eat a plant-based diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and whole grains. Fish, nuts, seeds (hemp and flax) and olive oil contains essential fatty acids that help reduce inflammation. Green tea contains antioxidants that reduce chronic disease risk.

Lifestyle: work on reducing your stress levels. Try yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and breathing exercises.

Supplements: to reduce inflammation, consider the following:

繚 Aged garlic extract - reduces multiple risk factors for heart disease. It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduces LDL oxidation and plaque formation.

繚 Boswellia - a tree resin with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies find it beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis.

繚 Celadrin - a mixture of cetylated fatty acids that reduces inflammation and lubricates joints. Research supports its use for rheumatoid arthritis. Preliminary evidence shows that it may help those with psoriasis and other inflammatory conditions.

繚 Fish oils - rich in omega-3 fatty acids which reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease (inflammation blood pressure, cholesterol, homocysteine, and clotting). Studies also support its use for reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus and other inflammatory conditions.

繚 Glucosamine - a substance naturally produced in the body; involved in cartilage repair. Studies show that it can reduce pain and improve mobility in those with osteoarthritis.

Exercise: aim for one hour of moderate intensity activity each day such as walking, cycling, swimming or doing lawn work.

Sleep: aim for 7 to 9 hour of sleep each night. There is no sleep bank, so you can't catch up on lost hours over the weekend.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Occupational Therapy Assessment

Usually by the time the patient with rheumatoid arthritis requires or opts for surgery, there would have been quite a bit of joint damage and some degrees of subluxation or deformity of the joints. Comprehensive occupational therapy assessment would include physical, physiological, psychological, social and environmental perspectives of the patient with rheumatoid arthritis. It is often at this stage also that many of the patients would probably have stopped any form of paid employment, except for housewives who would still be doing household chores.

The things that the hand occupational therapist will be looking out for includes power, presence of deformity, any signs of subluxation, skin temperature, pain and range of motions will be assessed. Given the fact that rheumatoid arthritis has its cycles of exarcebations and remissions, it'd be good to keep an assessment mindset over at least 3 sessions to ascertain the hand and its function. It'd be good also to breakdown the assessment over 2-4 sessions depending on patient's ability to tolerate each session, as not all patients would like to keep travelling to the clinic.

The hand occupational therapist would then perform a series of checks, one of them is the informal interview. The results of the informal interview may be rather inaccurate as the patient might refer to a time prior to the onset of the disease, and since the disease is progressive they might not be very accurate as well. It'd be best to combine a variety of assessment tools eq quantitative and qualitative approach to have a more holistic idea to their hand function.

Essentially, it is best for the hand occupational therapist to perform a practical assessment task on the patient, covering the activities of daily living (ADL).

The ADL activity assessment should include but is not limited to:

1. dressing: able to wear and take off own clothing, including undergarments and prostheses, if any
2. personal hygiene: brushing teeth, wiping/washing face, handwashing
3. toileting: ability to perform voiding activities
4. feeding: feeding and drinking during meal times
5. mobility: walking, stairs management, transfers
6. housework: cleaning, laundry, marketing, money management
7. communications: using a phone to SMS or make calls, writing, typing etc.

Coping With Arthritis Knee Pain

Arthritis is a disease of the joints connecting the bones of the body. This happens when the said cartilage of the joint becomes weak, brittle, or deteriorated; the effect of which is the exposure of the bare bones to conditions leading to arthritis.

Knee arthritis is the most common form of this disease. Generally, it is due to old age, being overweight, or just hereditary. It is common because the knee is a part of the body that is mostly used everyday, when walking, running, or doing outdoor activities; only the degree of pain varies.

Pain can be suffered not only from arthritis; there are many sources of knee pain. It may be from bursitis or the inflammation by reason of frequent and constant pressure like overuse and kneeling. Pain may also come from tendinitis or the pain in the knee while ascending or descending from the stairs or when engaging in sports and outdoor activities. Other causes includes a strain or sprain, torn ligaments due to accidents, dislocation of the knee cap, injuries, infections in the joint, and tumors.

There are several causes of arthritis knee pain and it consists of the Baker's cyst, rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, connective tissue disorders, gout, and lupus. The Baker's cyst is characterized as a fluid-filled bulge behind one's knee that accompanies inflammation. The bad thing about the Baker's cyst is that when the cyst bursts, it will not just affect the knee but also your calf.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage of the joint slowly deteriorates revealing the joints to arthritis attacks. In rheumatoid, it is not just gradual deterioration but the cartilage is destroyed because of the inflammation. Simply put, the Baker's cyst, rheumatoid, connective tissue disorders, gout and lupus have the same serious effect of severe inflammation including the tissues, bones, ligaments, nerves, and muscles around it.

Some common arthritis knee pain includes inflammation of the joints, swelling of the bones near the joints, problems in standing, walking, or running, and intolerable discomfort.

Arthritis pain varies depending on the cause. If the person suffering from arthritis belongs to the 50 years old and up bracket, the knee pain is pretty much tolerable but it is very hard to stand, walk, or run. In this case, the person suffering from this ailment must use a cane or a wheelchair for mobility. With respect to persons under 50 years of age, the cause of arthritis may be overuse, overweight, or genetic.

A knee is considered overused when the person is sports inclined and does not rest for a sufficient number of hours. In this type of arthritis the inflammation in the knee is serious and unbearable, but may still be cure through proper rest. When the person is overweight, the pain is experienced when walking or running. In this case it is having a hard time to carry the weight of one's body.

Herbal Remedies for Arthritis

Just because you cannot entirely avoid arthritis, does not mean there aren't simple ways to overcome the inevitable discomforts the condition causes. Daily joint supplements are suggested for people with anxiety about getting arthritis or for those that are trying to subdue the pain and stiffness they may already feel. Many people turn to herbal remedies as a way to treat their arthritis. Herbal remedies are a non-intrusive way to successfully manage your joint pains.

First off, there are two kinds of arthritis: osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both classifications can be treated with an herbal remedy. The main difference between the two is the inflammation. While OA has minimal to no visible inflammation at the joints, RA is distinguished by its inflammation. Osteoarthritis is different because it is a slow deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. People with OA suffer from burn spurs and cannot move easily and it is the most common diagnosis. People should be especially conscious of this condition as they reach the later of their 60's but it can come at any phase in life. RA, or rheumatoid arthritis, has been known to reach adults in their 20's to 40's and can cause a really tender, inflamed joint. Women especially are known to suffer from RA. It is more serious than OA because the body is attacking its own tissues. It can affect your feet, knees, hands, wrists, hips, tendons, and muscles -causing a terrible amount of discomfort.

As you search for what is causing your arthritis, you may find that a nutrient deficiency may be the root of your problems. This is where herbal remedies can really tie into finding your cure. They are formulated with ingredients high in nutrients with the intent to help those suffering from this condition.

Some popular ingredients you will see in herbal supplements are Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, Calcium L-Threonate, Boswellia Serrata, Bromelain, Vitamin D3, and Ginger. Calcium L-Threonate is capable of absorbing calcium at an exceedingly high rate of 95%, making it a key ingredient in arthritis formulas. Boswellia Serrata is a long time ingredient used to stop swelling and joint pains. People with knee pains especially benefit from including this in their diet. Bromelain is not limited to joint health, but it is capable of drastically reducing the swelling of joints. Vitamin D3 helps fight chronic pains and week muscles. It is one of the most important vitamins, can be given off by the sun, and can really benefit daily diets. Ginger can help calm inflamed joints and has bed credited over prescription drugs in the prevention of forming prostaglandins.

Something herbal supplements can help prevent is bone spurs, a general side effect of arthritis. They are painful and stunt your free moving mobility. An herbal supplement feeds the cartilage surrounding your bones and prevents bone spurs.

If you are suffering from chronic pains like arthritis, then consider herbal remedies. They are considered to be a safe health solution for those with body joint pains.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Arthritis Treatment: Knee Osteoarthritis And The Epidemic Of Knee Replacements - Part 1

The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA), affects more than 20 million Americans. One of the primary targets for this disease is the knee.

OA affects articular cartilage, the gristle that caps the ends of long bones. Articular cartilage is a "pudding" that is made up of a matrix of proteoglycans (arrangements of proteins and glycogen molecules.) In addition, there is a framework of tough collagen fibers. Within this proteoglycan/collagen structure are cells called chondrocytes.

The maintenance of normal cartilage integrity is highly dependent on the metabolic function of these chondrocytes.

Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear disease of articular cartilage. It arises as a result of the lack of ability of cartilage to keep up with excessive breakdown.

The first step that occurs in the process of OA is an alteration in the matrix. This causes loss of cartilage resiliency. In addition, proteins that promote inflammation (called inflammatory cytokines) are produced by the joint lining. These cytokines activate destructive enzymes, called proteases which degrade the matrix and cause the chondrocytes to malfunction.

So far, the treatment of osteoarthritis is mostly symptomatic. Various medicines, called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), analgesics (pain-killers), exercises, physical therapy, and injections are used to provide palliative relief. Ultimately, though, patients will go on to have knee replacement surgery.

While this operation has generally been reserved for elderly patients, joint replacement surgery is increasing at an alarming rate among Baby Boomers who want to maintain a certain level of activity.

According to a recent report (Associated Press, Lindsay Tanner), "nearly one in twenty Americans older than 50 has an artificial knee- that's four million people!"

The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has issued a recent report showing that knee replacements tripled in people ages 45 to 64 between 1997 and 2009. While it's admirable and speaks to the increased activity level in a group of patients that formerly would be sitting in rocking chairs, in another sense, it raises other issues.

This is particularly disturbing because revision surgery (replacement of the replacement) will be needed in the future and this is a much more difficult and costly endeavor. Revision surgery takes longer, requires more expertise, is more complicated, and has a greater likelihood of complications.

Obviously, there is a public health problem if people with knee OA are going on to get an operation that will add tremendous costs to an already overburdened healthcare system. More in a future article.

Types of Arthritis Treatment

There are millions of people worldwide suffering from arthritis who experience painful symptoms on a daily basis. Usually, arthritis afflicts the elderly who are often seeking ways and means to cope with arthritis as they perform routine tasks such as climbing stairs, walking, reaching for objects, gardening or doing household chores. It is then very important to understand several types of treatment available for arthritis so people can continue their daily lives without much interference from this affliction. Nevertheless, the most fundamental step would be to consult a doctor before applying any kind of treatment for arthritis. In the first place, there are many types of arthritis so correct diagnosis must be made before any treatment is applied.

The first option commonly advised by doctors are medications that alleviates the pain and makes the inflammation or swelling subside. Arthritis is mainly inflammation of the joints so control of inflammation would lessen the pain felt by the person. Some drugs can simple be pain-killers while others maybe a combination pain-killers and anti-inflammatory. Common medications include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, supplements such as glucosamine chondroitin ( joint lubricants ), naproxen and some topical creams that hopefully relieve the pain. Recently capsaicin have been gaining popularity as a topical relief for arthritis too. For more severe cases of arthritis where pain is intolerable, drugs such as COX-2 inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and cortisone injections are administered.

The second option in treating arthritis would be to undergo physical therapy which provides long-lasting relief. Physical movement maybe challenging to people with rheumatoid arthritis due to stiffness of joints and this is where physical therapy can help. Through assistance from therapists, a larger range of motion is achieved thereby stretching joints safely can be done. Normal activities such as walking, climbing and even jogging can be performed again gradually. Treatment for arthritis are sometimes supplemented by assistive devices such as braces or crutches that can assist a person with problems in mobility, however, these devices are meant for short-term use only. Simply put, there are many options for arthritis treatment nowadays but consult doctor first.

Arthritis - Definition and Causes

The word arthritis comes from the Greek "Arthros" which means joints and "itis" that refers to inflammation (bronch-itis, tendon-itis, laryng-itis). A simple definition would therefore be "inflammation of the joints". This definition is correct but perhaps simplistic as arthritis sufferers know that it can be a lot more.

Arthritis is one of the rheumatic diseases. These in turn are conditions that have different complications and treatments. A rheumatoid condition will affect joints, soft tissues, ligaments, muscles, tendons and can also affect the musculo-skeletal (muscles and bones) system. They can also include autoimmune diseases, one of which is Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Getting back to arthritis, as mentioned it affects the joints where inflammation is present. The joints are where two or more bones are in contact and they have developed to allow movement and give mechanical support. Our finger and toes for example have joints.

These joints are classified into three:

Fibrous joints that are joined by fibrous tissue.
Cartilaginous joints, by cartilage
Synovial joints - not joined directly but where the articulation is provided by lubricating synovial fluid.

In arthritis the cartilage wears away and so the joint when moved has lost its cushion so to speak. Inflammation and pain occurs.

There are over 100 different types of arthritis, some say more than 150. It is a chronic illness which means it is long lasting and persistent. (An acute illness on the other hand is one that appears abruptly and usually of short duration). The chronic aspect of arthritis highlights the fact that it is there for the long term.

The different types of arthritis make it the most common of all the chronic diseases in America. Of these Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent and affects the cartilage and therefore the associated pain an inflammation. Other types affecting many people are Rheumatoid arthritis which results in inflammation caused by the immune system.

The causes of arthritis are extensive where the specific type could be caused by:

  • Injury (hence Osteoarthritis)

  • Hereditary and gene causes

  • Infections

  • Autoimmune problems (Rheumatoid Arthritis)

  • Gout and other metabolic problems

What is important about this is that the diagnosis of the type and the cause will define the remedy. For example arthritis caused by gout will have among its remedies a diet based regime.