Saturday, March 9, 2013

Arthritis Treatment: How Experts Treat Tendonitis

As mentioned in a previous article, tendon disorders are ubiquitous among Baby Boomers. Together with bursitis, ligament injuries, and muscle disorders, problems in these areas are termed "soft tissue arthritis."

Tendon disorders arise as a result of repetitive activity, exertion, exposure to vibration, mechanical stress, and prolonged static posture.

Tendon problems occur through a sequence of events including an initial injury, followed by degeneration of tendon fibers. Inflammation is rarely seen in chronic tendon injury. As a result the term "tendonitis" is a misnomer. The proper term is "tendinosis." To heal, tendons go through three stages: inflammation, repair, and remodeling.

Multiple factors in the blood, termed growth factors, initiate tendon healing.

When a patient is first evaluated, they must undergo a careful history and physical examination. Imaging studies such as diagnostic ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging can help confirm the clinical impression.

In the early phases of mild injury, stretching can help accelerate healing. At one week, stretching has been shown to promote collagen synthesis by fibroblasts. Stretching also increases strength and diameter of injured tendon and improves repair and remodeling. Prolonged immobilization has a negative effect on healing. For mild tendonitis early on, a simple program includes rest, avoidance of the activity that provoked the tendonitis, ice, splinting, physical therapy, and stretches. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid injections may be useful.

Newer approaches to treating tendinopathy include: hydrodissection, prolotherapy, needle tenotomy, and platelet-rich plasma.

Hydrodissection is used where peritendindonitis is present. This is where the tendon sheath is swollen but the tendon itself is intact. An example is trigger finger. Using ultrasound guidance, a large volume of fluid is injected into the tendon sheath between the sheath and the tendon. This acts as an "angioplasty" for the tendon sheath.

Prolotherapy is a procedure where injection of proliferant solution into the damaged tendon is performed. This causes inflammation and leads to tissue repair.

Needle tenotomy comes from the theory that acute inflammation leads to healing. Here, multiple punctures ("peppering") of diseased tendon causes acute inflammation with subsequent repair.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is the treatment of choice for tendon injuries. PRP contains multiple growth factors that stimulate tissue repair. It is used in conjunction with tenotomy and must be given with ultrasound guidance.

Autologous stem cells, a patient's own stem cells, are reserved for severe disease and partial tendon tears not responsive to PRP. The procedure must be administered with ultrasound guidance.

Osteoarthritis - What Are The Causes And Can You Prevent Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is generally equated with a disease of wear and tear and old age. Although it does usually accompany old age, researchers have found that the cartilage in a joint with osteoarthritis is chemically different than a joint without the disease.

Researchers have also found that there are a series of events that lead to the development of Osteoarthritis and that it isn't associated with age alone. These events involve the production, maintenance and breakdown of the cartilage in the joints. These joints are often of the larger weight bearing joints of the body such as the knees and hips, which provide the majority of the cushion when we are doing any weight bearing exercise such as walking, running etc.

Athletes who also perform repetitive motion exercise that is weight bearing on a joint, such as rowing, will find that Osteoarthritis also will develop in the elbow and shoulder areas.

Researchers believe that there is a genetic component to the development of the disease but they have not yet conclusively found that link. They have found that there is a higher correlation in the development of this arthritis between parent and child or siblings than between husband and wife.

In a study completed in 2000 a gene was identified which was thought to regulate the production of a chemical, pyrophosphate, which inhibits the formation of mineral deposits in the joints. They theorize that this chemical may protect the cartilage in the joints. About 60% of patients with Osteoarthritis were found to have mineral deposits in their joints.

People with this disease also have muscle weakness, especially in the quadriceps muscles. These are the four large muscles in the front of the thigh that enable the body to extend the knee. Researchers understand that the arthritis creates a painful situation and patients may not exercise, therefore decreasing their muscle strength. However, they also theorize that the weakness, especially in the quadriceps, pre-dates the development and actually causes the degeneration of the joint. The stronger the muscle mass the better able the body is to protect the joints.

Anatomical reasons also are considered to be involved in the development of this arthritis. Research has found that people who are 'bow-legged' or 'knock-kneed' are more likely to develop progressive osteoarthritis in the knees. Other research has found that some people are born with joints that don't meet smoothly and cartilage that isn't formed correctly.

Injuries also play a large part in the joint changes that lead to Osteoarthritis. People with knee injuries early in life were 16% more likely to develop arthritis in the affected knee than those without an injury. Other medical conditions have also been found to play a part in the cause of Osteoarthritis. Hemophiliacs have the potential to bleed into the joints causing damage to the cartilage. People with chronic gout and pseudogout have mineral deposits in the joints from the crystals that cause the gout. People with rheumatoid arthritis already have joint damaging inflammation that injures to the cartilage.

Although the causes of Osteoarthritis have not been completely defined people can use the knowledge that researchers now have to potentially delay the onset or stop the development of this painful disease.

Dog Arthritis Treatment Options

So your dog has a been diagnosed with dog arthritis. What do you do now? There are many things that can help in the treatment of arthritis. It is important to know all your options first so that you can make an educated decision about what would be best for your dog. There are 5 categories which to consider: Joint Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs, Alternative Therapies, Exercise and Weight Management.

In order to completely understand Joint Supplements you need to first understand the two main categories. They are Chondroprotectants ie. Cartilage Protectors and Natural Anti-inflammatories. As for chondroprotectants there are three main natural ingredients to consider. Glucosamine and chondroitin have for a long time been the forerunners when it comes to joint supplement ingredients. The newest molecule that is gaining tremendous popularity is hyaluronic acid. All of these are what is known as glycosaminoglycans. They are the precursors that are responsible for the formation and repair of healthy cartilage. As a dog get older or due to some traumatic damage the bodies own ability to supply adequate amounts of these ingredients is diminished, therefore it can be extremely beneficial to supply these ingredients via oral supplementation. In addition, it has been found that these compound work together therefore, finding a supplement that incorporates all three can prove to be more effective.

As for natural anti-inflammatories the list can be very long, but here a few that have been researched over the years and proven to be effective. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), Cetyl-M (Cetyl Myristoleate) and Omega 3 Fatty Acids, predominately fish oils. Though, recent research has shown incredible results with the oils extracted from the green lipped mussels of new zealand. This oil has been shown to be rich in an omega 3 fatty acid called eicosatetranoic acid or ETA and has proven to be an amazing natural anti-inflammatory when it comes to joint inflammation.

The problem often times is that consumers do not realize that not all joint supplements are created equal. The quality of the ingredients can vary dramatically when it comes to these products. Most of the time, the old saying "you get what you pay for" really is true when it comes to selecting the right supplement. Quality ingredient cost more and therefore the end product usually is more expensive.

There are also an number of pharmaceutical drugs that have been very effective in relieving the discomfort associated with dog arthritis. The most common drugs prescribed by veterinarians are class a drugs called the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). This class of drugs though very effective have meet some serious scrutiny due to there potential side effects. Most hospitals will check your dogs blood work initially and then at one week after prescription and then 4 weeks after. In addition to there potential life threatening side effects there is also controversy whether or not these drugs are over prescribed within the veterinary community before more natural and safe options are considered.

Another pharmaceutical drug that has been gaining tremendous popularity has been Adequan. This drug is in a class of drugs called disease modifying agents. Developed in the 70's for race horses, adequan has shown that it can be very effective as one form of arthritis treatment for dogs.

Lastly, there are the true neurologic pain medications such as tramadol and gabapentin which can be a true god send for the more severe cases of dog arthritis. These medicationa often give a debilitated dog a new lease on life by allowing them the comfort to get up and move around and therefore maintain vital muscle.

Alternative therapies have also been gaining tremendous popularity in recent years. Canine rehabilitation ie. dog physical therapy in the last 10 years has quickly become a very accepted treatment option amongst the veterinary community for dogs after surgery and for dogs suffering from arthritis, who have lost joint range of motion and muscle mass. Canine rehabilitation specialists utilize many of the same modalities that human physical therapist use such as electrical stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, cold laser therapy and the very popular underwater treadmill. Acupuncture is another alternative therapy that has proven benefits and gained in popularity. Most recently stem cell therapy has been in the media spotlight.

Once you have established the right oral supplement for your dog and whether you dog needs prescription medication, your focus really needs to turn towards exercise and weight management. The majority of domestic dogs don't get the necessary exercise they need. In addition, the majority of dogs are overweight without the pet owners even knowing that their weight is a problem. It is important to speak with your veterinarian about what the ideal body weight is for your dog and therefore what the proper amount of food per day is ideal. For most pet owners it is shocking to find out how little their dogs daily requirement is. Most of the dog food labels over estimate daily quantities.

Tissue Engineering for Osteoarthritis: The Scientific Basis Behind the Use of Stem Cells

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting more than 20 million Americans. It is one of the leading causes of disability and loss of freedom. The purpose of this article is to discuss the science behind some of the new developments in tissue engineering.

The gristle that caps the ends of long bones and which is responsible for cushioning joints is called cartilage. The only cell type within cartilage is the chondrocyte. Chondrocytes are responsible for producing and maintaining the environment around them which is called the extracellular matrix.

While water makes up about 80 per cent of the weight of the extracellular matrix, proteins are the major building blocks within the cartilage extracellular matrix.

Three classes of proteins exist in articular cartilage: collagens; proteoglycans; and other non-collagen proteins. Each protein component has an electrical charge associated with it. The interaction between highly negatively charged cartilage proteoglycans and collagen is responsible for both the ability of cartilage to sustain loads as well as to resist various stresses.

Osteoarthritis occurs as a result of dysfunction of this highly regulated system. The end result is gradual loss of the tensile and load-bearing capabilities of cartilage. This leads to cartilage damage and subsequent wear and tear. Cartilage has limited ability to repair itself once damage has occurred.

The treatment for osteoarthritis until recently has been primarily aimed at symptom control. Palliation of pain and improvement in function have been the goals. Various treatments such as analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, glucocorticoid ("cortisone") injections, and injections of viscosupplements can provide a modicum of symptom relief.

However, the "end game" has been the resultant need for surgical solutions such as total joint replacement with all its attendant risks and complications.

Recently, there has been interest in the role of tissue engineering... the ability to regenerate new cartilage.

Two major methods have been studied. In one, cartilage has been grown outside the body in a laboratory and then, once fully functional, has been re-implanted into the joint. In the other, cells capable of becoming cartilage are implanted without being cultured outside the body and allowed to mature inside the joint.

Common to both techniques is the need for three critical components. The components are: cells capable of becoming cartilage, a scaffold or matrix to help support cell growth, and finally a suitable environment that enhances growth.

An example of the first technique- growing cartilage cells outside the body first and then re-implanting the cells- is the Carticel簧 method.

Carticel, a procedure patented by Genzyme, is the only FDA-approved cell-based cartilage repair process in the US. In this method, cartilage is harvested from a non-weight bearing part of the joint. The cartilage is then prepared in a manner so that the chondrocytes are teased from the extracellular matrix, and are allowed to multiply in a laboratory setting. After enough cartilage cells have been grown, they are then implanted into the area of cartilage damage.

Long term results of this technique, which is limited to small isolated areas of cartilage damage, have not been as encouraging as once thought.

A more attractive approach has been the use of mesenchymal stem cells. These cells can multiply, divide, and differentiate very well when provided with a suitable matrix and environment (growth factors).

Mesenchymal stem cells can be found in the bone marrow, fat, bone, joint lining, muscle, and other tissues. When stimulated by growth factors, mesenchymal stem cells will become active in the repair process. The growth factors include but are not limited to insulin-like growth factor, transforming growth factors, bone morphogenic protein, and fibroblast growth factors.

Another interesting phenomenon is the ability of certain stressors such as joint loading and shearing to stimulate mesenchymal stem cell growth and differentiation.

Work from Dr. Rocky Tuan and his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pittsburg has helped elucidate some of the complexities involved in this process.

As with all new scientific developments, there are more questions than answers. What is the best matrix? How should it be harvested? How should it be implanted? What other growth factors might be effective in stimulating mesenchymal stem cell growth and differentiation? What is the appropriate procedure to use to introduce all of the above? What are the long term benefits? What are the long term pitfalls?

The answers to these pressing issues are being addressed. A new era of tissue regeneration holds much promise for the definitive treatment of osteoarthritis.

Natural Treatment For Arthritis - Some Natural Ways to Overcome the Pain

Arthritis is a common complaint among many people, most commonly the elderly, but it can affect younger people as well. There may be different types of arthritis but generally, arthritis involves pain, swelling or stiffness of the joints. Although there are medicines for this condition, it is helpful however to find some natural treatment for arthritis, which can at least help you avoid some side effects of medications.

Of course, you can do something about your arthritis. The first thing you can do is to know everything you can about the disease. As mentioned, there are different types of this disease and one of the most common types is the rheumatoid arthritis, which often affects the lining of the joints in the hands and feet that causes the swelling and the pain.

Aside from the pain and swelling in the joints, you may also feel fatigue and sometimes, it may come with fever. Weather changes may also aggravate your condition, especially during the cold months.

Another type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, but it commonly affects elderly people as the joints undergo wear and tear due to old age and those who have had injuries. If you are bothered by this painful condition, you can do something about it with some natural treatment for arthritis.

Massage is one thing that you can use as an alternative treatment to arthritis pain and swelling. It also helps you get rid of depression and stress which can help a lot in easing up the pain as well as in improving your immune system. To be able to make sure that you get the most out of your massage, it is important to get an expert massage therapist to be sure too.

Of course, watching your diet is also one natural treatment for arthritis. It is important to be informed about the foods that may aggravate your condition and thus, you should avoid them. Dairy products for example are among the foods that may not be friendly for arthritis sufferers. Caffeine, soft drinks as well as sugar may not also be good for your joint pains and swelling.

Acupuncture is also another known natural treatment for arthritis, also with acupressure. They are known to relieve you from the pain brought about by this condition. Both practices are of ancient Chinese origin and these have been practiced by many to relieve pain, get rid of stress and boost your mood. Acupuncture uses very fine needles while acupressure just simply uses the pressure of the fingers to stimulate those pressure points in the body.

There are also herbs and supplements that are used as treatment for this condition but even though they may come from natural herbs, it is always wise to check the label, seek expert advice and be extra careful in taking these supplements. It is always important to focus on having an overall healthy diet, enough rest, regular exercise and of course, maintain a healthy weight to be able to naturally avoid the pain of arthritis.

Indeed, a healthy lifestyle is very important to avoid unhealthy joints and promote a healthy body as a whole.

Crunching Sound in Knees - Osteoarthritis - What Can Be Done About It?

Do you suffer from crunching knees?

Even as a child you will be used to hearing the sound of knees crunching when the class knelt down at school but that probably didn't concern you at the time.

Fifteen years on if it was your knees that were crunching back then, then they may be giving you cause for concern as that sound maybe getting a little sickening to hear.

It may even be getting in the way of everyday life where you find yourself walking up stairs a funny way so to avoid any embarrassing looks.

Knee Crunching Cause

The cause is in the cartilage. That gooey liquid which helps keep the joints nice and lubricated much like oil on a chain.

When it starts to dry out the joint becomes inflamed hence the grinding sound and this is normally the sign of that osteoarthritis is kicking in.

The cause can range from a bad diet through the years, to obesity or it runs in the family, but it's more influenced by your lifestyle as a youngster.

One drawback to exercise which involves using the legs through hard impact sports on the joints like running, football, tennis etc, is that the knees may come to pay the price in the future.

Crunching Knee Treatment

NSAID's will help keep the inflammation of the joint down and reduce that crunching sound.

Even when they're not swollen, doctors suggest you take some form of prescription each day so it stays in your blood stream, so when inflammation occurs, you won't need to get your body accustomed to the NSAID again - meaning it will act straight away.

Ibuprofen is popular for people with this grinding knee condition, but these are only short term pain relief supplements and in no way help the disease go into remission.

In fact NSAID's simply cover up the real problem which is that the disease is still slowly eating away at the depleting knee cartilage, so if you want to treat the cause you need to take more control.

Arthroscopic surgery used to clean out the knee joint and smooth the cartilage was often thought of as a way of slowing down the disease, but this has now been proved false - it simply lessens the pain.

How to Treat a Crunching Knee

1. Take magnesium supplements: These have been proven far more effective than calcium supplements and have been medically proven through a 9 month clinical trial carried out in the U.S by the Journal Medicine in 2009, to improve bone density by some 11%.

2. Do low impact sports: These help rebuild the muscle tissue around the knee while improving functionality to the joint. The pain will subside and your legs will be stronger and more capable of supporting your upper body with more assurance.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why Do People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Die?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not just a joint disease. It is a systemic illness which can kill. Studies have shown that RA has a significant mortality attached to it. Consider this: In the mid to late 1980's, a middle-aged man with RA could expect to have the same life expectancy as if he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma or triple-vessel coronary artery disease.

While these sobering statistics have changed somewhat for the better, the mortality picture for patients with RA is still not rosy.

Why does this increased mortality occur? Because it is a systemic disease, RA can lead to complications. One such complication is vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels). In inflammation of blood vessels occurs in a major organ such as the brain or heart, a significant problem can occur. Inflammation of the eyes can lead to blindness. And RA involvement of the spine- particularly in the neck- can cause compression of the spinal cord. RA patients may develop significant lung disease with progressive interstitial problems leading to end-stage lung function.

Unfortunately, some of the medicines used to treat the symptoms of RA can also impair kidney function.

Patients with RA are also at increased risk for developing lymphoma.

The disability that occurs with poorly treated RA is in itself a cause of increased mortality.

The major discovery though has been the observation that RA patients are at markedly increased risk for developing significant early cardiovascular disease. Early cardiovascular mortality appears now to be the most significant factor leading to the shortened lifespan seen in patients with RA.

Why this occurs is still not clear. The major contributing factor appears to be the chronic inflammation associated with inadequately controlled RA. It is a subject of intense research now to see whether the more aggressive treatments that are being used will lower mortality by suppressing disease activity.

Patients with RA who have other cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated blood lipids, hypertension, cigarette smoking, etc. should be evaluated carefully. These other risk factors must be controlled or removed.

Doctor, Should I Take Humira for My Rheumatoid Arthritis?

TNF alpha is a cytokine, a unique protein that is produced during the inflammatory response. TNF alpha is not only the result of inflammation, it is also a substance that promotes the inflammation. Increased levels of TNF are found in several inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Drugs that block tumor necrosis factor (TNF) have been found to be particularly effective for the treatment of these serious forms of inflammatory arthritis.

Adalimumab (Humira) is constructed from a fully human monoclonal antibody. It binds to TNF alpha, preventing it from activating TNF receptors.

It acts like a barrier to the interaction between TNF alpha and receptors for TNF alpha on immune cells. This prevents TNF alpha from perpetuating inflammation and the pain, tenderness and swelling of joints in patients with different types of arthritis.

Humira reduces the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, the arthritis of psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis. It also prevents the progression of joint destruction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and the arthritis of psoriasis.

Humira can be used alone or in combination with methotrexate. The drug has been approved for use in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

It comes in a 40 mg prefilled syringe and is administered subcutaneously every two weeks. The syringe must be kept refrigerated.

Serious infections, including tuberculosis, have occurred in patients receiving Humira. In some cases, these infections have been fatal. Before starting the drug, a patient should be tested for TB. Any medication prescribed for the treatment of TB should start before beginning Humira and should be continued until the full course of medication is completed.

Since Humira suppresses important parts of the immune system, a patient should not receive vaccines containing live virus.

Having an infection could put a patient at risk for serious side effects from Humira.

TNF-blocking agents have been associated with reactivation of hepatitis B. Some cases have been fatal.

Rare cases of demyelinating syndromes such as multiple sclerosis have been reported.

Anti-TNF drugs should be used with caution in patients with congestive heart failure.

Combining Humira and Kineret (anakinra) is not recommended

Humira is contraindicated in pregnancy as well as for use in nursing mothers.

There have been rare cases of severe allergic reactions after taking Humira. Lymphoma and pancytopenia (low blood counts) have also been rarely reported in patients taking anti-TNF therapy.

The most common side-effects are injection site reactions, upper respiratory tract infections, headache, and nausea.

Horse Joint Supplements: A Solution for Osteoarthritis?

As horses grow older and exercise less, weight gain and natural joint deterioration can lead to osteoarthritis. Eventually horses suffering from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, can become lame. This doesn't have to be the norm. Keeping a horse flexible and active by using horse joint supplements can do wonders to improve a horse's overall health and quality of life.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Recognizing osteoarthritis is an important part of the treatment process. Failing to treat a horse quickly can result in additional damage that can often only be cured by surgery. Horse owners should begin looking for osteoarthritis symptoms when a horse is near 15 years old, or has led an unusually active life that required a lot of conditioning and joint usage. Horses that have experienced injuries can also be at risk.

The first sign of osteoarthritis is a gradually deteriorating performance. A horse will start having trouble doing the most simple activities, or exercises they usually performed with ease. As the condition worsens a horse will start displaying stiffness after they wake up or attempt to walk after standing still for a long period of time. Swelling that does not go away will be the most pronounced sign of osteoarthritis, and if the swelling is hot to the touch a condition more serious than osteoarthritis may be present requiring immediate veterinary attention.

What Joints Are Affected

Often people who are not familiar with, or have limited experience with, horses and their medical conditions believe that a horses knee joints (stifle) are the only joints affected by osteoarthritis. In reality, a horses knees are very rarely affected by osteoarthritis. In reality, the ankles (hacks) are the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis along with pastern and coffin joins. This is because of the stress that is caused by athletic training and daily use. Proper shoeing, weight management, and a healthy diet can slow joint deterioration; but even these preventative measures alone are not always enough. Medication will eventually become a necessity as your horse begins experiencing pain and unrelieved swelling.

Why Use Horse Joint Supplements

Anti-inflammatory medications are usually prescribed by veterinarians treating osteoarthritis. The problem with this is the fact that these medications are not usually safe for long-term use. Although prescriptions may provide short-term relief, they do nothing to heal the actual problem. On the other hand, our horse joint supplements are completely safe and deal with the root of the issue.

When combined with a nutritional diet, our horse joint supplements can help prevent osteoarthritis or slow joint deterioration that has already occurred. Horse joint supplements also improve a horse's circulation, which speeds tissue recovery. Most importantly, our horse joint supplements relieve pain, which will allow your horse to remain active during the healing process.

Bottom line? Horse joint supplements can help increase your horse's years of overall health and quality of life. Isn't that what we all want for those who trust us for their care?

Understanding Arthritis

While many think of arthritis as only affecting the elderly, it is in fact a threat to persons at any age.

There are a number of markers, such as family history and genetic makeup, that have been tied to arthritic conditions, although heredity is no guarantee that you will or will not experience these conditions.

In simple terms, arthritis is a condition where the joints connecting bones together are damaged. However, the term arthritis is very vague. This disease actually represents over one hundred medical conditions that affect both children and adults. The two most common types are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

This type of arthritis is commonly seen in athletes. Often, this joint damage results from high impact activity. However, those that are overweight may also find themselves diagnosed with this condition as a result of the added strain that excess body weight puts on the joints. OA causes pain in the knees, neck, back, hips and hands. Bones are able to rub against each other when the cartilage separating them begins wearing away. This friction results in pain and tenderness. Joints may also develop spurs, dense spots or lumps on the edge of joints that are often very painful. Along with spurs, thickened or stiffened ligaments may occur, preventing essential fluid motion through the affected area.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA affects joints in the hands and feet. In this case, the body attacks healthy tissue and damages the lining of these joints, causing swelling, stiffness and pain.

Coping and Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis, only tools for prevention and treatment of symptoms. For example, walking is a great way to accomplish better posture, which will help keep your bones aligned properly. Mobility exercises and stretching are also very important to aid in reducing stiffness in the joints. Never sit for too long, remain in the same positions or write for more than fifteen minutes without taking a small break. When taking a long car or plane trip, it is important to walk every hour.

As with most illnesses, watching your weight and what you eat is very important in controlling arthritis. Extra weight puts stress on your body, and excess fat cells release chemicals which often cause inflammation.


If the pain cannot be managed with over the counter medications, then prescriptions medications from your doctor may be the answer to managing your condition. NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) target the enzyme in joint inflammation and can relieve pain. Some of these medications include: Aspirin, Naproxen and Ibuprofen, all of which are available over the counter. Cox 2 Inhibitors are the prescription level NSAIDs; these medications are easier on the stomach but may have negative effects on the heart.

Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs can actually limit the amount of joint damage if caught in time. They slow the disease and are usually taken with NSAIDs or Corticosteroids. These drugs may adversely affect your immune system in order to subdue inflammation, so check with the doctor as this may leave you vulnerable to other infections.

Arthritis can be managed to some degree. A doctor's recommendation should always be sought after in regards to medications, especially when taking additional drugs. Staying positive and active is one of the best treatments, although making sure this exercise is manageable and low impact is also important. Knowledge about the subject will help both the individual and support system understand what is happening and how best to cope.

Psoriasis Vulgaris

Psoriasis vulgaris, also known as plaque psoriasis, is the most common form of psoriasis and accounts for up to 90% of cases.

Psoriasis vulgaris is an immune-mediated disease which means that it results from unusual activity in the immune system. The result is that one's body begins to accelerate the growth cycle of skin cells to a very high pace, thus causing the characteristic appearance of sloughing, scaly, inflamed patches of silver-white skin.

Areas behind joints such as the knee and elbow are most susceptible to psoriasis vulgaris plaques. However, any region of the body can be affected including the scalp, feet and genitals.

While acute psoriasis may occur as a result of drug interactions, streptococcal infections and other rare situations, the great majority of psoriasis vulgaris sufferers must live with this condition chronically. That is not say that the patient suffers continuously as this condition tends to occur cyclically: flare-ups followed by periods of lull.

Up to 翻 of sufferers also experience scalp psoriasis which is characterized by flaking of the skin on the scalp resulting in a dandruff-like appearance.

Another problem associated with this condition is psoriatic arthritis, which is similar to the commonly known osteoarthritis and occurs in up to 40% of psoriasis sufferers.

It is not well-known what causes this disease although there is likely a genetic component. While genetics play a part, environmental influences such as stress, diet, etc., are thought to play a role.

Psoriasis vulgaris is generally diagnosed visually by a physician or dermatologist.

Treatment is decided based upon the severity and degree of spreading of the psoriasis plaques.

Treating this condition generally involves alleviating the symptoms and addressing the health of the patient as a whole. Treating the plaques can be done with topical lotions and creams. Another common approach to treating psoriasis is the use of phototherapy (light therapy). This treatment approach can be very effective but it also carries several risks including the possibility of scarring, blistering, irritation and increased risk for skin cancer.

For very severe cases, systemic (pills and injections) treatments may be prescribed. These include very potent drugs that mitigate psoriasis vulgaris symptoms admirably but also carry considerable risks of strong side effects such as birth defects and liver and kidney damage.

Perhaps the most empowering treatment for psoriasis vulgaris is taking great care of one's health by eating an intelligent psoriasis diet, supplementing with adaptogens and exercising regularly, while maintaining a low-stress lifestyle.

Arthritis Treatment: The Three Types of Tendonitis That Cause Knee Pain And How to Treat Them

Knee pain (KP) is a common malady often seen in a rheumatologist's or orthopedic surgeon's office. Multiple causes exist including trauma, arthritis, bursitis, neurological conditions, genetic issues, and so on.

One type of medical problem causing KP that is frequently ignored... or not considered is tendonitis. There are at least three major types of tendonitis that can cause significant KP.

The first is quadriceps tendonitis. The quadriceps tendon connects the quadriceps muscle in the thigh to the patella (kneecap). While relatively uncommon, certain factors can cause quadriceps tendonitis to rear its ugly head. These include trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, steroid therapy, kidney disease, and the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. The latter cause is an important one because fluoroquinolone antibiotics are frequently used to treat respiratory tract and urinary tract infections. These antibiotics can cause not only tendonitis but can also increase the likelihood of tendon rupture.

Quadriceps tendon rupture is devastating and can be recognized when a patient who has had symptomatic quadriceps tendonitis cannot straighten their leg, and there is a gap between where the tendon should insert into the kneecap and the quadriceps muscle. This is a surgical emergency.

Patellar tendonitis is another type of tendonitis that causes KP. It is fairly common, particularly in athletes who engage in running, jumping, and kicking. Patellar tendonitis is often referred to as "jumper's knee". Pain, tenderness, and inability to straighten the knee are usually present. Like the quadriceps tendon, this tendon can also rupture.

Both forms of tendonitis present with pain either above or below the knee cap. Treatment involves the use of rest, ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, stretching, and platelet-rich plasma. Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is an ultra-concentrate of blood containing many platelets. Platelets are blood cells that enable clotting and also contain many healing and growth factors. Multiple studies have demonstrated that ultrasound guided platelet-rich plasma injection can significantly shorten the healing cycle.

Another type of tendonitis that can cause knee pain is hamstring tendonitis. Although hamstring injuries in athletes are frequently due to hamstring muscle strain, hamstring tendons can also cause pain. The hamstring muscles originate at the back of the pelvis. They end in tendons that insert at the back of and along the inside part of the knee. When they become inflamed or injured, they cause significant pain and disability.

Treatment includes, rest, ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, gentle stretching and ultrasound-guided platelet-rich plasma injections.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms and Causes

The cause or causes of arthritis are oftentimes difficult to determine because there are many factors that contribute to the development of this common disease.

Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when you walk. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.

You may have joint inflammation for a variety of reasons, including:

* Broken bone
* Infection (usually caused by bacteria or viruses)
* An autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself because the immune system believes a body part is foreign)
* General "wear and tear" on joints

Often, the inflammation goes away after the injury has healed, the disease is treated, or the infection has been cleared.

With some injuries and diseases, the inflammation does not go away or destruction results in long-term pain and deformity.

When this happens, you have chronic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is more likely to occur as you age.

You may feel it in any of your joints, but most commonly in your hips, knees or fingers. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include:

* Being overweight
* Previously injuring the affected joint
* Using the affected joint in a repetitive action that puts stress on the joint (baseball players, ballet dancers, and construction workers are all at risk)

Arthritis can occur in men and women of all ages. About 37 million people in America have arthritis of some kind, which is almost 1 out of every 7 people.

Other types or cause of arthritis include:

* Rheumatoid arthritis (in adults)
* Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (in children)
* Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
* Gout
* Scleroderma
* Psoriatic arthritis
* Ankylosing spondylitis
* Reiter's syndrome (reactive arthritis)
* Adult Still's disease
* Viral arthritis
* Gonococcal arthritis
* Other bacterial infections (non-gonococcal bacterial arthritis )
* Tertiary Lyme disease (the late stage)
* Tuberculous arthritis
* Fungal infections such as blastomycosis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptom

If you have arthritis, you may experience:

* Joint pain
* Joint swelling
* Stiffness, especially in the morning
* Warmth around a joint
* Redness of the skin around a joint
* Reduced ability to move the joint

Self-destructive immune response of R.A may be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and an environmental trigger. Changing hormones may also play an important role in disease, possibly in response to an infection of the environment.

More than one gene has been linked to the risk of R.A. Specific genes may increase the likelihood of a person developing the disease, and could also partly determine how serious his condition is. However, because not all people with a genetic predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis actually have the disease, other factors should be important.

A specific environmental trigger has not been found, but some research suggests that infection by a virus or bacterium leads to rheumatoid arthritis in people genetically susceptible. That does not mean that rheumatoid arthritis is contagious. People with rheumatoid arthritis appear to have more antibodies in the synovial fluid in their joints, suggesting that there may be an infection. Low levels of hormones of the adrenal gland are common in people with rheumatoid arthritis, but how hormones interact with genetic and environmental factors is unknown. Changes hormone can contribute to the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis may occur independently of other conditions, but its causes and its relationship with other diseases are not well understood. A different way of chronic arthritis can sometimes develop in rheumatoid arthritis. It is also possible that infections or other environmental triggers exist that may cause rheumatoid arthritis in people who already have a gene for the disease.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment - What Are Your Options?

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that can develop in some people who experience the skin condition psoriasis. There are five main types of psoriatic arthritis- Symmetric arthritis, Asymmetric arthritis, Digital Interphalangeal Predominant (DIP) arthritis, Arthritis mutilans and Spondylitis. In this article we will examine treatments available.

Generally speaking, psoriatic arthritis treatment will be the same as treatment for any other form of arthritis. Your doctor will advise on treatment based on the type or types of the condition you have and the range and severity of symptoms. An early diagnosis will help to slow the progression of the disease and help to prevent further damage to the joints. Ideally treatment for psoriatic arthritis should go hand in hand with treatment of psoriasis.

Natural Treatments
Exercising can be beneficial as it will help to reduce stiffness and pain, and will strengthen the muscles around the joints. Your physiotherapist should be able to show you certain exercises designed to improve joint mobility and function. Low impact aerobic exercise, such as swimming and walking, can improve overall health and fitness, reduce excess weight and improve muscle strength and flexibility.

Physiotherapy can provide relief for some individuals, as can relaxation techniques of using electrotherapy, for example a TENS machine.

Use of ice packs to the affected joints can help to relieve swelling and joint pain.

There are also a number of prescription medications which can reduce symptoms.

Non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
NSAIDS can be prescribed early on to relieve inflammation and swelling. As they are largely aspirin based, they can cause irritation to the stomach so should be avoided if you are prone to stomach ulcers.

Steroids are strong anti-inflammatory drugs which may be prescribed if the symptoms are severe, or if the patient experiences a flare-up. If used in high doses, the condition of the skin should be monitored as steroids can affect psoriasis. Steroids are often used in lower doses to reduce the risk of these side effects whilst stabilizing the arthritis.

Steroids can also be administered in injection form directly to the joint. They can be particularly effective when only one joint is affected, but there is a risk of adverse side effects of injections are given too often.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) contain agents that target the specific occurrences within the body which cause both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. They can help to slow the progression of arthritis and help stop further joint tissue damage from occurring.

Systemic Medication
Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressive drug used to treat psoriasis that can also slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis. Prolonged use can cause kidney damage so regular blood tests should be undertaken.

Methotrexate can help prevent joint deterioration and relieve the symptoms of the condition. However, there are a number of potential side effects, including liver damage, so should be carefully monitored.

Sulfasalazine is an anti-inflammatory drug which has been proven effective in the treatment of the condition.

Antimalarial medication is usually used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but has also been used to successfully treat psoriatic arthritis. As side effect scan include headaches and blurred vision, regular eye tests should be undertaken. Some antimalarial medication can also exacerbate symptoms of psoriasis.

If you think you may have psoriatic arthritis, you should see your doctor in the first instance for a diagnosis and to discuss possible treatment options.

Glucosamine Supplement - What Are The Benefits of Glucosamine for Dogs With Arthritis?

Glucosamine is a type of simple sugar that is abundant in the environment and makes up most of the cell walls of one type of fungi called Aspergillus niger, and the outer coverings of crustaceans, shellfish, bone marrow and bones of animals. It is commonly manufactured in commercial quantity from these skeletons and from grains like wheat or corn.

Oral glucosamine is considered a dietary supplement and not a drug. In the US, it is illegal to sell dietary supplements as treatment for certain diseases.

Glucosamine which is obtained from glucose, is an important component of glycosaminoglycans, a key component of human cartilages. Thus glucosamine has become widely used in the treatment of diseases of the bones and osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis.

An article published by the American College of Rheumatology stated that glucosamine sulfate may be able to slow down the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis.

There is strong evidence that glucosamine sulfate, when given through the veins, muscles and by mouth may improve the ability of patients to move around and improve speed, it may relieve pain, and lessen tenderness among osteoarthritis patients.

Glucosamine is commonly sold in combination with other supplements like methylsulfonylmethane or MSM and chondroitin sulfate. It is also sold in the form of glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride.

Glucosamine is believed to have positive effects on the skin due to its important role in the production of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is present in our epithelial, neural and connective tissues and is one of the main components that helps in the repair of skin tissues. It is found in the body's synovial fluid providing lubrication to the bones

It is believed to speed up healing of wounds caused by trauma or severe injury, hydrates the skin and delays the signs of aging.

It prevents the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin and thus prevents diseases involving hyperpigmentation of the skin. Glucosamine supplementation also makes dark skin fairer because of less melanine production.

Glucosamine has also been reported to be effective for the treatment of psoriasis by blocking ampherigulin, the substance responsible for the proliferation of psoriatic lesions in patients suffering from this serious skin problem.

Glucosamine which is also naturally present in a dog's body is known to treat hip hyperplasia and osteoarthritis in your pets.It relieves pain caused by osteoarthritis and improves your pets' ability to move about. It has the ability to regenerate soft bones and cartilages and delay the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis in dogs.

Do You Have Gout?

Gout is one of those conditions which can be aided considerably with a change in diet and lifestyle, and is a form of arthritis which is normally associated with "high living". This condition causes a rather painful accumulation of crystals of uric acid around the joint. I have seen many gout patients over the years, and I think I have seen one or two a women over the years in my clinic complaining of this rather painful condition.

I can still remember the first gout patient I ever saw, I was practicing in the student clinic in the 90's. A male aged mid forties came in complaining of a very painful right ankle and big toe. He was a mechanic who enjoyed a beer, in fact he said: "Eric, I'll do anything you suggest, I won't be stopping my beer however, but I can't live with this pain anymore".

A gout attack of pain usually strikes unexpectedly, but generally subsides in a few days with treatment. However, some guys can experience pain for several weeks with gout attacks often re-occurring and without the correct management the attacks of pain may become more frequent and can be very debilitating indeed. You should contact your doctor if really severe pain in a joint recurs or lasts more than a few days, especially if the pain is accompanied by chills or fever. Now let's have a closer look at gout, what it is and what causes it and more importantly, how we can help the gout patient with some good natural medicine suggestions.

Gout is arthritis

Gout is regarded as a form of rheumatism and is one of the most painful forms of arthritis. There are different types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, the "wear and tear" arthritis of the larger joints like hips, knees, back, etc. Then there is rheumatoid arthritis which is the inflammatory (heat) arthritis affecting the smaller joints generally like the writs, fingers, etc. And then there is gout, what I call the "red-blooded male's arthritis". I can remember reading a book awhile ago about the era of the large ocean going vessels such as the Endeavour during the golden age of discovery. Many officers on board such vessels suffered terribly from gout. Mind you, they were the commanding men who drank plenty of rum and ate plenty of beef with lashings of gravy. So what has changed? Blokes still like to command, drink rum and coke or cold beer, and eat hot steaks and what red-blooded guy doesn't? I have never seen a committed vegetarian suffering with gout, and very much doubt they even exist in this country.

Signs and Symptoms of Gout

Recurrent, acute attacks of pain, tenderness, redness, inflammation and swelling around the smaller joints - especially the joint of the big toe. Why the big toe you ask? Common sense - because it is the joint at the lowest point of the body, the area where deposits of uric acid and other wastes tend to form due to gravity. If you are right-handed, the right big toe joint will be more likely affected than you left, and vice versa. This is because you step off and lead with your right foot as you walk, and is will have therefore a slightly better circulation of nutrients (and therefore also a little more deposition of wastes) than your left foot. Reflexologists often talk about "crystals" forming around the toe joints, and you can feel "crunching" sensations if you prod firmly under your toes or wiggle the toe joints at times. The patient can also feel quite a sharp and rather intense pain in a small joint, particularly the toe or wrist. The affected joint can be red, hot, swollen and even throbbing. It may feel "on fire". As earlier mentioned, the pain can be so unbearable that even a bed sheet can cause excrutiating pain.

Gout statistics

繚 Gout afflicts approximately up to 0.5% of the population of the western world.

繚 Over 95% of gout sufferers are men aged 30 or over.

繚 Gout is twenty times more likely in males than women.

繚 Gout is strongly associated with being overweight and having high blood pressure.

繚 Gout can also occur in women, more commonly after menopause.

繚 Maori (New Zealand indigenous peoples) and Pacific Islander peoples in particular tend to have high uric acid levels and are predisposed to gout, especially the Maori patients I see who love abalone, mussels, roe (fish eggs like caviar) and crayfish (like lobster). I would expect that indigenous American or African peoples would similarly be affected by gout, particulary when they live in the developed Western countries and eat foods high in purines.

繚 The type of individual most commonly affected by gout is an overweight man who drinks large amounts of alcohol, is a regular meat-eater, loves rich foods and who may have high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

What causes an acute gout attack?

繚 Certain medications, such as some types of diuretics, can cause gout. Aspirin and niacin (Vitamin B3) can also raise uric acid levels.

繚 Certain diseases can lead to an excessive production of uric acid in the body, including some leukaemias, lymphomas and some haemoglobin (blood) disorders.

繚 Some studies have indicated an increased prevalence of low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) in people with gout.

繚 Dehydration (alcohol & caffeine dehydrates).

繚 Injury to a joint.

繚 Excessive intake of purine-containing foods (see list below).

繚 Heavy alcohol intake.

繚 Recent surgery (this may be related to changes in the body fluid balance because of fasting before surgery).

繚 Family history - hereditary.

What is Uric acid?

Approximately 70% of gout patients have an overproduction of uric acid, the remaining 30% of gout patients have a poor elimination of uric acid, therefore it makes sense to eat fewer foods which help to produce uric acid, and improve uric acid elimination by way of the kidneys.

Uric acid is a by-product of the breakdown of certain foods in the body, and gout was once considered to be closely related just to diet. It is now understood that inheriting a problem with uric acid excretion from the body is probably one of the most common reasons for gout to occur. Improving a person's kidney function as much as possible has helped many gout sufferers I have seen over the years.

Uric acid is the end product of the metabolism of chemicals called purine that are found in many foods. Purines are also found naturally in the body, and normally, the body disposes of excess uric acid via the urine, but in people with gout uric acid accumulates in the body. This can be due to reduced excretion of uric acid by the kidneys or to overproduction of uric acid by the body. This accumulation of uric acid may also cause kidney stones, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that you need to improve the kidney function as much as is possible to help the patient overcome gout.

Gout can be very painful indeed

How come gout hurts, where does all that pain come from? Simple, when the uric acid accumulate in the blood and tissues it can crystallise out into a joint, forming a multitude of tiny, jagged, needle-shaped crystals. This triggers an intense inflammatory response that causes a painful arthritis attack called a gout attack. Have you ever stood on a pin or a needle, perhaps some broken glass and got annoyed and irritated by this? Then you will know how a gout sufferer will feel - they can be most irritated and annoyed like a child who has just stood on a pin cushion. Pain has a way of bringing out the worst in many people! As I mentioned, gout commonly strikes the big toe, but other joints can be affected, including the instep, ankle, knee, wrist, elbow and fingers. Acute pain is generally the first symptom and then the affected joint becomes inflamed (almost infected-looking): red, swollen, hot and extremely sensitive to the touch. I have many times seen a case of gout in the clinic that the patient's doctor referred to as "osteoarthritis", when in fact it had all the makings of gout. Signs and symptoms such as a needle-like pain affecting the small joint, male patient who enjoys alcohol drinker, crayfish and roe (fish eggs), enjoys barbeques and steaks, etc. Common things happen to people commonly, I have often said.

The funny thing with guys is, you see them once then you don't tend to see them again in the clinic. I believe that it is purely the pain that brings them ultimately to see the practitioner. This is especially so for some larger blokes I have seen where the pain was not helped to a large degree by the standard gout drugs, and then there is much more of an urgency to that appointment. I have often said that there is nothing more than a high degree of pain to bring a guy to your room as a patient. If you are a regular reader of my column, you may recall that I have often said that males belong to the "John Wayne School of Health": "I'll be alright, there's nothing wrong with me, and I'll just get right back on that horse and keep on riding". I can recall in one Western that even John Wayne himself went to see a doctor when the pain of a rather large shotgun blast in his shoulder was preventing him from actually getting on his horse, and even then the doctor's visit seemed was under duress!

Good thing that, the pain, it may be nature's way of getting guys off their horses (or out of their cars) and into clinics! If a woman experiences pain, let's say one out of a scale of ten - then she is off to get it investigated. She tends to be much more proactive, is it any wonder a woman will live longer than a man? Males tend to wait until the pain moves from four to five out of ten, and even then, the visit is seen as an "inconvenience". If a man would only start to improve his gout when he experiences the pain at a level of one out of ten, then he will find it a lot easier to turn gout around than when the pain is nine out of ten. This is because at low occasional pain levels, gout is not quite a disease process yet, it is a functional disturbance which can be much more easily corrected. An appointment with the naturopath at this stage will reveal that the man will probably be eating and drinking the wrong foods contributing to the progression of his gout, all he needs at this stage is a change of diet and an improvement in his kidney function to help the clearance of uric acid. Better still, if his blood can be cleansed with appropriate treatment such as a detox process, he will feel much better, reducing and even possibly eliminating his chances of developing full-blown gout.

A visit at high pain levels will only be sought in terms of pain relief, and there will be pathology or disease present. And the stronger the pain, the more urgent will be the pain relief naturally. Seriously bad gout pain can make the biggest blokes cry like the biggest babies, I have seen this on one occasion when a tough Aussie male burst into tears as he told me that even the thin sheet at night on his big toe was excruciatingly painful. This guy was into cold beer and hot pies and had plenty of both, the tears were real and no laughing matter folks!

These cases are harder to turn around because all the focus is purely on strong pain control. Supplements may work, but are not as powerful as pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to pain control, hence the reason why we only see the gout patient once. The drugs which control pain wreck the person's digestion in time, that's the real problem and the stark reality. And the underlying problem is not really sorted either, the offending ways continue and so does the gout. So convenient, just switch off that pain. Interesting if we compare the recent financial crisis which was due to "extending credit", I think medicine is going down the same path until we end up with the upcoming "health crisis" globally which will be due similarly to extending credit of a different nature. You temporarily solve a problem by taking away the pain but create the long term crisis and avoid treating the real underlying causes. I have to admit, this is one area in which natural therapists fail - strong pain control. We are the preventative medicine experts. Acupuncture will have some benefit here, but many patients are just not keen on the needles. Herbs or supplements? Not really, drugs do work well but why wait until you need strong pain relief is my question, why not address conditions like gout BEFORE you require the strong solution?

Conventional Treatment of gout Allopurinol is the pharmaceutical drug of choice used in long-term prevention of gout and decreases the body's production of uric acid. People experiencing gout attacks should, however, avoid medications containing aspirin as these can make gout worse. Pain relievers such as paracetamol or other more powerful analgesics, are often used to manage the pain. Anti-inflammatories, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are used to decrease joint inflammation and reduce the pain. If NSAIDs cannot be given because of an ulcer, your doctor may use colchicine may be used to settle an attack. I have found the homeopathic colchicines (30c) can be very useful for the gout patient instead of this drug. Do you take a "water tablet" or a diuretic? Pharmaceutical diuretics may cause gout in people who are genetically predisposed to gout by increasing the accumulation of uric acid within the body.

Resting the joint, possibly in a splint, and applying ice packs may help. Ice is a great acute gout treatment which I highly recommend.

Preventing further gout attacks

Prevention is the thing which you need to focus your attention to, and in my opinion is equally as important as treating the gout.

繚 Reduction or elimination of alcohol consumption, this is the BIG one in my opinion. Alcohol causes uric acid levels to rise and has a diuretic effect that can add to dehydration and bring on gout attacks

繚 Make sure you drink plenty of water to promote the excretion of uric acid;

繚 Weight reduction, is often necessary. This can be achieved by reducing dietary fat and calorie intake, which should be combined with a regular (walking) programme.

繚 "Crash diets" should be avoided as this can lead to an increase in uric acid levels through lowered uric acid excretion, you put more pressure on the kidneys and liver when you try to lose weight too quickly and end up with more problems than you can solve!

繚 Dietary changes to reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Avoid purine-rich foods such as shellfish, organ meats (liver, brains, kidney etc.), and fish roe, abalone, lobster or crayfish, crabs, anchovies and sardines.

繚 Limit the intake of dried beans and peas and yeast products like beer and bread.

繚 Try an ice pack on the affected area, sometimes a foot spa can help as well.

繚 Reflexology has helped many patients and is well worth a try, so is aromatherapy.

Eric's gout recommendations

  • Water
    This is the BIG one, drink at least six glasses per day and make sure that you have one of the glasses before you go to sleep - it helps get rid of uric acid. The more you pee the more uric acid you get rid of.

  • Reduce serum uric acid levels.Vitamin C in doses of 4000 up to 8000mg/day increased urinary excretion of uric acid and lowered serum uric acid levels in many trials. This effect would presumably reduce the risk of gout. However, it has been argued that rapid mobilisation of uric acid could trigger a gout attack; although such an effect of vitamin C supplementation has not been reported. To minimise this theoretical risk, I recommend the gout patient to start vitamin C at lower doses and build up gradually.Eat cherriesBlack cherries are the best (fresh or canned) up to 250gr aday or the equivalent amount of cherry juice, has been reported to relieve acute attacks, prevent recurrences, and reduce serum uric acid levels. Sweet yellow and red sour cherries were also effective. I have seen major improvements in more than a few males who stepped their intake of cherries up with acute attacks and have major pain relief (drug-free) within a week. Folic acid in doses of 10mg/day, when combined with unspecified doses of vitamin C, has been reported to reduce serum uric acid levels.

  • Reduce fructose intake. High consumption of fructose (fruit sugar) may increase the risk of gout due to the ability of fructose to increase the body's production of uric acid.If you have bad gout, avoid these high fructose food items: Honey, dates, raisins, figs,

  • Alcohol Daily drinking habits, lack of exercise, and dehydration enhance the increase in plasma concentration of uric acid induced by alcohol, and it is important to pay attention to these factors, as well as to the ingested alcohol volume and type of alcoholic beverage. An excess of alcohol should be avoided. Total abstinence and avoidance of alcohol may be required in severe cases. The worst alcohols to consume with gout are the ones you "can't see though" like whiskey, bourbon, rum, beer, etc. The alcohols which don't seem as bad are the "clear" ones like vodka and gin. You should avoid ALL alcohol if you have bad gout. See now why guys don't tend to come back to the naturopath now if they have bad gout? One male gout patient called me the "fun police", when I made the recommendations of abstinence. I expect his pain levels were not high enough, believe me, ANY male will do whatever it takes to get rid of that pain!

  • Diet Consume a moderate amount of protein. Limit meat, fish and poultry to 100 - 120 grams per day. Try other low-purine good protein foods such as low fat dairy products, tofu and eggs.

  • Body weightMaintenance of, or gradual reduction to, ideal body weight could prove helpful. Your blood pressure will drop, so will your cholesterol and not only your likelihood to avoid gout attacks, but you will reduce your chances of most chronic diseases.

  • Diet Avoid as much as possible: anchovies, crayfish or lobster, shellfish, abalone, fish roe (or eggs live caviar), herring, mackerel, meat extracts, beef in general, kidney or organ meats, lamb, pork, mussels, paua, roe, sardines, yeast (baker's and brewer's, taken as supplement) coffee, tea and ALL alcoholic beverages, chocolate, cocoa, caffeine containing soft drinks, wheat germ, pastry, high fat biscuits and cakes, whipped cream, fried potato, potato chips, broth, bouillon, consomm矇, meat stock soups and gravies. Eat these foods with caution: Asparagus, dried beans lentils, meat, mushrooms, dried peas, spinach (silverbeet) To have in your diet: Milk and milk drinks, carbonated beverages, cereal/grain beverages. All breads and cereals, low fat biscuits, cakes, and puddings. Fat in moderation only, fruit juices such as cherry, blue berry are particularly good. Eat cherries and blue berries. Fish ok, but stick with younger fishes. Chicken and ham, soups, most all the common vegetables, condiments, herbs, nuts, olives, peanut butter, pickles, popcorn, relishes, salt.

Apple Cider Vinegar As an Arthritis Home Remedy

Many of us are familiar with joint pains. In America, approximately 50 million people are suffering from arthritis or similar rheumatic diseases, general joint pains and other conditions on a regular basis. Medications that are used conventionally offers minimal joint pain relief, however, people must not lose hope. Natural home remedies can be combined with these medications to provide relief from pain caused by arthritis. Aside from the usual lifestyle modification and dietary changes, home remedies like apple cider vinegar has been a beneficial treatment to joint pains associated with arthritis.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been among the many natural remedies available that has been widely used for the various benefits it has given to many people with different conditions. One of the symptoms apple cider vinegar treats is the joint pain caused by arthritis. Accordingly, ACV contains the needed nutrients in relieving the pain caused by arthritis. Among these vitamins and minerals found in ACVr include potassium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium, sulphur, iron, and fluorine, silicon, and trace minerals.

Mineral deficiency is caused by the worsening joint pain, and apple cider vinegar's vitamins and minerals are able to replace the loss. Aside from that, the potassium found in apple cider vinegar works by preventing accumulation of calcium in bones, which is the cause of joint stiffening. Digestive benefits are also provided when apple cider vinegar is raw and unprocessed. A teaspoon of ACV when taken just before eating causes improved absorption and digestion. This is particularly needed among people diagnosed with arthritis, as they have the tendency to have poor absorption, which aggravates nutrient deficiency. It is important to address the problem of lacking nutrients because they are essential of repairing and preserving affected joints. Using natural arthritis pain relief measures is almost always the best first approach.

The joint pain in arthritis is highly associated with the build up of toxic wastes in the joints, due to the accumulation of metabolic wastes in the surrounding connective tissues. Lack of activities that allow range of motion in muscles and joints are also the cause of pain in arthritis, and this is highly observed among patients, because these individuals tend to shun from moving due to pain. Pectin found in apple cider vinegar absorbs the toxin build up and removes them from the system and the acid in the substance acts by purifying and detoxifying the system.

ACV can be fully achieved when it is organic, raw, unfiltered and unprocessed. The vinegar should be ruddy-color with an evident amount of residue suspended in the bottle. This is the natural build up of helpful enzymes and nutrients. ACV in other forms, like pills, are inferior and a lot less effective.The simplest method to integrate apple cider vinegar into diet is to mix at least 3 teaspoons in eight ounces of water three times a day, before taking meals. It can be sweetened by adding honey if desired. For those suffering from arthritis joint pain, ACV can also be used topically to alleviate pain. It can also be used as foot or hand soak by mixing a cup of apple cider vinegar and six cups of water, or mixing apple cider vinegar with oil to be used to rub over affected joints.

Arthritis - Coping With This Crippling Disease

Many people would associate arthritis with the onset of old age. Although old people may suffer from arthritis, it isn't only the elderly who are affected by arthritis. Many younger people, including some in their teens suffer from some kind of arthritis. Dictionaries define arthritis as being an inflammation of the joints due to infectious, metabolic, or constitutional causes. Obviously that can include a large number of different causes of this illness.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and the cartilage of the joints; furthermore it is an ongoing, degenerative disease. This is probably one of the most difficult aspects of the disease to cope with: although today may be painful, the future will possibly only be worse.

There are more than one hundred different types of arthritis. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis, caused by the wear and tear exerted on the joints through a lifetime and rheumatoid arthritis, caused by an autoimmune response in the body. Osteoarthritis is the arthritis associated with getting older. This is the version of arthritis that most people think of when talking about arthritis. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the body is tricked into acting as though there were an infection in the joint. As a result there is swelling, inflammation and pain in that joint as the body endeavors to fight the phantom infection.

The most common medical treatment offered to arthritis patients are NSAID's or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. The drawback with these drugs is that they can cause irritation in the intestinal tract and some researchers believe may even make the deterioration of the joints worse.

Alternative treatments for arthritis include the use of Glucosamine Sulfate, turmeric and fish oils. Studies have suggested that glucosamine helps to build cartilage and therefore rebuild the damage done to joints both from wear and tear as well as arthritis. Turmeric, a yellow spice used in curries and prepared mustard, has anti-inflammatory qualities. One of the compounds in turmeric that is so helpful, called curcumin, can be bought in capsule form. Fish oils, particularly EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), help to fight inflammation. In addition, as omega-3 fatty acids, they contribute to general health in the body.

Coping with arthritis is an ongoing process, given that arthritis tends to get worse over time. Obviously two priorities exist in this coping effort; to help the patient deal with the pain and to aid them in living as independently as possible. The issue of coping with pain will be part of the therapeutic process, using either pain medication and/or alternative methods. Some arthritis gets so bad that surgery is used to affect repair to the joints involved. As far as maintaining independence is concerned, successful therapy will help. If attempts to control the arthritis don't work, then a plan to adjust to limited mobility is called for.

Any degenerative illness like arthritis is a real challenge to the health of the person suffering from it. Not only is the arthritis a painful and crippling disease in the first place; but exercise, something that is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight as well cardiovascular health, can become all but impossible. Although seeking a cure to an arthritic condition may be laudable, a far more effective strategy may be to aim at reducing the pain, healing what can be healed and planning to maintain independent living as long as possible. A cure would be wonderful, but learning to cope with arthritis in the meantime is a good idea.

How Arthritis Cream Can Help You Feel Better

If you suffer from arthritis, chances are that you want to find targeted pain relief. Affected joints can throb and ache especially in weather that is cold or damp. Arthritis cream can be a great way to bring about temporary relief. Because arthritis cream uses medicinal ingredients to provide relief it is important to know about them so that you can avoid drug interactions or allergic reactions.

Arthritis cream is often divided into hot creams and cooling creams. This can be great since different types of arthritis need different care regimens and using the wrong product can make your condition worse.

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, there can be heat and swelling in the joints. This is because the body's immune system is attacking the joints and there can be a lot of inflammation. It is this swelling and inflammation that can lead to pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers need to be careful of creams which cause the skin or tissues to heat up. This is because added heat can actually harm joints more.

Osteoarthritis does not cause the same heat and inflammation. This is because osteoarthritis is caused by a breakdown in cartilage. Osteoarthritis usually develops as a result of repeated joint use or advanced age although some athletes may develop arthritis in their joints at an earlier age. Joints may feel better as a result of using creams which heat the joints.

Cooling arthritis creams may use salicylate, a drug related to Aspirin to bring on relief from pain and stiffness. People allergic to aspirin should be careful since the drug can be absorbed through the skin.

Arthritis creams which heat the skin and the joints can be a great relief to people suffering from arthritis. They often used capsaicin, the ingredient which gives chillies their heat, to warm tissues and ease pain.

Heating and cooling creams can help in other ways as well. In order to apply the creams they must be rubbed into the skin. This is true whether it is a cream that is squeezed from a tube or put on with the use of a rolling applicator. When anything is massaged into tissues, there is a therapeutic effect. This is because massage will cause increased blood flow to an area which can help to make those body parts feel much better.

Arthritis sufferers who are on specific drug therapies should always make sure to talk to their doctor or a pharmacist before adding any medicines or products to their care regimen. This is because the skin can absorb medications and you want to make sure that there will not be any bad reactions between your cream and the other medications you are using. Finding a way to ease your pain and discomfort can be a valuable tool to managing your disease.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What Dog Arthritis Means For Your Pooch

No one ever said that arthritis was just for humans - arthritis is quite common throughout all dog breeds as they get older. About 1 of every 5 dogs over the age of seven suffers from this disease or between 20-25% of the dog population.

Veterinarians treat dog arthritis, easily defined as inflammation of the joints, more than just about any other ailment. The arthritis can be caused due to aging, excessive exercise, or injury. As a dog jumps, walks, and runs, their bones rub together and if the joints become inflamed, the result is arthritis.

Joints commonly affected with arthritis include the knee, shoulder, ankle, elbow, and most commonly, the hips.

Which Dogs Get Arthritis

The most common form of arthritis in dogs is degenerative joint disease (synonymous with osteoarthritis). Osteoarthritis is a slowly progressing disease that occurs due to the breakdown and destruction of the dog's cartilage. As it gets worse, the bones begin to grind against one another causing pain, reduced flexibility, inflammation, and a reduction in mobility.

Arthritis is almost inevitable with age but dogs that are overweight and put undue stress on their joints can suffer more than others. Pure bred dogs are generally more susceptible to arthritis as well as larger dogs whose size puts weight on their joints such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers and Mastiffs. Some small dogs like Dachshunds or Beagles are also more likely to have joint problems due to their oddly shaped bodies which put stress on their joints.


Signs that your dog is experiencing arthritis include favoring a limb, having difficulty sitting or standing, acting like his joints are sore or stiff, hesitating to jump or climb stairs, or evidence that his range of motion is decreasing. As arthritis pain affects your dog, his behavior or attitude may start to change; he may sleep more and show less interest in playing with you. Because of their lack of activity, they may also experience some weight gain and may not be as alert as they were previously.

If any of the symptoms persist for two weeks or longer, you should make an appointment with the veterinarian. Your vet will do a full physical exam and possibly run some X-rays to see if there is any other damage that is causing your dog to lose full limb capabilities.

As soon as your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, the vet can recommend the best course of treatment. He may prescribe some anti-inflammatory drugs as well as over the counter treatments that contain Omega fatty acids and glucosamine. Changes in diet may also be recommended.


There are a number of choices for treating pets with arthritis. Every pet and every owner presents a unique situation so there is no "one treatment fits all" approach. Some people do not want their pets taking medications so they look for more natural or holistic therapies. Other owners are comfortable with their pet taking corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

A number of medications are available to reduce pain and to improve range of motion, especially helpful if your dog needs a certain activity level to maintain his optimum weight.

How You Can Help

Weight loss to correct obesity, dietary changes, and carefully managed exercise levels can have huge benefits for pets suffering from arthritis. In fact, the single most important factor in controlling pain associated with arthritis is for your dog to be at his optimum weight.

You may need to change your dog's exercise routine - instead of going with you on your morning jog, he may have to settle for an evening walk. Make sure that he's not trying to be a "weekend warrior" - active during the weekend when your family is home from work and school - but showing obvious signs of pain and stiffness come Monday morning. A good exercise routine of regular, short to medium length walks and/or swimming will help to strengthen his muscles and reduce the effects of arthritis.

Make sure that he has a comfortable bed to sleep on which will keep him from lying on a hard floor surface. If he's older, he may need a soft mattress and blankets. Raise his food and water bowls to relieve pressure on his spine.

Pet stairs can help him get to places he can no longer jump to easily. If he has a dog ramp to get in and out of your car or truck, he won't have to jump from the car onto the concrete driveway which puts a lot of strain on his joints.

Advanced Arthritis - What You Need to Know

Advanced arthritis has to be diagnosed. A doctor will review your medical history as well as giving you a physical examination of the joints affected by arthritis - sometimes x-rays are also used. Although your doctor can help with this diagnosis, it is usually something that the person affected knows about both on a physical and emotional level.

Don't despair if you have been given the diagnosis of advanced arthritis as there are lots of treatments and options available. You can go and see other health care professionals, such as a rheumatologist (if you have rheumatoid arthritis) or a psychiatrist who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, as well as occupational therapists and even chiropractors.

All of the above specialists can help with your condition but are there any more natural solutions? The short answer is yes.

There are alternative therapies such as acupuncture as well as certain forms of manipulation and gentle massage. There are also herbal remedies, both herbs used in the west for arthritis but there are also Chinese and Indian herbs that can help. You can visit a doctor who specializes in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) as well as an Ayurveda specialist who can help you using certain herbs and spices well known in this ancient healing system of India. Nutritional supplements can also help and they often include glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin sulfate. You could visit a Naturopath who can help you with supplementation. It is wise to consult your doctor if you decide on natural supplements, in case they are contra indicative of any other medication you are taking.

For natural alternatives to pain relief, try honey and apple cider vinegar as this has proved to be very effective in a lot of cases. Other alternatives include cinnamon - either the powdered bark or cinnamon essential oil as well as blackstrap molasses.

You can find out more about these natural remedies for advanced arthritis by simply searching the internet or going to any of the specialists mentioned above.

Osteo Arthritis - It's Important to Avoid Aggravating Foods

There are many causes of osteo arthritis and climate and diet are among them. We can't all live in a warm, Mediterranean climate, which helps to prevent our joints becoming cold and stiff. But we can all watch what we eat and drink as many of us are aggravating our condition with toxic products.

Three main types of food aggravate arthritis:

Dairy products
Various acidic foods and drinks
Wheat products

Dairy products, like milk, butter and cheese are hard for the human body to digest. Cows have two stomachs and the milk meant for their calves grows big bones and small brains. It's not strictly for humans, especially if your body can't copy with it.

One lecturer who talked about arthritis showed her audience her hands and knuckles, which were completely flexible. She drank a glass of milk and within 20 minutes her knuckles and joints had swollen and she was unable to make a fist. She was allergic to cows milk.

Dairy products leave fat deposits in the body, upset the stomach and clog up circulation. They also encourage the development of catarrh in children, which can lead to sinus and adenoid problems.

As a replacement you might try other milks and cheese, from goat's milk, sheep's milk or soya. They are much better for the arthritic, as well, it might be said, for people with allergy problems, like asthma.

Acid Foods, like rhubarb and citrus, aggravate the joints. Certain sharp fruits, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, are not good for the joints. Also carbonated fizzy drinks, alcohol and spicy foods and flavourings can cause acid to form in the stomach, and this goes into the joints.

Many natural practitioners recommend that the arthritic should have no fruit at all and this is true in many cases. People with extreme arthritis should follow this regime. Many however can do well by eating more gentle non-acid fruit, like grapes, cherries, apples, pears and banana.

You should see how you get on. If your arthritis doesn't improve then cut out fruit altogether.

The third thing, Wheat, has become a staple of Western diet but again it is hard to digest. With many people it causes bloating and indigestion, which again puts acid into the blood and then the joints.

An experiment that gave farm animals a choice of different grains to eat found that they preferred other grains, like oats, rye, barley and corn to wheat, and only ate wheat if there was nothing else.

We can learn a lesson from that and should do the same. It is advisable to cut down on bread altogether, perhaps just having it once a day if necessary. The problems with wheat accumulate, the more you have it.

If you feel you need some bread you should consider switching to having a light rye bread, oat-based cereal for breakfast and cutting down on wheat-based sandwiches and wheat pasta.

Meat products, like beef, pork and lamb, are rather acidic and cause some of the graunching in shoulders and other joints. Ideally cut these out of your diet and just have a little free-range chicken and wild fish. Or alternatively have more vegetarian meals and just have meat once or twice a week.

You will feel better, will be less bloated and the joints will improve.

Is Arthritis Contagious?

There are many causes of arthritis, and several different forms the condition can take. Some of these can be caused by another organism, but not from person to person contact. Arthritis is not contagious, per se. However, the same insect or bacteria can cause it in more than one person.

The most common form is osteoarthritis, caused by injuries and/or general wear and tear on the joint. A tendency towards it may run in families. If one or both of your parents have/had the problem, you are at risk for developing it. Knowing this can help you make decisions that will improve your joint health and decrease the severity of the potential problems.

Other forms of this condition may be a little more difficult to predict or prevent. There are a few things you can do, but you have to know about them in order to protect yourself and your family from them. Here are a few examples of what can cause the problem and possible solutions.

Auto-immune disorders: Rheumatoid arthritis is a general name applied to nearly two hundred different diseases, classified as an auto-immune disorder. That means your immune system doesn't recognize some other part of your body and attacks it. In this instance, it is attacking your joints. It usually starts in the smaller ones such as those of your hands and feet, but it can attack the larger ones.

This disease can be debilitating, and progress to gradually worse symptoms, so early diagnosis is your best plan. You will probably need prescription medications to mitigate the damage. If you wish to use herbal preparations, you will have to coordinate these with your doctor, as some can affect the immune system and could interact.

Food: What you eat does more than just provide fuel for your body. It can also present some serious problems. One of them is gout, sometimes called gouty arthritis. The cause is a buildup of uric acid, which develops into crystals. These get deposited into your joints when they get too heavy for the blood to pump it around. The right big toe is usually the first area affected, and it is extremely painful.

Watching how much and what type of protein you ingest is your best defense. Purine, a substance found in all proteins breaks down to uric acid. Under normal conditions, your kidneys filter this out, but if there is too much and/or the kidneys aren't functioning properly, it builds up.

Lyme Disease: Ticks can carry a bacteria which gets passed on to whatever it bites. This bacteria causes an inflammatory condition that can lead to debilitating arthritis if it isn't caught early enough. Not all doctors believe this is a real disease, so you may need a second opinion if testing is not done. Your medical history, places you've been that may have allowed ticks access and blood tests will help with a diagnosis. It is important to catch it early.

The only way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid ticks. That may be easier said than done, but a good insect repellent, hats and protective clothing may help in this effort. If you do get bitten by a tick, watch for a round, red rash that has a bull's eye center. That's the first sign that you may have the disease.

Viral Arthritis: This is one type of arthritis that has a potential good outcome. Most people who develop it get over it in time. Several different viruses can be a culprit here, including mumps and rubella. This usually only needs supportive treatment such as pain relief and will disappear entirely for most patients.

Arthritis is a painful condition, but there are things that can be done. Work with your doctor until you find the best treatment program. Make sure the doctor knows any medications or supplements you are taking and if you have any other medical conditions. This will help prevent side effects and interactions.

Isolated Supplements and Osteoarthritis

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, "[o]steoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis," with approximately 9 million Americans suffering from this condition (as of 2005). Moreover, osteoarthritis is a painful degenerative disease of the joint cartilage that causes disability for millions of people.

Consequently, the medical profession has long sought to find either a cure or a reliable method of reliving the pain of this condition, and they have found it-with isolated supplements. Or have they?

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

Glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate (alone or in combination) are two types of isolated supplements that have received much media attention for their purported ability to slow the progression of osteoarthritis as well as relieve the sometimes excruciating pain of this condition.

Since glucosamine is a component of cartilage, it would make sense that supplementation with glucosamine might improve the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Indeed, previous studies have indicated that glucosamine supplementation may well reduce the inflammation and the pain of this condition-especially when combined with chondroitin sulfate.

Chondroitin sulfate is an essential building block for the structure of the joint that is purported to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and to have some (limited) beneficial effects on the pain of this condition. In combination, these two isolated supplements-glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate-are considered to be a miraculous mixture for the successful treatment of this condition.

The Science

Although their have been many conflicting studies about the efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in the treatment of osteoarthritis, the results of a 2008 study are particularly compelling.

This Glucosamine-chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) tested the effects of these two isolated supplements-alone and in combination-on patients who suffered from knee osteoarthritis. According to Medpage today, "[p]atients in GAIT were randomized to 1,500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride, 1,200 mg of chondroitin sulfate, both glucosamine and chondroitin, 200 mg of celecoxib (Celebrex), or placebo for up to two years."

Are Isolated Supplements Enough?

The results of GAIT showed the isolated supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin did not significantly slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis (as indicated by x-rays taken throughout the study). Moreover, these two isolated supplements, when combined, were less effective than placebos at slowing the progression of osteoarthritis.

Dr. Allen D. Sawitzke and colleagues at the University of Utah, who conducted the study, theorized that chondroitin might hinder the proper absorption of glucosamine, which could explain why the combination of these supplements were ineffective. But, Sawitzke stressed, none of their tests indicated a statistically significant improvement in those with severe osteoarthritis for either one of these isolated supplements. There were some beneficial effects seen in those with moderate osteoarthritis, however, (The results of this study were published in the October 2008 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism).

It should be noted, however, that GAIT only studied the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin on the progression of osteoarthritis-not on their possible effects on the pain of this condition.

What is the Solution?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are not the only two isolated supplements that have been promoted as "natural cures" for the inflammation, pain, and crippling progression of osteoarthritis. Indeed, supplementation with S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) or Niacinamide (a form of B3) have also been shown, in studies, to improve osteoarthritis symptoms.

But the best way to treat osteoarthritis, say experts, is to combine such isolated supplements with a number of medical and holistic treatment options.

Medical and Holistic Treatment Options of Osteoarthritis

There are several medical and holistic treatment options that have shown varying degrees of effectiveness in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Here is a list of just a few of them.

Drugs. There are many prescription and non-prescription drugs-such as acetaminophen, NSAIDS (nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs), and analgesics-that have proven to bring some relief from the pain of osteoarthritis.

Exercise. Regular physical exercise has proven to ease the pain, and aid joint flexibility, in those with osteoarthritis. (Exercise lubricates the joints, making movement less painful).

Knee support. Methods of stabilizing the knee-such as knee wraps and knee braces-have proven to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.

Weight Reduction. Obesity is not only a risk factor for developing osteoarthritis, but it can worsen the pain and joint stiffness of this condition. Losing weight, therefore, is a valid treatment option for this condition.

Tropical creams. There are a number of tropical creams on the market that have shown to reduce the pain of arthritic joints. These are generally used in combination with other treatment options-such as isolated supplements and exercise-to provide relief from osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture. This ancient therapy-which uses needles to open healing energy pathways within the body-has been proven alleviate many types of pain, including that of osteoarthritis.

Lifestyle modifications. The pain of osteoporosis can frequently be relieved by making a few simple lifestyle modifications. For instance, change exercise from from running (which puts stress on the joints) to walking. Avoid frequent climbing of stairs. Participate in water aerobics, or other aqua exercises, which cushions the joints while giving the body a good workout.

Surgery. There are many surgical options used to treat osteoarthritis. Some of these surgeries allow the doctor to clean out the debris around the knee joint. Other surgeries involve a complete or partial replacement of the kneecap. These surgeries are typically used when all other methods have failed.

Today, there are many treatment options for osteoarthritis that go beyond isolated supplements. Although each of these methods have shown varying rates of success, a combination of them could well relieve the pain (and even the progression) of this, one of the most common types of arthritis.