Saturday, April 13, 2013

Arthritis Treatment: What's Involved With Osteoarthritis Of The Ankle Treatment?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is, by far, the most common form of arthritis and affects more than 20 million Americans. It is a condition that adversely affects hyaline articular cartilage, the tough gristle that caps the ends of long bones.

Hyaline cartilage is made up of a matrix consisting of a combination of proteoglycans (complexes of proteins and sugars) and chondrocytes. Chondrocytes are cartilage cells that manufacture matrix under normal healthy circumstances. They are responsible for nourishing the matrix as well.

However, when OA develops, a distinct change in the joint environment occurs. Chondrocytes begin to elaborate destructive enzymes causing cracks in the cartilage. These are called "fibrillations."

The synovium (lining of the joint) becomes inflamed, and the underlying bone becomes sclerotic (hard) and forms spurs.

The soft tissue structures surrounding the joint such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles also become affected as a secondary result of OA.

One joint that is often ignored because it is not as commonly affected as others is the ankle.
Approximately 1 per cent of people have ankle osteoarthritis. However, the incidence of this condition is expected to increase.

OA of the ankle typically comes about as a result of injury. The most common injuries leading to ankle OA are fractures, ligament injuries, and osteochondral injuries. The latter are a peculiar type of condition that causes a small section of cartilage and underlying bone to die.

Other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to OA of the ankle. Because trauma is the leading cause of ankle OA, people with ankle OA tend to be younger than patients with OA involving other weight-bearing joints.

Despite the relatively small number of people affected, the health burden of ankle OA is still enormous. People with ankle OA have difficulty with performing vocational and recreational activities as well as activities of daily living, according to a number of studies.

Treatment of ankle OA involves the same modalities as that used for other weight-bearing joints. Weight loss, physical therapy, exercise, patient education, and assistive devices such as braces can be helpful adjuncts. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and neutriceuticals such as glucosamine and chondroitin are also possible additions. Joint injections involving glucocorticoids and viscosupplements can be used. More recently, the utilization of autologous stem cell procedures to slow down and possibly regrow damaged cartilage has appeared promising.

Surgery should be a last resort. Unlike the knee and hip, joint replacements for the ankle are less than adequate. Fusion of the joint carries risks both during the procedure as well as after.

5 Powerful Juice Recipes for Arthritis Sufferers

Juicing can be a powerful way to combat the inflammation and pain caused by arthritic conditions. A variety of delicious juice recipes are available to help you manage your arthritis pain.

Arthritis is a painful, inflammatory condition of the joints that afflicts men and women of all ages. It involves the breakdown of cartilage, which normally acts as a cushion for your joints. In the absence of cushioning cartilage, bones rub together in a way they were not intended to, which can cause pain.

There are as many as one hundred types of arthritis, ranging from autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis to the more common osteoarthritis which affects most people as they age. Some forms of arthritis can even affect children. Most arthritis is associated with stiff joints that may also be swollen, creaky, and painful.

Joints affected by arthritis may have limited movement and in severe cases may become deformed in appearance. In rheumatoid arthritis joints may be red and warm to the touch and are typically equally affected on both sides of the body. All forms of arthritis can range from very mild to quite debilitating.

Many plants contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can help dramatically reduce symptoms. The standard "Western" diet, which includes a lot of pro-inflammatory foods such as red meat, dairy, refined and processed grains, and refined sugar, is believed to promote conditions such as arthritis. A diet built around fruits and vegetables helps to prevent chronic disease, including certain arthritic conditions.

Fruits and vegetables believed to be effective for those with arthritis pain include:

  • ginger

  • pineapple

  • papaya

  • blueberries

  • grapefruit

  • spinach

  • grapes

  • plums

  • collard greens

  • kale

  • pears

  • bok choy

  • sour cherries

  • pomegranate

  • cauliflower

  • raspberries

  • strawberries

  • onions

  • apples

  • carrots

  • beets

  • garlic

  • lettuce

Juicing concentrates the healthful compounds in these plants, allowing you to benefit from them more effectively than by eating small amounts of the whole fruit or vegetable. By harnessing the powerful antioxidants and enzymes of raw fruits and vegetables, using these juice recipes for arthritis may increase your joint mobility and comfort and reduce swelling.

You can also increase the anti-inflammatory effectiveness of your juice recipe by mixing it with green tea, raw cold-pressed flax seed oil or liquid fish oil. These all have additional properties that make them healthful elements in an anti-inflammatory diet.

Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Flax and fish oils contain omega 3 fatty acids which are useful for a variety of conditions including various forms of arthritis. These can also be mixed with fresh juices.

The following juice recipes for arthritis can all be easily made using most electric juicers.

Pineapple, Carrot & Celery Juice

5 carrots

2 stalks of celery

4 oz pineapple

1 tsp lemon juice

Papaya Orange Juice

翹 papaya, peeled

1 large orange, peeled

Papaya Blueberry Juice

2 cups blueberries

翹 papaya, peeled

Broccoli Carrot Juice

1/2 cup fresh broccoli, cut in pieces

3 medium carrots, roots only

1 apple, core removed

1/2 lemon, peeled

Sour Cherry-Pomegranate Juice

2 cups sour cherries

1 pomegranate, skin removed

1 apples, core removed

For each recipe, simply juice the listed ingredients in an electric juicer.

You can find other juicing remedies for arthritis on the internet or in books about juicing. However, many of the most successful recipes come from experimentation, so don't be afraid to use the list of fruits and vegetables above to come up with ideas for new juice combinations. You just might invent a juice that tastes fantastic while providing great relief for your achy, stiff joints!

Understanding The Devastating Effects of Osteoarthritis

Osteonecrosis sounds intimidating even before you know the meaning of the word. A form of arthritis in which the bone loses its access to the body's blood supply, osteonecrosis literally means "death of the bone." Without blood, the bone breaks downs and gradually disintegrates. This breakdown process is known as a vascular necrosis.

The process can be quite debilitating. It begins when the afflicted bones become soft and porous. Eventually, as they receive a dwindling supply of blood, they become brittle and easy to break. The condition most often affects the joints of the hips, knees, and ankles, though roughly 90 per cent of osteonecrosis sufferers experience the disease in their hips.

The average age of onset for osteonecrosis is 38 years, much lower than most forms of arthritis. But it can also afflict the young. In fact, Legg-Calve-Perth's disease, a form of osteonecrosis, can develop in both young children and teenagers. It tends to affect the hip or femur more than other joints, and if it's not treated aggressively in its early stages, the femur head will usually attempt to heal on its own, often healing in a collapsed position that causes pain and stiffness.

What's the cause of osteonecrosis, and is there anything you can do to prevent it?

Most instances of osteonecrosis occur after the joint has suffered a trauma or injury. A fracture or dislocation of the joint can actually block the supply of blood to the bone, which in turn causes the onset of osteonecrosis. Studies have determined that approximately 20 per cent of those who suffer from a hip injury will develop osteonecrosis, though keep in mind that these are generally significant traumas. A bump or a bruise is not likely to lead to an onset of osteonecrosis.

The most significant early sign of osteonecrosis is pain. Patients commonly note an aching feeling and generalized pain in the area of the affected joint. It may start out as a mild pain, primarily related to physical activity that places pressure on the bones, such as walking or lifting. It's often difficult for sufferers to pinpoint the precise location of the pain. In other words, they have trouble describing exactly where the pain originates. For example, individuals often report feeling pain in their groin area when the true inflammation is located in the hips.

Limited motion, joint stiffness, and muscle spasms are also signs of osteonecrosis, though these are less apparent in the early stages of the disease. As the osteonecrosis progresses they become more noticeable. However, they can come and go, making them more difficult to pin down for both the sufferer and the physician.

Treatment varies according to each patient's circumstances. To fight the inflammation, some doctors prescribe corticosteroids. However, most steroid-based drug medications cannot be taken for an extended period of time since they may cause dangerous side effects. Your doctor will be able to decide if this is an appropriate treatment option for your specific case.

Drug therapy is generally used in conjunction with other treatment options. These options may include dietary changes, special exercise routines, and in severe cases, surgical intervention. The use of special assistive devices such as walkers and crutches can also be used to deal with the effects of this often confounding condition.

Osteonecrosis is as devastating as it sounds, but it is not untreatable. As with any serious medical condition, work closely with your health care provider to develop a treatment plan that's right for your personal circumstances.

Food Intolerance and Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis you may be interested to know that there is a connection between this and food intolerances, in particular, allergy to wheat or dairy foodstuffs.

In a report from the UK Medical Research Council in 2001, it was stated that there is evidence from both case reports and controlled studies that an individualised diet, where offending foods are identified and removed, can cause an improvement in rheumatoid arthritis.

What we are talking about here is an elimination diet: removing virtually all the foods which might be causing symptoms, to determine whether symptoms improve, and then re-introducing food one at a time to identify which are causing the symptoms.

An example of this is described by consultant rheumatologist Dr Gail Darlington in a study published in 1986. She undertook a controlled study of 6 weeks of dietary manipulation therapy in 53 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. During the first week the patients were only allowed to eat foods they were unlikely to be intolerant to. Other food items were then introduced one at a time to see whether any symptoms were elicited by the dietary challenge. Foods producing symptoms were then excluded from the diet. There were significant improvements in the exclusion diet group in comparison to the placebo diet group.

Darlington went on to complete further clinical trials and in 1993 published a table of foods most likely to cause intolerance in patients with RA. The top five were corn, wheat, bacon/pork, oranges and milk.

None of this would have been surprising to Charles de Coti-Marsh, who undertook pioneering research into the causes and treatment of arthritis in the 1940s and 1950s. His findings convinced him that 'disease begins in the bowel', in other words, what we eat plays a major part in the development of many chronic conditions, including arthritis.

De Coti-Marsh treated patients by using what he called the 'Sanocell System.'' Judging the amount of toxic compounds (or food antigen) he believed to be present within that food, based on observation and case histories, he gave each food a value of 1-200, 200 being the most toxic to the body. His patients were given a Home Treatment Programme to follow, and at each stage of progress they were allowed to include in the diet all the foods below a certain number. Foods categorised by a higher number were not allowed. This was the elimination phase. As patients progressed, the Sanocell System allowed for the re-introduction of certain foods. It was an individualised diet, supervised by de Coti-Marsh himself.

Since the death of Charles de Coti-Marsh his Home Treatment for arthritis continues to be promoted by The Arthritic Association.

As scientific knowledge has progressed, so The Arthritic Association has presented its Home Treatment Programme for Arthritis in the context of scientific literature; investigated and ratified by the medical profession. As such, the charity's health programme has now been acknowledged to be a largely self-administered intervention based on the three areas of diet, supplementation and physical therapy.

If you would like to know how the Home Treatment programme can help you, please visit our website or call our Freephone number 0800 652 3188.

Elizabeth Hartland,
Nutritional Therapist,
The Arthritic Association

Five Reasons Why Fish Oil Helps Arthritis

Commonly referred to as the "inflammation of a joint," arthritis is one of those conditions that can be long-tern and can lead to disability if not given proper medical attention.

There are two main types of arthritis: the most common form called "Osteoarthritis" characterized by a mild yet painful aches that occurs to aging people and the "Rheumatoid Arthritis" (RA) characterized by pains in the joints that lead to fever, weakness, and deformity and affects people of all ages.

Studies show that about two percent of the people around the world are suffering from this systemic inflammatory disease. In this percentage, women become more prone to having the disease. RA is characterized by the inflammation and swelling of the joints affected, stiffness of the affected especially in the morning, exhaustion, fatigue, depression, swelling, bulging, and inflammation of patient's eyes and noticeable lumps or nodules beneath the person's skin.

RA is hard to cure because its cause is not yet determined. Researchers say that RA is attacks like a culprit because it starts with destroying innocent tissues in the body especially those located in the cartilage and joints.

From this attack, numerous joints suddenly turn swollen, red, and hot and will create a symmetrical sequence of inflammation that occurs on body's both sides.

Remedies for the "culprit" disease

Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed by matching a specific pattern of symptoms with a certain laboratory result. After the diagnosis, treatment would be recommended to the patient. Today, the most common means of treating RA is through medical treatment that is categorized into two types of drugs that include drugs that are "anti-inflammatory" that only relieve the symptoms of the disease but does not affect its progression, and drugs that belong to the "disease-modifying antirheumatic" or DMARDs group that greatly affects RA itself.

Sadly, these drugs used to treat RA are said to change the route of the disease and they can cause harsh side effects to patient. Because of the severity of the side effects, experts tried looking for a milder approach in treating the disease like natural treatments and alternatives especially in the early stages of RA.

Fish oils as a powerful preventive alternative remedy

For people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, it is indeed a challenging and tiring disease to battle with. Aside from trying medical treatments, more and more people who have RA are now looking for other options to somehow lessen the burden of the disease. Aside from anti-inflammatory drugs, people who suffer from RA are now more open to trying other alternative options such as different programs or sets of exercises, diet programs that include the consumption of fish oil, adequate rest, and proper exposure to heat.

Among all these alternative options, using fish oil is becoming more popular. Many studies are finding out how fish oil may help arthritis-especially rheumatoid arthritis. The following are just some of the reasons why many people are trying this breakthrough approach for an arthritis remedy.

1. Fish oil helps in the reduction of inflammatory compounds in the affected area. Studies show that adequate supplementation of fish oil in the affected area-such as joints or tissues-helps reduce the discharge of inflammatory composites from attacking the tissues.

2. Fish oil helps relieve some arthritis symptoms. With regular and proper use of fish oil, it helps relieve various symptoms of arthritis that include stiffness of the affected area especially in the morning.

3. Fish oil helps diminish joint pains. By using an average of three to six grams of fish oils everyday, it can lessen the inflammation and pain of joints especially those that are already tender.

4. Fish oil also helps in the reduction of heart disease risks especially in arthritis patients. Because of the Omega 3-fatty acids found in fish oils, the possibility of RA patients to develop various cardiovascular diseases is lessened.

5. Fish oil helps patients to save money. Compared to the price of drugs used in the medical treatments, RA patients are provided with what might be a cheaper and safer option for treating arthritis by using fish oils.

How You Can Beat Rheumatoid Arthritis Part 3: What Are the Symptoms?

Patients presenting to the rheumatologist are asked questions designed to elicit specific information. Since there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, it is important to get a good, accurate history of symptoms.

The most common symptoms are morning stiffness, joint pain and swelling, nodules under the skin in about 20% of patients, and fatigue.

The duration of morning stiffness generally exceeds one hour and often extends all day. Stiffness during the day may also occur if a patient sits for any length of time.

Joint swelling and pain affects both small as well as large joints in a symmetric fashion. Early on, small joints such as the hands, wrists, and feet are affected. As the disease progresses other joints become involved as well. Becasue patients vary in terms of pain tolerance, it may be necessary to ask relatives about a patient's pain symptoms. Questions regarding their ability to perform activities of daily living can provide valuable clues.

Fatigue is often profound and debilitating.

Since rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic illness it can lead to damage involving the brain and peripheral nervous system, skin, lungs, heart, and eyes.

Further, treatment with many of the medicines used in rheumatoid arthritis can lead to side-effects that affect the gastrointestinal system, the lungs, heart, and bones.

The course of RA is variable but progressive if untreated.

Causes of death include infection, malignancies, and vascular disease. There is some evidence that atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is accelerated and that certain cancers such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma occur more often.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Are Bumps on Finger Joints Signs of Arthritis?

If you have bumps on your finger joints you may have early signs of arthritis.

About two years ago, a friend of mine who is in her 40's came to me for advice about arthritis. Her doctor had told her that her neck was like she was 65 years old. Not only did she have arthritis in her neck, but in her feet as well. My friend is passionate about horse riding - how much longer will she be able to do that?

Both my parents had arthritis - my father's was in his feet and hands, my mother's in her back. My husband has arthritis in his knee - a result of a rugby injury and having cartilage removed. Arthritis is both painful and debilitating.

What causes arthritis?

There are two types of arthritis - osteoarthritis (the most common, caused by wear and tear) and rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints due to an autoimmune disease).

According to Doctor Ray Strand "over 70% of the people over 50 years of age have some degree of degenerative arthritis ".

Joint fluid from an inflamed joint, contains excessive free radicals. To counter free radical damage we need to consume a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and to supplement with optimal levels of antioxidants which include Vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, Vitamin D and Vitamin C. It is also advised to consume glucosamine which supports healthy cartilage.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease - caused by a virus or bacteria. The immune system becomes confused and it attacks itself rather than the bacteria or virus. The joints become inflamed causing chronic inflammation, pain and swelling; and the joint fluid which is usually thick becomes thin, so the cartilage becomes less protective.

My horse-riding friend is a 'health nut' - she eats organic food and has a healthy lifestyle. But that hasn't been enough to prevent Osteoarthritis. My suggestion is to add advanced-quality broad spectrum nutritional supplements - antioxidants, multi-vitamins, multi-minerals, glucosamine and omega-3 to a healthy lifestyle to support healthy joints and bones. And to also continue with exercise to maintain fitness, muscle strength, heart health, relieve pain and stiffness and to get better quality of sleep.

Various Over the Counter Gout Medication

Gout is one of the most severe types of arthritis among almost 100 types of arthritis. It is known as the metabolic arthritis and it is caused by the disturbed uric acid metabolism in the body. When too much uric acid builds up in the body, the formation of the tiny uric acid crystals begins to take place around the tendons and the tissues surrounding the joints. Gout is a serious concern for a large number of people these days. As a fact, most men after their 50 and most women after their menopause are the potential victims of the gout problems.

The most common and traditional symptoms of the gout are the acute pain in the joint areas, the intense swelling and the feeling of discomfort in the big toes. The big toes are the areas where the symptoms of the gout attack are first manifested in almost 75 per cent cases of the gout. So, any discomfort in the areas can be alarming. The redness, the tenderness of the skin and the heat felt on the gout affected areas are some of the common symptoms of gout. Sometimes, the growth of the uric acid crystals progresses to the point that it bursts through the skin to cause the discharge of a white chalk-like material. This is yet another gout symptom. The affected areas can be sensitive to a point where slight touch can affect the areas and an acute pain can be felt. Some patients of gout can have low degree fevers with nausea and vomiting. But these symptoms might not prevail in all gout patients. For some patients, the attack of gout can last for few hours and for some others the attack can last for even a few days.

There are various types of medications available for the gout patients. There are a number of over-the-counter medicines available to which the patients can have access to. Many medications are administered by the physicians according to the disease stage and an individual's response to disease. Most of the over-the-counter medicines are anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents. These are not recommended for the long-term use and they can only reduce the pain and inflammation for a short while. Indomethacin, the NSAID or the Intra-Articular Glucocorticoids are used as the over the counter medicines when they are administered through the joint injection.

Among the over-the-counter medicines available for the disease, Colchicine is most widely used. This is basically used for the weakening of the motility of granulocytes. The over the counter medications for the gout can also alleviate the pain and the inflammation. But one should be aware of the fact that these over the counter medicines for the gout can cause some side effects like diarrhea and nausea. So, if wish to discover the best over the counter medicine for the disease, it is better to consult your health professional to seek the expert advise.

What Is Osteoarthritis and What Can Be Done About It?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and affects approximately 28 million Americans. While it was initially viewed as a "wear and tear" phenomenon, it has become quite clear that it is a disease that is multifactorial in its development.

It is not a benign disease because, in addition to the pain, OA leads to functional disability as well as interference with activities of daily living. Eventually, though, it is the pain that brings the patient to the physician.

The joint is a dynamic structure where anabolic (building) activities are counterbalanced by catabolic (destructive) activities.

With OA, the catabolic activities gradually overtake the anabolic ones. While there are attempts at repair, these attempts are dysfunctional, leading to the formation of bony spurs, called osteophytes.

There are three major risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis. They are genetic (usually a family history is prominent), constitutional (obesity in the case of OA of the knee, and aging), and finally local components (injury, ligamentous laxity, congenital abnormalities).

The development of osteoarthritis starts with an initial injury to cartilage. Cartilage consists of cells called chondrocytes that sit inside a "soup", a matrix, which consists of collagen and proteoglycans.

The injury may trigger an inflammatory response leading to the synthesis of cartilage matrix degrading enzymes, produced by chondrocytes. Over time, the catabolic activities override anabolic activities and abnormal repair mechanisms lead to the formation of osteophytes, while cartilage continues to degrade.

The treatment for osteoarthritis is primarily symptomatic. Analgesics (pain relievers), non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), weight loss, exercise, assistive devices such as wedge insoles, braces, canes, walkers, and such. Injection of glucocorticoids and viscosupplements (lubricants derived either from rooster combs or from bacteria) may also be helpful.

Nonetheless, eventually patients will require surgery in the form of joint replacement. Joint replacement surgery has come a long way, but there are still concerns about them. The first is the possibility of a surgical complication such as blood clot or infection. The second issue is the finite lifespan of the prosthesis. They usually last 10 to 15 years but this is a function of activity and joint replacement patients do have restrictions on their activity level. Persistent pain due to particle induced inflammation can also be a problem.

Finally, the chance of faulty prosthetic devices such as the recent Johnson & Johnson metal-on-metal hip debacle, makes the choice of total joint replacement less attractive. In future articles I will discuss an alternative, the use of autologous stem cells to help cartilage regeneration.

Is it a Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptom?

A serious disease of the autoimmune system, rheumatoid arthritis mostly affects the joints. Nonetheless, since it is a systemic autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis may also affect other body areas. Here are some of the other symptoms that can be linked with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.


One area that may be unfavorably affected due to rheumatoid arthritis is the heart. It is common for fluid to collect near the heart as a result of inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Although such symptoms are frequently fairly mild, this problem may potentially develop into something more serious.

If severe inflammation occurs, it can affect the heart muscle. Coronary arteries may swell, making the heart muscle work harder. The lungs might also be involved in rheumatoid arthritis. Similar to the heart muscle, fluid may collect around the lungs, and the lung tissue may stiffen. Rheumatoid arthritis related inflammation can make breathing difficult.


It is not uncommon for rheumatoid arthritis patients to report small nodules that are formed under the epidermis, as one other area that may be affected is the skin. The majority of the time, these small nodules are located in close proximity to a joint area. These skin nodules become most noticeable when a joint is flexed.

Purpura is another skin condition regularly associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Purpura are purplish patches on the skin which develop due to damage to blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis can make blood vessels develop damage, triggering them to rupture and bleed into the skin, a process known as vasculitis. Another skin problem associated with rheumatoid arthritis are skin ulcers; they appear because of vasculitic lesions.


Rheumatoid arthritis can severely affect the body's musculoskeletal structures. As inflammation strikes the joints, muscles can become shrunken and weak. This is called as atrophy. The hands are the area most vulnerable to atrophy.

Atrophy is the result of not using a muscle or set of muscles for an extensive period of time. Muscles joints affected by arthritis are prone to becoming the source of discomfort, pain, and swelling. In turn, the patient does not use the stricken muscles, and this causes atrophy.


The digestive tract is also affected. The most common effect is known as dry mouth, which is related to Sjogren's syndrome. Most digestive complaints associated with rheumatoid arthritis seem to come as a result of medications taken for it. Typical digestive conditions related to these medications comprise stomach ulcers and gastritis.

Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms And The Importance Of Getting Treatment

If you find yourself with any psoriatic arthritis symptoms, this is something you should do something about sooner, rather than later because it can leave the sufferer with very reduced movement and a great deal of pain. Psoriatic arthritis is a progressive, debilitating and lifelong condition that affects around thirty percent of people who already have psoriasis, particularly pustular psoriasis. However, it is not limited to those with psoriasis and can be found in significant numbers of non-sufferers.

Psoriatic arthritis symptoms will typically begin between 30 and 50 years old, or around ten years after psoriasis begins although it can occur much sooner and even in very young children. In the USA, over one million people will have psoriatic arthritis with most already suffering from psoriasis and many of those will have pustular psoriasis.

As with psoriasis, where it is believed the cause may be an immune system defect, the same can be said for psoriasis arthritis. However, it is possible that both types of psoriasis are genetically linked but that they only flare up following some form of physical, emotional or psychological event.

This painful condition causes a development of stiffness and pain in the joints as the condition progresses and the joints deteriorate. But how do you know if you have psoriatic arthritis?

Common symptoms included inflamed red lesions around the any of the joints that will be painful. Swelling and pain are likely to worsen on rising or after you have been resting. You may first notice some irregularities in the finger and toe nails. These are likely to include the nail pulling away from the nail bed, a yellow/orange discoloration and unusual ridge patterns in the nail itself. The skin around the affected joints may be warmer to the touch and darker in colour than other areas of the body.

If you begin to observe any physical psoriatic arthritis symptoms (this is frequently on the nails), you should consult medical professionals as quickly as you can because any deterioration of the joints can be halted with the appropriate treatment. It is important to understand that the severity of the condition will differ once the condition has developed and damage will occur to at least five or more joints severely hindering the quality of life. It is wise to remember that this condition can and frequently does get worse without treatment, so if you only have mild pain in one or two joints, this is likely to worsen over time.

If you are a psoriasis sufferer already, you should watch out for unexplained aches and pains. Pay close attention to your nails as well, particularly if you are between 30 and 50. It could certainly just be 'one of those things', or they may be psoriatic arthritis symptoms. If you opt to do nothing and ignore such symptoms, the condition will quickly worsen until it severely affects your ability to do most things. Catch it quickly and inform your medical advisors so they can find an appropriate treatment to halt further degeneration of the joints and the resulting consequences.

Important Characteristics of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

At mere mention of arthritis, the description that will enter most people's minds will most probably be painful joints. In actuality, arthritis is a broad medical term that is utilized to refer to over a hundred conditions that are associated to joint aches and pain. The most common and popular types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

According to statistics, there are over 20 million people who are suffering from osteoarthritis in the United States. Meanwhile, only about 2 million have rheumatoid arthritis. However, since the symptoms of these two conditions have lots of similarities, many are actually misdiagnosing their joint problems. Even if the suggested treatments are almost the same for the two conditions, it is still advisable that you determine which type of arthritis you are really suffering from before you take any medications or undergo alternative medicine treatment.

To give you a preview of these two joint woes, read the descriptions below.


1. Basically, osteoarthritis is brought about by the wear and tear of a joint. Injuries and the aging process are the most common culprits to the development of this problem.

2. The usual symptoms of this condition include pain and stiffness of the joint.

3. Sometimes you will also see that the problematic joint is enlarged or is swelling.

4. In osteoarthritis, the stiffness or difficulty to move your knees or affected joints gets worse as the day progresses.

5. The people who usually get this condition are older people and even athletes because of the wearing down of joints due to excessive use.

6. Generally, osteoarthritis triggers pain in the larger joints, such as the knees and the hips.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

1. Basically, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The problem with the joints is not due to excessive usage or wear and tear. The inflammation and damage to the joints and surrounding tissues are because of the misguided attack of the immune system of healthy tissues.

2. Aside from pain, tenderness and redness of the joints, other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include limited range of movement and extended morning stiffness. In some people, however, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and even fever are also apparent.

3. Since this problem is caused by the immune system, anyone can get rheumatoid arthritis, even young people. However, it usually begins at middle age and becomes so much worse as the patient ages.

4. Stiffness and pain of the joints commonly last for about 30 minutes after a long period of inactivity or rest, particularly in the morning.

5. In rheumatoid arthritis, symmetrical swelling is apparent. This simply means that both your elbows, hands and other extremities will swell and be affected by this problem.

6. In general, the joints affected by this condition are the ones that are closest to the base of parts like your fingers or hands. In fact, rheumatoid arthritis usually attacks smaller joints, particularly the ankles and the hands.

7. Early detection is imperative in this condition because in just 24 months, rheumatoid arthritis can already cause serious damage to the joints.

If you are suffering from either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, popping a pain medication may not be the only solution to reduce the tenderness and aches. Improving your diet, boosting your immune system and exercising regularly are all needed for you to be able to cope with your condition and prevent your joints from being damaged further. Moreover, you might need to take natural supplements to help protect your joints. However, it would be wise to seek doctor's advice before you take anything.

To help ease the arthritic pain, tenderness and stiffness safely and effectively, you may want to try Flexcerin.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Cause Hidden, Treatment Ignored

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common of several autoimmune diseases that primarily affect the joints.

It is characterized by abnormal inflammatory responses that damage the synovial lining of the joints and other tissues. Components of the immune system mistakenly identify normal body tissues as potentially harmful organisms and attack them causing substantial collateral damage.

This results in joint pain, swelling and permanent damage to joint cartilage and the underlying bone. Other parts of the body such as the blood, nerves and heart may also be affected in severe cases.

Moreover the conventional drugs used in the treatment of RA often cause as many health problems as the disease itself. Bone marrow and immune suppression, liver toxicity, osteoporosis and stomach ulcer are some of the common side effects produced by these drugs.

While antibiotics also have potential side effects, they are generally fewer and milder than those associated with the conventional drugs used in the treatment of RA.


Most scientists agree that infections initiate the abnormal inflammatory response seen in RA patients. The theory is that the immune system reacts to an infection of some sort and then becomes confused between the antigens on the pathogenic organism and similar antigens on normal body tissues. The conventional view is that the infection is only a transient trigger of the autoimmune response and not a persistent factor underlying its chronic progression.

However, countless studies have shown that there are indeed a number of chronic, "hidden" infections underlying RA. Some of the pathogenic organisms have been found in the joints of RA patients but mostly these low-grade infections occur in areas such as the genito-urinary tract, mouth or intestines. They work indirectly from these areas by sustaining the aberrant inflammatory response so characteristic of RA.

Mycoplasma, chlamydia, E.coli, and proteus are all bacteria that are capable of causing the low-grade, asymptomatic urinary tract infections that underlie RA.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a bacteria that causes gingivitis and periodontitis and also has a strong assoc
iation with RA.

Although lab tests often confirm the presence of one or more of these infections, negative results do not preclude an infectious cause of an individual's disease.

Because many of the infections underlying RA are so difficult to find, even those patients who do not have positive lab tests should be treated with antibiotics.


For many years the mainstay of antibiotic treatment for RA has been minocycline or other tetracycline antibiotics such as doxycycline. These of antibiotics are still very useful as they also have anti-inflammatory properties and stimulate the regeneration of damaged joint cartilage.

However many bacteria have developed resistance to the tetracyclines and it is now common practice to use combinations with other antibacterials such as azithromycin, clindamycin, metronidazole, levofloxacin and others.


Patients may notice improvements in their symptoms anywhere from days, weeks or months, depending on how long they have the disease. They must also expect to remain on the antibiotics for several months to over a year until full remission occurs.

Information from doctors who have used this treatment for many years show that at least 80% of patients benefit from this relatively simple therapeutic modality.


There are two reasons for the delay in getting this "new" treatment more widely accepted:

Firstly there is the research "time-lag effect" ? the period it takes from the time a new medical discovery is made until it is accepted and implemented by the majority of doctors. This interval may be over 20 years long.

Secondly, in spite of extensive evidence that certain organisms are associated with RA and other autoimmune diseases, no one specific organism has been shown to be responsible for this group of diseases. This is because autoimmune diseases comprise a spectrum of overlapping conditions that can be caused by several types of microbes located in various parts of the body.


1. Effects of clarithromycin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, Curr Med Res Opin. 2007 Mar;23(3):515-22

2. Levofloxacin treatment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving methotrexate, M Ogrendik, South Med J. 2007 Feb;100(2):135-9.

3. Single-blind randomized trial of combination antibiotic therapy in rheumatoid arthritis, Gompels LL, Smith A, Charles PJ, Rogers W, Soon-Shiong J, Mitchell A, Dore C, Taylor PW, Mackworth-Young CG. J Rheumatol. 2006 Feb;33(2):224-7.

4. Treatment of early seropositive rheumatoid arthritis: Doxycycline plus methotrexate versus methotrexate alone. O'dell JR, Elliott JR, Mallek JA, Mikuls TR, Weaver CA, Glickstein S, Blakely KM, Hausch R, Leff RD, , Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Feb;54(2):621-7. University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

5. Treatment of early seropositive rheumatoid arthritis: a two-year, double-blind comparison of minocycline and hydroxychloroquine. O'Dell JR, Blakely KW, Mallek JA, Eckhoff PJ, Leff RD, Wees SJ, Sems KM, Fernandez AM, Palmer WR, Klassen LW, Paulsen GA, Haire CE, Moore GF - Arthritis & Rheumatism 2001 Oct;44(10):2235-41

Home Remedies For Arthritis Pain - How to Handle Arthritis Pain

There may be no cure for arthritis but you can manage the joint pains that come with it. Of course, it does not have to be popping a painkiller all the time as pain medications may also have side effects. Instead, you can find some home remedies for arthritis pain, which are safer ways of dealing with the discomfort of arthritis.

Know everything about your condition. One of the first steps that can help you deal with your arthritis and the pain that comes with it is to know about this disorder. Know what type of arthritis you have and know its causes and symptoms. With these, you will learn how to deal with it. You may not be able to totally wipe it all by yourself but by being knowledgeable about arthritis, you will know how to lessen its impact in your life.

Try some relaxation techniques to help you manage the pain of arthritis. One of this is visualization. This is usually done with audio tapes that will guide you to exercise your mind to think about something else rather than the pain you are feeling. This technique uses the power of your brain to have physiological responses to the pain you are feeling. The more you train and expose your mind to a mental image or visualization that there is no pain, the more your body will react to it, even if it is not real.

Heat and cold treatments are also great home remedies for arthritis pain, but it is important to know how to do it correctly, as it may also cause side effects if not done properly. Heat treatments are usually in the form of dry heat or moist heat, and they can mean warm bath, use of heating pads or heat lamps. Cold treatments may include ice packs. Knowing when to use cold or heat treatments is very important in managing arthritis pain and you have to find good guides that will give you a detailed instruction on when to use cold or heat treatments and how long you will apply them. Of course, home remedies for arthritis pain can be most effective only if done correctly.

Massage is also another good remedy for arthritis pain. You don't actually need someone to do it for you but you can do the massage yourself to relieve from pain. Of course, it is common sense not to massage a very swollen joint or if it causes too much pain. It helps also to get a professional massage therapist if you are not confident in doing it yourself.

Doing gentle exercises can also help manage the pain of arthritis. Gentle exercises help decrease pain and help strengthen your muscles as well. Before doing any exercises however, it is important to consult with your doctor as to what exercises will fit your condition. Of course, it is important to choose activities that will not damage your joints. Walking, stretching and some water exercises are among the exercises that will help you manage pain of arthritis.

Start with these home remedies for arthritis pain and you can indeed help yourself in dealing with joint pains and the discomfort of arthritis and lessen the impact of this disease in your daily living.

What's the Most Effective Treatment For Dogs With Arthritis?

As our dogs get older, it is very possible that at some point, a certain level of arthritis will set in and begin to slow down our pet. Arthritis causes joint inflammation and oftentimes it is accompanied by pain. We must admit that it's not easy seeing our dogs in pain and we do everything in our might to try to save them. An oral supplement like Glucosamine is proven to be an effective treatment for dogs with arthritis. It's all-natural which means that you don't have to worry about harmful side effects and adverse reactions.

Glucosamine is the major sugar found in glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronate, these are the important building blocks in the production and maintenance of cartilage in the joint. Look for something with the combined power of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. These two ingredients give the cartilage-forming cells the building blocks that they need to produce new cartilage. They also help in repairing existing damaged cartilage. Glucosamine supplements do not provide instant relief though but they sure provide long-term benefits. They do not work as painkillers. They actually work by healing the damage making your dog feel better over time. How long does it take for you to see some improvements? It can take anywhere between 4 and six weeks. Glucosamine products are generally safe and do not have known side effects no wonder pet owners consider it as the number one treatment for dogs with arthritis.

A healthy diet combined with regular exercise is proven to be an effective treatment for dogs with arthritis. Stop feeding your dog with food that has added colorings, preservatives and artificial flavorings. Stay away from grains because they tend to worsen arthritis. If your dog is experiencing severe arthritic pain, switch to home-prepared meals with cooked or raw meats and vegetables. Exercise helps provide good range of motion and muscle building, it also limits wear and tear on the joints. If you can't take your dog swimming regularly then walking will do.

What Are The Scalp Psoriasis Signs and Symptoms?

While psoriasis affects up to 3% of the population, of this percentage of psoriasis sufferers, up to 50% of them suffer from scalp psoriasis making it one of the most common and persistent types of psoriasis. It can also be one of the most difficult to treat while at the same time robbing a sufferer of their self esteem because the signs and symptoms are sometimes clearly visible to other people.

Signs and Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis

Although the exact cause of psoriasis remains a mystery, many researchers believe that it mainly comes about through an abnormality in the immune system that causes skin to regenerate at an accelerated rate leading to skin cells piling on top of each other is evidenced by raised, red, sometimes itchy, thick areas of the skin covered with silvery/white scales. It can also affect other areas such as the nails and joints (psoriatic arthritis). Why this abnormality in the immune system occurs is unknown. Genes or the environment may be to blame but no one knows for certain.

Scalp psoriasis is evidenced by silvery/white scales on the scalp that may be thick and form thick crusts when the scales are packed tightly together which can be very itchy. Attempting to treat these scales like dandruff by picking and scratching can only make the condition worse.

The severity of this type of psoriasis can vary between mild cases that are usually not very noticeable to very severe cases when the scales can drop onto the shoulders and collar and look like a bad case of dandruff which can be quite embarrassing for the sufferer in addition to being very itchy.

A small area of the scalp can be affected or it can cover the entire scalp in severe cases of scalp psoriasis. Flare-ups usually appear behind the ears and along the hairline and may then spread over greater areas of the scalp. This condition can also affect the ear canal when enough scales spread to this area and can impact hearing.

Severe cases of scalp psoriasis may affect the hair roots leading to hair loss but most cases do not affect the hair roots. If a sufferer experiences hair loss associated with scalp psoriasis, the hair can grow back once the condition is effectively managed.

Treatment For Scalp Psoriasis

Since there isn't a known cure for psoriasis, treating scalp psoriasis to help minimize flare-ups can be quite a challenge as what can work for one sufferer may not necessarily work for another and will usually involve a lot of trial and error. Patience and perseverance is required in order to find the treatment therapy that will work for you.

Some of the conventional treatment therapies for scalp psoriasis include the use of medicated shampoos that contain salicylic acid, tar, selenium sulfide, steroids, etc. Various scalp solutions containing steroids can also be prescribed in the form of gels, foams, lotions, etc. Other medications that may be prescribed include Anthralin, Topical Vitamin D analogues, etc, to help to reduce cell turnover leading to the silvery/white scales. There are also many effective natural remedies but most of these will involve a lot of trial and error.

Common Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis affects millions of elderly people daily as it interferes with their daily tasks such as doing household chores, gardening or even simply using walking in short distances. Even necessary movements such as reaching for objects, using gadgets like scissors or knives, or holding the rails of stairs when climbing. This happens because arthritis symptoms are usually painful as caused by the damaged joints from year of wear and tear. As a result, the joints are inflamed and people are somehow immobilized since certain parts of the body like hands, knees, hips and back have become stiff. A little physical exertion on their part would cause so much pain.

Understanding early onset of arthritis symptoms can make us prepare for the onset of this disease. Also, as soon as arthritis symptoms are detected we can immediately consult a health professional to give us proper medical advice about arthritis. Although there are many types of arthritis classified with rheumatoid arthritis as the most common, the symptoms are basically the same.

Common arthritis symptoms signifies pain that is located near the joints. The Mayo Clinic pointed out these symptoms as: joint pain, swelling of the joints, joints feel tender to touch, red and puffy hands, general feeling of weakness or fatigue, fever, loss of weight and firm bumps of tissue under the skin of the arms commonly known as "rheumatoid nodules". It is very common from arthritis sufferers to experience morning stiffness that can last for some hours thereby preventing them from walking or using their hands for simple tasks. Indeed, arthritis can be debilitating for an elderly.

The arthritis symptoms are felt first occurring in smaller joints of the body like the hands, wrists and ankles. Later on, the ailments develop and pain is also felt in larger parts of the body such as elbows, knees, hips, arms, shoulders, as well as the neck. Arthritis symptoms occur symmetrically most of the time, so for example, both legs feel the pain which is a burden. Another thing about arthritis symptoms is that are not chronic and pain can disappear for some time. Although this rest periods offer relief, arthritis would come again as soon as the joints become swollen.

Fish Oil Supplements Can Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

For those suffering from the painful and often debilitating effects of rheumatoid arthritis, the only possibility of relief - until recently - involved either painful surgery or expensive medications that also bring with them their own complications.

Now, however, an increasing amount of research into alternative therapies has shown promising results from fish oil and fish oil supplements. The omega-3 fatty acids found in large amounts in fish oil seems to act as an anti-inflammatory agent with no serious side effects and only the possibility of some minor adverse reactions. Omega-3 is found naturally in fish oil or can be ingested through supplements, which is even safer than eating fish known to have high concentrations of omega-3 because those fish also run the risk of containing toxic chemicals such as mercury and PCB's.

Fish oil has been shown to benefit those with cardiac problems, improve cholesterol levels and increase brain function. For those with rheumatoid arthritis, studies have shown increased amounts of omega-3, which has the highest concentrations in fish oil, improves their condition, decreases the amount of time they have stiffness in the morning and can also decrease the amount of non-steroid anti-inflammation drugs they have to take to combat the illness.

These non-steroid anti-inflammation drugs come with plenty of potential side effects, most commonly nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, rash, dizziness and constipation. More serious side effects include fluid retention, which can lead to edema. The most serious side effects range from kidney and liver failure, to ulcers and prolonged bleeding after surgery.

Steroid medications can be prescribed for the most seriously affected patients, but those also have serious side effects, such as bone loss, suppress the body's immune system and increase blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, fish oil supplements have shown to have no side effects and only minor adverse reactions. They are also much cheaper than the non-inflammatory medications and more readily available.

While eating fish could be an important part of a good diet, fish oil supplements may be better and safer due to the fact that in order to reap the benefits of omega-3, a large amount of fish would need to be eaten on a regular basis and the fish with the highest concentrations also may contain toxic chemicals. Meanwhile, taking fish oil supplements ensures the dosage is regulated properly and worries about mercury or other toxic chemicals are non-existent since they are removed in pharmaceutical grade supplements.

To understand the potential benefits of fish oil and fish oil supplements, it is important to first understand rheumatoid arthritis, what causes it and thus how fish oil can counteract it.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, chronic type of arthritis that impacts about 1.3 million people in the U.S., and occurs about three times more often in women than in men.

While the exact cause of the disease remains unknown, contributing factors to developing it are believed to include genetics, environment and hormones.

Infectious agents, such as viruses, bacteria and fungi have been suspected as causes, but this has not been proven. It is possible an outside source, such as the environment, may trigger the immune system of the body to mistakenly initiate the reaction. Usually, it is believed a combination of problems result in contracting rheumatoid arthritis. There are juvenile cases of rheumatoid arthritis, but the onset usually occurs in middle age.

It is mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining of the joints. It affects people differently, with some developing rather mild cases that may only last a few months or a couple of years, and others advancing to stages where joint damage occurs along with chronic pain, disability and deformities. It can also affect organs in the body. Often, the disease will progress through three stages.

In the first stage, the joint lining swells, causing warmth, pain, stiffness, redness and swelling around the joint. Next is a rapid division of cells and growth of cells which cause the lining to thicken. In the third stage, the inflamed cells release enzymes that can break down the bone and cartilage in the affected area.

Most theories on the development of the disease have centered on it being an autoimmune response by the body, meaning the body basically attacks itself, though some studies in recent years indicate an outside agent, such as a viral protein, may cause the reaction. Either way, the long-time prognosis for rheumatoid arthritis is not a particularly good one.

The medical and economic costs of all types of arthritis, including rheumatoid, add up to billions of dollars every year when including medications, surgeries and wages lost. Daily joint pain associated with the disease can also lead many to experience feelings of depression, anxiety and helplessness.

Currently, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but early diagnosis can help someone continue to live a productive life. Studies show early, aggressive treatment can limit joint damage, which reduces loss of movement, increases the ability to continue to work, lowers medical costs and may be able to delay the need for surgery.

In 80 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an anti-body called "rheumatoid factor" can be found. However, this anti-body can also be found in other conditions, so its presence, as well as abnormal readings on tests, does not point exclusively to rheumatoid arthritis.

In early stages of the disease, X-rays may not show any joint damage, or show only minor swelling. In the second stage, evidence of bone thinning with or without slight bone damage may be seen on an X-ray. Slight cartilage damage may be seen, joint mobility may be decreased but no joint deformities are present, surrounding muscle may be atrophied and soft tissue around the joint may show signs of abnormality.

Typically in the third stage, an X-ray will show signs of bone thinning and damage to bone and cartilage around the joint. Also likely present will be some joint deformity without permanent stiffness of the joint, extensive muscle atrophy and abnormalities in the tissue surrounding the joint.

Stage four rheumatoid arthritis characteristics include joint deformity with permanent fixation of the joint, extensive muscle atrophy and abnormalities in the soft tissue around the joint. X-rays will show evidence of cartilage and bone damage, as well as osteoporosis.

Those with class I rheumatoid arthritis are able to complete normal activities of their day, while those in class II will be able to care for themselves and perform most work activities, though their activities in such areas as sports and household chores will be limited. Those in class III will still be able to care for themselves, but their activities in and out of work will be limited. Class IV patients will be limited in their abilities to care for themselves, work and engage in other activities.

Research into benefits of fish oil

In the last decade or so, several studies have been conducted to determine the possible benefits on rheumatoid arthritis patients of increasing omega-3 fatty acids into one's diet, usually through increased consumption of oily fishes like salmon, mackerel and herring. While we've all been conditioned in the last several years to cut out fat in our diet, omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial effects on the body.

In fact, it was reported in August of this year in the "Evening Courier" of Halifax that Greenland Inuits have low incidences of heart disease despite having a diet high in fat. However, much of their high-fat diet comes from marine mammals, which are high in omega-3s. Scientists who study diet and diseases have found that heart disease, cancer and diabetes are nearly non-existent among Eskimo populations.

While Eskimo and Inuit diets consist largely of fat from marine animals, many Western diets contain fat from vegetable oil coming from fast food and store bought baked goods.

Fish oil has also been found to be the best source of two particular fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have been found to reduce inflammation, reduce the clotting tendency of blood, improve brain function, improve heart health and inhibit abnormal cell growth, which could help reduce cancer risks.

Fish oil's effect as an anti-inflammatory agent is of particular interest to rheumatoid arthritis patients, since the disease results from the inflammation of the lining of the joints.

A 1993 study gave rheumatoid arthritis patients 2.8 grams of fish oil daily compared to a placebo given to others. After three months, those receiving the fish oil supplementation showed decreased use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) compared to those given the placebo, and after 12 months that reduction peaked.

Another study in 1995 showed 130 milligrams of fish oil supplements per kilogram of the person's weight per day could decrease the number of tender joints, the duration of morning stiffness and overall pain experienced by rheumatoid arthritis patients.

It has also been shown that the amount of omega-3 fatty acids added can be lowered if combined with a decreased amount of omega-6 fats, which is found in many vegetable oils and actually promotes inflammation. Some research suggests increased levels of omega-6 can heighten the possibility of some diseases and depression. Many Western diets have ratios of omega-6 compared to omega-3 of 10 to 1, though some can be as high as 30 to 1. The ration should be 1 to 1.

A 2000 study showed that lower doses of omega-3 supplements could lessen inflammation from arthritis if paired with a reduction in the amount of omega-6s ingested. The amount of omega-3 found to still be effective was lowered to 2.3 grams if small amounts of omega-6 were included in the patient's diet.

Use of both steroid and non-steroid medication to reduce symptoms in patients with severe arthritis was found in 2003 to be lowered if omega-3s were added to the diet and omega-6s reduced. Again, using less of the medications means less risk of their side effects.

In Leuven, Belgium, patients were divided into three groups: one group received six tablets of olive oil a day as the placebo group; the second received three tablets of olive oil and three tablets of fish oil per day; and the last group received six tablets of fish oil each day.

After three months, the placebo group showed very little improvement (about 10 percent showed some signs of being better), while 33 percent in the group receiving split treatment showed improvement. However, 53 percent of patients receiving fish oil alone showed significant signs of improvement and 47 percent of this group was able to reduce its use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. In the placebo group, only 15 percent lowered their use of the non-steroid anti-inflammatories and 29 percent were able to do so in the split group.

The Belgium scientists concluded long-time use of fish oils can improve the effects of rheumatoid arthritis significantly and can also decrease the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

A similar study at the University of Newcastle in Australia seems to back this conclusion. In that study, 50 patients who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were studied for 15 weeks. All the patients had a diet in which they consumed less than 10 grams per day of omega-6 fatty acids. Half the patients were given a placebo consisting of a 50-50 mixture of corn and olive oil, while the other group was given fish oil capsules providing a daily intake of about 2.8 grams for an average sized person.

All the subjects continued their regular diets and medications. Tests were taken initially and then at 4, 8 and 15 weeks. After the four-week and eight-week periods, no significant changes occurred in either group. However, at the 15-week period, significant changes were found in the group receiving fish oil, while no improvement was seen in the group not receiving fish oil. In addition, the group receiving fish oil also reported vast improvements in the duration of morning stiffness and physicians reported an overall improvement in the condition of the disease.

The October 2006 edition of the Journal of Rheumatology reported on a study which found 75 percent of patients using fish oil were able to reduce the amount of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs they took after a three-year period. Remission of the disease also occurred in 72 percent of patients taking the fish oil.

Fish oil supplements

It appears there is a benefit to rheumatoid arthritis patients of increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids through fish oils, especially if omega-6 fatty acids absorbed through vegetable oils can be reduced.

Of course, a healthy diet is important for anyone, not just those afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, and eating fish could be a part of that healthy diet. However, to achieve the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids at the levels seen in some of the studies above, you'd have to eat a good amount of fish on a regular basis.

Remember, those Eskimos and Inuits who rarely experience heart disease or cancer in their populations eat mainly marine mammals as part of their diet. Some people just don't care for the taste of fish as much as Eskimos do.

The highest concentrations of omega-3s can be found in mackerel, salmon, tuna, bluefish, sturgeon, anchovy, herring, trout, sardines and mullet. However, since these types of fish are higher on the food chain, often eating other smaller fish (that's why they have the increased amounts of omega-3s, because they have their own as well absorbing it from the fish they eat), they may also contain higher doses of some toxic contaminants, such as mercury, dioxin and PCBs.

Pharmaceutical Grade fish oil supplements, however, allow companies to provide the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil while eliminating the possibility of also ingesting toxic contaminants. Also, the dose is regulated so the patient knows how much they are taking. Tablets can come in gel form and taking one to two tablets per day should provide the benefits sought, though it can also be found in liquid form.

Side effects

There have been no serious side effects reported from increased or prolonged ingestion of fish oil or fish oil supplements.

There are some mild adverse reactions that have been reported from time to time. Nausea, diarrhea and flatulence are common reactions, as well as experiencing a "fishy" burp. However, the Mayo Clinic has several recommendations to avoid this reaction, including swallowing the pill while frozen, which slows down its digestion in the stomach. Other tips include taking the pill at the beginning of a meal so the other food "traps" the fish oil in the stomach and acts as a buffer, switching brands or using an odorless tablet.

Other potential adverse reactions documented include halitosis, fishy smelling breath, skin and urine and occasional nosebleeds due to the anti-clotting agent of omega-3s. Pregnant women are advised to consult first with their physican before starting fish oil supplements as there may be complications with the Vitamin A found in fish oil. An increased level of Vitamin E intake is also recommended because the metabolism of fish oil uses large amounts of the vitamin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Some pharmaceutical grade supplements already add in Vitamin E with the fish oil to balance out this issue.

While not a side effect, it should be noted it takes time for an increase in omega-3s to achieve the goal of reducing inflammation in the joint. Most of the studies mentioned above saw no major results before at least three months.

Why you should choose fish oil supplements

Surgery options for rheumatoid arthritis patients include joint replacement, tendon reconstruction and a procedure to remove the inflamed lining. There are also medications that can relieve pain or reduce inflammation. However, these can be very expensive and may come with extensive side effects, such as chronic infections like tuberculosis as well as the others discussed previously.

It comes as no surprise then that patients are always looking for a better alternative. Pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements may be that alternative. They are cheaper, have almost no side effects and provide most of the same benefits over a period of time. They can be purchased online or at just about any store that sells supplements.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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Iron Overload Causing Arthritis, Cancer, and Diabetes - The Undiagnosed Real Cause of Many Diseases

Why should anybody care about iron overload diseases? What is it about iron that makes it a special concern in human health? Shouldn't we all be taking Geritol?

Many of us who are of the age that we need to take serious care of iron overload disease are old enough to remember the slick television advertising campaigns for the alcohol-and-iron tonic Geritol. In the 1950's, you could open up the newspaper and see an ad featuring a woman sitting in a chair leaning against an ironing board. The caption read "After flu, cold, and sore throat, if you feel run down because of tired blood, take Geritol." In the next frame you could see the same woman with a beaming smile, holding her iron up in the air, with the caption, "Feel stronger fast in excellent condition!"

In the 1970's, the wildly popular Lawrence Welk Show featured a commercial in which a husband admires his Geritol-swigging wife's domestic prowess and then entones, with puppy dog eyes, "My wife--I think I'll keep her." Geritol became a staple for every aging sitcom character from Archie Bunker to Fred Sanford. Hundreds of millions of people heard the iron supplement slogan, "When you've got your health, you've got just about everything."

Unfortunately for 2.5 million or more of us who are becoming the twenty-first century's Geritol Generation, iron has not helped us keep our health. For those of us who have various conditions that make our bodies absorb or retain unusual amounts of iron, the decades of iron excess are leading to literal rust. And like the houseguest who never realizes it's time to get packing, iron builds up in our parenchymal organs, the brain, colon, liver, lungs, pancreas, and skin in particular, causing an astonishing array of health problems.

There are dozens of diseases that cause excessive accumulation of iron. The most common of these in the USA, although it's often not diagnosed, is hereditary hemochromatosis. In this genetic disease, the colon is unusually permeable to iron.

Iron overload is often a complication of sickle cell disease, occurring at sickle cells are destroyed and release their iron. It's a complication of another blood disorder, beta-thalassemia. Iron overload results from African siderosis, alcohol abuse, and viral hepatitis. It is among the sequellae of aceruloplasminemia, atransferrinemia, dysmetabolic iron overload syndrome, fatty liver, juvenile hemochromatosis, neonatal hemochromatosis, and enzyme diseases. It can be caused by inhalation (working with asbestos products, grinding steel, mining iron, and inhaling tobacco smoke), ingestion (eating iron-fortified foods, eating excessive amounts of red meat, alcohol used in excess, and iron supplements), injection (walking over rusty metal, multiple blood transfusions), and decompartmentalization (destruction of red blood cells or destruction of liver tissue).

Iron overload can overwhelm the endocrine glands, the joints, the heart, and the liver. It can cause arthritis, diabetes, and bronzing of the skin. It can cause erectile dysfunction, infertility, shrinking of the external sex organs, hypothyroidism, and early menopause. It can lead to cancer, heart attacks, and fatal infections.

Some people with iron overload disease are never diagnosed. Some people, like my father, die of fatal infections just a few weeks after diagnosis in their ninth decade of life. Symptoms may appear at age 25 or age 55. The course of iron overload diseases differs from person to person. All iron overload diseases, however, require medical treatment.

That does not mean there is nothing you can do. Diet makes a difference. A number of nutritional supplements augment what your doctor can do to help you manage the symptoms of iron overload disease. Two nutritional supplements even seem to act as chelators, although they should be used with caution.

The critical first step, however, is getting an accurate diagnosis. The US Centers for Disease Control found that in a group of nearly 3000 people who had hereditary hemochromatosis, over 67 per cent had been given multiple misdiagnoses before being properly diagnosed as suffering iron overload disease. They saw an average of three doctors and waited an average of 9 years before getting the right diagnosis. So, in my next post, let's take a look of how to know whether you have iron overload disease.

Surgery to Treat Arthritis of the Big Toe Joint

Arthritis of the big toe joint is common, and can be particularly disabling. Options to manage this condition non-surgically are few, given the express need for the big toe joint to attempt bending during the walking cycle. This article discusses the cause of this painful arthritis, as well as surgical treatment options to relieve pain.

The big toe joint consists of the first metatarsal bone forming the 'ball' of the joint, and the initial bone of the big toe (the first proximal phalanx) forming the 'socket'. It has an important role in how the body moves when walking, and limitation of its motion forces other joints and muscles to function abnormally to take up the slack. Arthritis of this joint, or cartilage wear, occurs when there is abnormal pressure or positioning of the joint bones. This results in grinding down of the smooth cartilage that covers the bone surface at the joint, allowing for smooth motion. As this cartilage erodes, the bone underneath begins to become exposed, and parts of the joint surface start to see bone rubbing during joint motion.

In addition to this, thickened spurs of bone can develop along the margins of the joint, further hampering motion. When bone grinds on bone and when spurs limit joint motion, pain usually results. This condition will gradually worsen, leading to destruction of much of the joint surface. In severe cases, the bones will even partially fuse together. The structural cause of arthritis can be due to many factors. Natural bone structure can contribute to this, such as seen in people with longer or shorter first metatarsals, as well as first metatarsals that are angled too steeply in elevation or declination with respect to the ground surface. Bunions and other rotational deformities of the big toe joint can also contribute to cartilage wear and tear. Fractures, crushes, sprains, and other injuries to the joint can also result in arthritis after awhile. Finally, certain body-wide joint-affecting diseases will cause joint erosion as well, such as seen with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

Non-surgical treatment is limited, consisting of measures to limit the painful motion of the joint and decrease the resulting inflammation. Stiff soled shoes and specialized custom foot inserts can be used to limit the painful motion. Anti-inflammatory medications and steroid injections can reduce the inflammation, although this is not nearly as effective as it is in larger joints like the knee. However, the unique structure of the big toe joint generally necessitates surgical treatment in many cases of arthritis. Surgical treatment is divided into procedures that destroy the joint and procedures that maintain the joint (in the case of mild arthritis). When joint destruction is severe or significant, the joint destruction technique is chosen as the cartilage of the joint will have to be replaced or removed entirely in order for the pain to be resolved.

The choice of whether to use an artificial implant or fuse the joint surgically is up to the health of the patient and the preference of the surgeon. Joint implants have been in use for fifty years, and are made of metal or silicone gel. Various designs can replace the ball of the joint, the socket, or both. There are advantages and disadvantages to each design, and certain conditions like diabetes with nerve disease, poor circulation, and obesity limit their use. Their lifespan is much longer than hip or knee implants, which have to be replaced after a certain number of years. The motion restored by these implants is rarely equal to the motion of the joint before the onset of arthritis, but in generally is significant enough to relieve all motion pain and limitation. When these fail, or if the surgeon is not advising their use, a joint fusion is the preferred method of relieving joint pain.

This procedure fuses the bones across the joint, resulting in no motion at all. It differs from painful arthritis that is partially fused in that there are still areas of motion in those cases that produce pain. By removing all motion, the joint is no longer painful, leading to a stiff lever upon which the foot rolls off during the walking cycle. Eventually the body adapts to this, although some minor strain can occur to the joint in the middle of the big toe, or the complex of joints in the middle of the foot. If the arthritis is only mild, the surgeon may elect to preserve the joint. In this technique, the surgeon simply removes any bone spur limiting motion, and drills holes in the eroded areas of cartilage.

The drilling promotes growth of a tissue called fibrocartilage, which is a rough form of cartilage that is not as functional as regular joint cartilage, but is better than the bare bone below. It is usually necessary to address the underlying structural problem if this procedure is selected, as leaving the reason behind the arthritis alone will simply result in further arthritic change years down the road. These additional procedures could include procedures to elevate, lower, shorten, or shift over the first metatarsal back to a proper position based on the underlying structural problem. Often a bunion is corrected if present. Follow-up with long term orthotics foot supports is usually needed, along with periodic monitoring.

Regardless of the selected procedure, repair of the big toe joint is generally successful, with good long term results. Complications, including infections and implant or hardware failure, do occur. However, they are uncommon and most patients are restored to pain-free or significantly reduced pain-limited walking within a month or two following the surgery. Nearly all podiatrists (and a small number of specially trained orthopedic surgeons) perform these procedures. If one is suffering from big toe joint arthritis, a visit to their foot and ankle specialist can lead to relief and restoration of activity.

Using Massage Therapy to Treat Arthritis

Arthritis is a rampant disease that does not discriminate, and negatively affects the lives of millions of people in all parts of the globe. It makes the simplest of tasks seem like the most difficult of endeavors, and that is no way to live. Due to the severity and widespread impact of arthritis, dozens of treatments have been developed to combat it. Some of them are standard prescription drugs from pharmaceutical companies, but there are a multitude of alternative therapies to consider. This includes the field of massage services, through which specific techniques have been developed just for the treatment of arthritis.

Massage therapy is great for reducing the symptoms of many types of arthritis. Unfortunately, no amount of massage can cure or physically affect the progression of arthritis, so other medications or techniques would be needed for that. However, temporary relief from pain is the next best thing for those who are out of options or whose current regiment is not very effective. Having a regular massage attacks arthritis from many different angles, which results in great feelings of painlessness and calm.

The main cause of arthritis is inflammation of the joints, and getting a massage quickly relieves inflammation anywhere in the body. When the joints are less inflamed or not inflamed at all, they are safe to touch and move more intensely. Remember, the decrease in inflammation is only temporary, but it can last a good few hours or the rest of the day, sometimes longer.

Extensive movement throughout the day puts a toll on your joints and muscles, and a massage is an ideal way to relieve the stiffness and exhaustion that naturally comes with extended releases of energy. When receiving massage services, the professional exerts his power over all parts of your body, so even parts that are not affected by arthritis receive benefits. In addition, regular massages improves the circulation of your blood, which not only helps ease the pain of arthritis, but can be good for avoiding other debilitating diseases as well.

As you can see, massage therapy is an excellent treatment technique for arthritis, especially if the professional conducting the massage has had experience working with arthritis patients before. Since those with arthritis are more sensitive than those without it, the massage must be gentler than usual and focus on different areas. Since arthritis sufferers regularly go to massage service centers to find relief, odds are that whoever you go to will have experience with arthritis as well.

Arthritis and Joint Pain

Arthritis Joints are highly complex structures composed of a number of connective tissues including bone, articular cartilage, and peri-articular soft tissue, all of which contribute to normal joint function and undergo changes in structure and metabolism in disease. While your physician is best equipped to be more specific (such as detailed history & lab tests), rheumatoid arthritis and gout arthritis joints are red, warm, and spongy. Yet sometimes psoriatic arthritis joints are less tender than rheumatoid arthritis joints, so you may have joint deformity with psoriatic arthritis without significant pain.


Arthritis is a problem that causes damage to the normal joint surfaces. It mutilans (a long-term psoriatic arthritis in which the joints are severely damaged and deformities can be seen, especially in the hands, fingers, and feet) this may occur in as many as 16% of people with psoriatic arthritis and severe pain can be associated with it. The disease occurs before psoriasis in 52% of affected children. Arthritis that affects many joints symmetrically is common with psoriatic arthritis. It is an inflammatory disorder of the joints that may produce pain and swelling that lasts a lifetime and may require surgery.  The disease is a slowly progressive condition and whilst treatment and surgery may help to relieve symptoms and slow the progression, the damage that is already done cannot be reversed.

Pain Treatment:

Warmth, such as a hot bath, can often help to ease the pain. Changes in barometric pressure may increase stiffness in the joints and trigger subtle movements that heighten pain response in already sensitized joints. If the barometric pressure drops, tissues can become more inflamed, causing more pain. Seasonal weather patterns may influence mood in some people, indirectly affecting their pain perception. Nevertheless, it does appear that certain people are weather-sensitive and say they suffer from more intense pain and greater difficulty performing tasks in particular weather conditions. While some studies of the link between arthritis pain and the weather have been inconclusive, others seem to have found an association. Moving to a warmer climate is not always the answer to improve arthritis pain as the body is said to establish equilibrium with the local climate, so that relative changes in weather may trigger an increase in pain regardless of the actual weather.

The Care of Arthritis:

If you are having symptoms of arthritis, see your healthcare provider for a proper evaluation, diagnosis, and a treatment plan. The information provided in this article is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. Thus, persistent back pain requires careful evaluation. It is imperative that you take good care of your joints and overall bone structure if you want to enjoy life. Always consult your own doctor or medical healthcare provider for any care and treatment.


Joint Supplements consist of glucosamine and chondroitin, two of the major building blocks of normal cartilage. Joints are composed of two or more bones, cartilage that cushions and separates the bones, and ligaments that attach the bones together. Joints become dry and swollen and may also feel cold to the touch. Joints are surrounded by a capsule lined with a membrane called synovium. Joints consist of 2 or more bone surfaces. Joint fluid will keep the joints greased up, and will provide nutrients to the cartilage cells, and other structures in the joint. Joints can swell up, become inflamed, have severe pain in them and they become stiff as well.

Treatment Options:

Treatment options include: Anti-Inflammatory Medications these medications can help treat the pain of finger arthritis, and also help decrease inflammation and swelling around the joints. Treatment for most forms of arthritis includes medications, exercise, and rest.   The treatment for 'normal' arthritis due to wear and tear and injuries consists of 2 main ways: (1) repair of cartilage and improving joint fluid quality (2) controlling pain and inflammation in the joint. Treatment of one involves suppressing the immune system to reduce inflammation, while the other involves stimulating the immune system. Treatment by chiropractor can include ultrasound or low level laser to help reduce inflammation, electro therapy to strengthen weak muscles of the forearm, soft tissue massage to stretch contracted tissues and, of course, adjustments of the dysfunctional joints of the wrist. Early treatments of arthritis are focused on managing the symptoms in an effort to avoid surgery.  Treatment of joint stiffness and range of motion can be improved by ice and heat treatments.


Symptoms of finger arthritis include: Joint pain, Swelling, Stiffness, and Loss of motion. Patients with osteoarthritis often develop lumps or nodules around the knuckles of the fingers. Symptoms of joint pain, color changes of the fingers with cold exposure, thickening of the skin and muscle weakness have been described in these patients. Symptoms of arthritis can be from hardly any symptoms at all, to severe pain and functional loss of limbs.  Other symptoms include: numbness, tingling and a burning pain in the hand or area. Symptoms can arrive very suddenly or slowly, and the arthritis disease has various times when it is bothering you and periods where you are not bothered.


Exercise in these situations must be thoughtfully prescribed; excessive motion of an acutely inflamed joint can increase the inflammatory response and cause more damage than good.  Exercise also improves balance, prevents falls and also reduces the risk of fracture (due to increased bone density). Exercise also helps to prevent osteoporosis a condition that's more likely to occur in women who have rheumatoid arthritis. Exercise not only lowers blood sugar but keeps your weight down and improves blood circulation. Exercise is good for your heart, lungs, muscles and bones. Exercise can help you feel less pain sometimes. Exercise can help you at any age.


Arthritis is a very painful disease that slowly creeps up on you and increases as you get older. The disease can spread throughout your body, Warmth such as a hot bath, exercise, and ice & heat treatments are good to relieve the pain sometimes. And also consult you doctor or healthcare provider before starting an exercise plan.

Some Natural Arthritis Pain Relief Remedies Divulged

Regrettably, there is no cure for this crisis. The drug companies may want us to think there is a cure. Taking their medicine will not cure any type of arthritis. Speaking to your physician for the latest research about your specific type of arthritis pain relief would be beneficial. But there are natural pain arthritis pain relief remedies. Now there is a bright side to easing the pain.

The fingers, knees, hips, and spine are the areas of the body that Osteoarthritis commonly disturbs. The wrists, elbows, shoulders, and ankles are additional locations in the body also affected. Joints with a record of injury or unusual stress are much more prone to developing osteoarthritis than other joints. That is why so many athletes have arthritis in their knees because of the constant pressure applied to that leg joint.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is another form of arthritis. Exceptionally painful and inflammatory, it attacks the inside layer of the joints and actually hits two million Americans in their twenties. Having an arthritis pain relief for this type of the ailment would be helpful.

Psoriatic Arthritis is not as familiar as the previous two. This type eats away at the joints and can also manifest as psoriasis on the skin. An arthritis pain relief for this type would help.

The three above mentioned types of arthritis are the most common. There are other forms as well.

Alternative arthritis pain relief remedies are being sought out by patients. For a variety of reasons such as:

Their current medication is not doing the job any more. While it may have worked in the past this arthritis pain relief solution is just not affective now.

Moving away from chemical healing to some natural arthritis pain relief is much more appealing

Many times money is the motivating force. Patients will continue to look for lesser expensive arthritis pain relief solutions.

Patients are more and more concerned with side effects caused by some medications and are looking for an arthritis pain relief that is natural.

The mental aspect. You are bigger than the pain.

Part of developing an arthritis pain relief mentality is keeping your mind targeted to what will help you rather than what will hinder you. Keep yourself strong by maintaining a positive lifestyle. You are bigger than this disease. It may sound crazy especially when you are suffering. But in the long run you mindset will help to carry you through, when times are toughest.

Some useful solutions
By using fatty acids which provide lubrication for the joints, the joints will not wear down as much as a result less inflammation and less pain. Some recommend oils are: - Borage Oil - Primrose Oil and - NKO Oil

Vitamin C, E and beta-carotenes are powerful antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals. These oxygen-reactive free radical molecules are thought to contribute significantly to disease and tissue damage. It has been found that cells from damaged knee cartilage can release great amounts of free radicals. In fact, studies have shown that those who have a high Vitamin C intake have a two-thirds reduction in the risk of further damage to their knees. Well-known scientist Dr. Linus Pauling recommends 18 grams of V-C per day as an arthritis preventative measure.

Selenium deficiency can cause a particular type of arthritis called Kashin-Bek disease, but it is more common where the soil is deficient in selenium, though sufferers of RA have less in their blood than others. Fish, organ meats, whole grains, nuts and beans will provide selenium.

Zinc may help reduce pain, stiffness and swelling. Some trials showed this was true, though others gave conflicting results. Oysters, cheese and tofu are all good sources of zinc.

More arthritis pain relief treatments.


Animal foods: avoid them. Arachidonic acid found in meat provokes joint inflammation.

Bee/snake venom: Little scientific backing, real chance for allergic reaction.

Chondroitin: helps draw fluid into cartilage, improving shock-absorbing ability.

Fish oils: controls inflammation in the body. Examples of other oils also used for the same purpose: flax, borage, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin.

Food allergies: linked to many causes for arthritis. Common foods to look out for: wheat, corn, dairy, citrus, salt, caffeine, tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant and peppers. (Does not include black peppers).

Arthritis Foundation

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Arthritis Neck Pain - Causes & Treatments

No one likes to suffer any sort of injury to the neck. When the neck suffers from pain and tension, the rest of the body will fall in line with the suffering as pain will shoot through the rest of the nerve endings in the body. Now, does that mean the prognosis for anyone suffering from arthritis neck pain is bleak? No, that is not the answer at all. There may very well be several alternatives available to those looking for a solution to their arthritic neck pain problems. The key first step is to identify the presence of such a problem and then seek out the proper treatment for the condition.

Why does arthritic neck pain develop? The anatomical structure of the neck can be considered rather complex. There are 7 bones found in the neck and they are dubbed the cervical vertebrae. Since it would definitely not be appealing to experience bone on bone "scraping" whenever we move, our bodies evolved in such a way that cartilage exists between the bones. Nerve endings are connected through the vertebrae so that a sense of cohesive communication exists between the vertebrae and the rest of the body. While all these many components that make up the neck's strength and structure are durable, they are not indestructible. That is why they can be prone to wear and tear and the unfortunate development of arthritis.

Do not, however, assume that this makes treatment for arthritis neck pain impossible. Also, do not assume that invasive options such as neck surgery are the only way to deal with the issue. Physical rehab, for example, could be employed as could a whole host of non-invasive treatments.

But, why does this condition occur in the first place? There can be several reasons why such problems are so. Mainly, a significant amount of wear and tear on the joints will lead to significant problems. They will suffer a breakdown of cartilage or experience microtears and abrasions. In some instances, severe and traumatic injury is what leads to the eventual development of arthritis neck pain. Once the development of such arthritis manifests, a great deal of the quality of one's life can suffer as a result. After all, it is pretty difficult to go through the day without moving one's head and when you have arthritis, moving your head can lead to a very painful response. Then again, you need not even have to move your head to suffer from such problems. The onset of a stiff neck for no apparent reason could also be indicative of the development of arthritic neck pain.

Does this mean "all is lost" and the quality of the afflicted person's life will never improve? No, this is not the case at all. Treatments for dealing with problems associated with arthritis neck pain are available. You simply need to explore the appropriate course of action to take with your physician or therapist.

At the most basic of levels, there are over the counter anti-inflammatory products that can aid in reducing the pain of such a condition. For those that may not experience the best response to such OTC treatments, prescription anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed. And, of course, there are physical therapy treatments that can be performed to alleviate if not outright cure the problem. So, if you do suffer from arthritis neck pain, you can feel confident that there are effective methods to deal with the condition.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Foot

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease that affects about 2.1 million Americans, mostly women and has been show to attack multiple joints throughout the body. It is estimated that 1.5 million women and 600,000 men are victims of this debilitating disease. Of these affected, approximately 90% of the people with RA eventually develop foot or ankle symptoms and deformity. In fact, many of the early symptoms of RA often include foot problems. Foot problems are more common than symptoms to the hand and only second to knee problems. These symptoms can lead to serious disability.

The exact cause of RA is still unknown, even with years of study. Some possible causes include inheritance from parents, chemical or environmental "triggers" all leading to a malfunction of the immune system. In RA, the immune system of the body turns against itself and damages joints causing cartilage damage and inflammation.


Symptoms often begin with pain, swelling and stiffness, but can also involve deformities. Typically the first joints affected in the foot include the metatarsophalangeal joints (the joints at the ball of the foot) and can include significant pain with pressure from standing, motion of walking or tightness of shoes and may also be warm from the inflammation. In other words, even simple activities may causes pain to the foot.

The pain then can affect other areas of the forefoot (front of the foot) including the toes caused by contractures of ligaments and tendons leading to bunions (turning of the big toe towards the other toes) or your other toes may begin to curl and get stiff (often called hammertoes or claw toes). As this occurs, calluses become a larger problem and may build up under the ball of the foot, at the joints of the toes or even at the tips of the toes. Care must be exercised to limit damage to the skin by allowing these calluses to become wounds.

Other areas that may be affected include the hindfoot (back of the foot) with heel pain from Plantar Fasciitis (inflammation of a ligament extending from the heel to the toes), tendonitis of the Achilles tendon or even bursitis (inflammation of a fluid filled sack at the back of the ankle). RA, as an inflammatory disease, may also include neuropathy (loss of nerve functioning including numbness or muscle weakness), vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), ulcerations (wounds), necrosis of the toes or even gangrene. Sometimes entrapment injury to the nerves from RA can cause foot drop.

RA is a systemic disease and will commonly produce generalized symptoms of fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and energy, and anemia (poor oxygen distribution to the body) adding to the symptoms of tiring easily.


In arthritic conditions, especially rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to establish a correct diagnosis. Often the symptoms in the foot or ankle may be the first indications of this diagnosis. A diagnosis is obtained through review of your medical history, your current occupation, and recreations activities you participate in and any previous history of problems to your feet or legs. One possible indication of RA is appearance of symptoms in the same joint on both feet or several joints in the feet. X-rays may also be obtained to clarify what joint damage is occurring. Blood test may show anemia or have an antibody called "the rheumatoid factor" which is often indicative of RA.

If you already have a diagnosis of RA, any symptom changes to your feet or ankles should be followed closely, as new swelling or foot pain may be the early signs of the foot or ankle being affected. There are usually treatments that can reduces the symptoms and possibly slow the progression.


It is important to understand that RA is a progressive disease that currently has no cure. With this understanding it should also be understood that medications, exercises, conservative therapies and surgery can all be utilized to lessen the effects of the disease and may slow its progress. Medications are usually designed for one of three reasons: 1) Control pain, 2) Reduce Inflammation or 3) Slow the Spread of the Disease. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and anesthetic injections to the joints principally help control pain. Local cortisone injections help reduce inflammation locally. Ice and some topical medications (like Biofreeze) may also help reduce inflammation and the associated pain. Medications like methotrexate, minocycline, azothioprine, prednisone, sulfasalazine, and gold compounds, help slow the spread of the disease itself

Exercises usually include physical and occupational therapy modalities. Range-of-motion exercises, exercise in whirlpool or warm swimming pool, remaining active all help decrease the immobility produced by the disease.

Conservative therapies include custom shoe inserts (orthotics), braces (especially for foot drop), specialized shoes to better accommodate the foot changes, and protective padding. The most common padding required is for pressure points on the toes where calluses (thick skin) form and cause pain. Some of the easiest padding can include:

Gel Toe Caps - A compressive sleeve completely lined with gel that is easily slipped onto the toes to pad the joints and the tip of the toe. Reduces the pressure and is protective from callus formation or progression.

Gel Corn Pads - A compressive sleeve with gel padding to be easily applied to the toes to protect prominent joints of the toes and reduce callus formation or even wounds to these areas. Again this will reduce pressure and is protective from callus formation or progression.

Gel Crest Pads - A gel pad placed under the toes to flatten contracted toes and elevate toes from the weightbearing surface, reducing pressure to the tips of the toes. Protective from wound formation or callus formation to tips of toes.

Even with these or similar treatments, regular follow-up with a physician is important, because callus tissue should still be reduced on a regular basis (it just won't get bad as fast with protective measures).

Surgical intervention can also be undergone, including tendon release or lengthening, correction of single or multiple hammertoes or other foot deformities, bunion correction, metatarsal surgery, ankle surgery, joint implants, or complex foot surgeries to reduce risk factors.

The role of a qualified foot and ankle specialist or podiatrist may include major contributions to the management of this disease, including relief of pain and restoration of function. This can add not only to a reduction of disability but an improvement of walking, increased independence and the regular ability to engage in activities of daily living. Increased joy and happiness in life may then occur, as the foot and ankle are optimized to function even with this difficult disease.

Copyright (c) 2009 Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute