Saturday, July 27, 2013

Arthritis and Joint Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Home Remedies

Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints caused by the wear and tear injury or any infection. This inflamed condition of the joints is mostly seen in the elderly people. It comes from two Greek words, athron meaning joints and itis meaning inflammation. It affects almost half of the population of the world. About 50 million people in the United States suffer from one or the other type of arthritis. It is more common than cancer and heart problems. In brief we can say that it is the condition that affects the health of the bone joints in the body.

Arthritis refers to the more than 100 distinct diseases that cause pain and swelling, and limit movement in joints and connective tissue . The common types of arthritis are-


Rheumatoid arthritis


Osteoarthritis results from the loss of bone tissue from the joints and is also known as degenerative arthritis. It mostly occurs with the preceding age. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the people above the age of 40. It is more dangerous than osteoarthritis as it affects the ligaments and tendons that join the bones and muscles. Gout mostly affects men who are above the age of 40 years and is caused by the excess accumulation of uric acid in the spaces between the joints causing intense pain and inflammation of the joints.

The various symptoms of arthritis are:

Joint pain

Swelling of joints

Limitation of movement

Swelling of joints

Stiffness of the joints

There are many types of arthritis and each of them has a different cause of occurrence.

The common causes of arthritis are:

Obesity and overweight

Preceding age

Heredity factors

Hormonal changes

Weather changes

Excessive acid in the body

Nutrient deficiencies

Home remedies for Arthritis

Two teaspoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey taken in a cup of warm water twice daily is highly beneficial for the treatment of arthritis.

Half teaspoon of turmeric powder taken with warm water twice a day is also effective in curing arthritis.

Application of hot packs and ice packs for 10 minutes also provides relief from joint pains.

Drinking alfalfa tea twice daily is also beneficial for the treatment of arthritis.

Drink some radish juice with sugar added to it.

Soak Spiegel seeds in water, make a poultice and apply it on the joints for immediate relief from pain.

Natural Solution: Arthcare Oil - An Anti-inflammatory Herbal massage oil.

Arthcare is an anti-inflammatory herbal oil which not only gives relief from arthritis pain but also strengthens the bone tissues, the skeletal and the neuromuscular systems, giving a comfortable movements of joints and muscles.


Joint pain is on of the symptoms of arthritis. It affects one or more joints. Many types of injuries or conditions can cause it. Joint pain can also be caused by the inflammation of the bursae known as bursitis. The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion and pad bony prominences, allowing free movement of muscles and tendons over the bone.

The other causes of joint pain are:

Joint injury

Infections like viral infections, bacterial infections etc.

Joint strains

Auto-immune diseases

Nervous system disorder

Home remedies for Joint Pain

Warm baths is the highly beneficial water treatment for the joint pains.

Drink 15 grams of fresh bathu juice daily with an empty stomach without adding any salt or sugar to it.

Massaging the affected area with any oil will provide relief from the pain.

Drink a cup of papaya seed tea six or seven times daily for two or three weeks for relief from joint pain.

Eat porridge of 2 teaspoonfuls of winter cherry with ghee and molasses with an empty stomach for 15 days.

Diet also plays an important role in the treatment of arthritis and joint pain. Improvement in the digestion and metabolism of the body is very important for the treatment. Heavy meals, meat and fish, sour fruits and fried foods should be avoided, as they are difficult to digest. Consumption of rice during nighttime should be avoided. Among fruits bananas are considered best as they provide strength to the joints and grease them. Carrot juice is highly beneficial as it strengthens the ligaments. Besides diet rest is also important for the patients suffering from arthritis and joint pain.

Natural Solution: Arthcare Oil - An Anti-inflammatory Herbal massage oil.

Arthcare is an anti-inflammatory herbal oil which not only gives a relief from joint pains but also strengthens the bone tissues, the skeletal and the neuromuscular systems, giving a comfortable movements of joints and muscles.

Relieving Arthritis With Hot Stone Therapy

Arthritis occurs when a person's joints become inflamed. As a result, they may experience debilitating pain and even deformation. To make matters even worse, there is nothing out there that can officially 'cure' arthritis. Instead, sufferers must find relief through perpetual treatments, whether it's drugs or holistic alternatives. A common example of the latter can be found through hot stone therapy.

What is hot rock therapy? Heat therapy is a type of massage where heated stones are applied to various areas of the body. The feeling associated with the massage is very pleasant due to both the heat and the stone's smoothness. But hot stone therapy also offers physiological benefits, since the heat helps to improve the body's blood flow. With this increase in blood flow, the arthritic joint is able to receive more nutrients from the body's cells. And when this happens, the inflammation lessens.

Now, if all of this sounds off-the-wall, think about some of the more 'common' treatments doctors recommend for arthritis. Heating pads, warm baths and the like all work off of the same principle. However, this type of therapy is a little bit more powerful, because the heat is actually massaged into the skin. Plus, it is much more enjoyable for a person's psyche.

This is not to say that this kind of therapy is perfect. As helpful as it is, hot stone therapy is not effective at reducing arthritic swelling. So, in that situation, a masseuse might decide to alternate with cold stones. The feeling is still pleasant, but since cold is being applied, the body's nervous system slows down. This halts activity within the joint, including fluid build-up.

In conclusion, don't underestimate the power a masseuse has when it comes to relieving your arthritis. Sure, massages won't eliminate your arthritis, but they will make it much more tolerable.

Learn About the Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Although they are sometimes confused and some symptoms are similar, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are very different diseases. According to a paper titled "Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis" released by the Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC), joint pain should be evaluated by a doctor.

Because, even though the symptoms of the two conditions are similar, the long-term effects can be quite different. If left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can destroy the joints, cause deformities and inflammation in other parts of the body.

The causes of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are different. Although genetics or heredity may play a role in both, as it does in many diseases, osteoarthritis is often referred to as "wear and tear" in the joints that occurs over a period of many years or even a lifetime and is most common in people over the age of 50. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, can affect children or adults. It is not caused by "wear and tear". It causes "wear and tear".

In explaining osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis, a simple illustration of bones, cartilage and the synovial membrane is often used, but explaining the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is far from simple. It is considered by most to be an inflammatory autoimmune disorder, although there are other theories.

In an autoimmune disorder, the body fails to recognize its own parts down to the cellular level. Because, the natural immune system response is to attack those things that do not belong in the body, if the immune system fails to recognize a body part as part of itself, then it will naturally launch an attack against that body part.

In rheumatoid arthritis, it is believed that the immune system considers some part of the joint (whether it be bone, cartilage or fluid) an invader. Signals are sent out among the cells and the immune system launches its attack. White blood cells are sent to the area to fight infection (even though no infection is present), inflammatory compounds are produced (even though there is no need for inflammation) and swelling, redness and pain is experienced in the joints.

This is a very simplified explanation. Immune system responses are actually quite complex. But, the purpose here is to briefly and simply describe the primary difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, so that people may better understand the difference in treatment choices and the need for professional diagnosis and early treatment.

In "Osteoarthrits vs Rheumatoid Arthritis", TGMC staff writers warn that, if left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can cause serious damage to joints in as little as two years. Aggressive treatment early on may prevent the progression of the disease. People sometime go into periods of remission, where little or no symptoms are present.

Natural anti-inflammatories, such as omega 3 fatty acids, may help benefit these arthritic conditions, although they are certainly not cures.

According to The John Hopkins Arthritis Center:

"The major goals of treatment of the arthritis are to reduce pain and discomfort, prevent deformities and loss of joint function, and maintain a productive and active life. Inflammation must be suppressed...."[End Quote]

And according to the University of Maryland's Medical Website:

"Most clinical studies investigating the use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements for inflammatory joint conditions have focused almost entirely on rheumatoid arthritis. Several articles reviewing the research in this area conclude that omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduce tenderness in joints, decrease morning stiffness, and allow for a reduction in the amount of medication needed for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Similarly, New Zealand green lipped mussel ( Perna canaliculus ), another potential source of omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown to reduce joint stiffness and pain, increase grip strength, and enhance walking pace in a small group of people with osteoarthritis."[End Quote]

Therefore, if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, you may want to include more omega 3 fatty acids for their anti-inflammatory effects. Talk to your doctor.

Psoriasis Affects More Than Just the Upper Layer of Your Skin

Psoriasis is a disease that affects both skin and joints. It is mainly called a skin disease because it causes swelling and scaling of skin. This disease is known to be chronic recurring. Psoriasis causes thick, red spots or plaques with silvery - white scales. These can be often found on lower back, knees, elbows, soles of feet and on palms and are frequent in fingernails and toenails. Psoriasis is one of the longest known disease or illness of humans. The cause of the disease is not yet well known, but it affects both males and females at same rate. There are different types of psoriasis:

Plaque psoriasis: It appears as raised areas of skin which is inflamed.

Flexural psoriasis: It appears as smooth inflamed plaques on skin.

Guttate psoriasis: Numerous red spots over a large area.

Pustular psoriasis: Appears as raised bumps on pustules which are non-infectious

Nail psoriasis: Appears as discoloring nail plates or thickening of skin under nails.

Psoriatic arthritis: Is a connective tissue inflammation which affects joints.

These are some of the type of psoriasis found commonly. This disease is hard to be diagnosed. Treatment is done based on severity of the disease, size of psoriatic plaques and reaction of the patient on the disease.

Topical treatment of this disease is done with different ointments and creams. Bath solutions, moisturizers and lotions also give better results for the treatment of this disease. One treatment which is more effective on this disease is PUVA. It is combination of Psoralen and UltraVioletA light. Sometimes, combination therapy is used for the treatment of this disease. In combination therapy, two or more drugs are combined to form a new drug which reduces the red spots on the skin.

Some triggers such as stress, injury to skin, infection or scratches that can cause psoriasis. People who suffer from psoriasis develop lesions or red colored plaques on raised skin of dead skin cells. There are some natural remedies for the treatment of this disease such as usage of Aloe vera, primrose oil in cream or lotion form, fish oil and turmeric can also be used to relieve psoriasis.

Many times diagnosis of this disease is done through biopsy of the skin or by scraping. This disease is known to increase the chance of myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure or hyper tension.

Psoriasis sometimes is treated by taking it as excessive growth and reproduction of cells of skin and sometimes as immune - mediated disorder. Psoriasis is a type of idiosyncratic disease which includes bacterial or viral infection, any allergy due to weather or material, some medicines used or lack of Vitamin D, excess drinking of alcohol, and other liquids or the body is infected with cancer, AIDS or any other incurable disease.

An antibiotic, cream, lotion, or a moisturizer is prescribed to you by the dermatologists to prevent further spreading. Other measures such as taking more bath, usage of anti dandruff shampoo or moisturizers are also employed by dermatologists for the treatment of this disease.

Gout - What Is It?

Gout is the most dreaded form of arthritis that comes with intense and anguishing pain. Gout has been known over the centuries as a disease that affects only the aristocrats. As such it was also known as "The disease of the kings". The root cause of gout is the excessive build-up of uric acid in the blood. This situation is observed in cases where the kidneys become impaired and are incapable of excreting uric acid from the body in the normal way. The excess uric acid present in blood in such situations precipitates in the tissues neighbouring the joints as minute needle-shaped monosodium urate crystals. Normally, gout affects the big toe in the initial stages. This is known as Podagra. However in subsequent stages, gout may affect other joints of the body such as joints of knees, elbows, ankles and so on.

In the middle of the night, if you suddenly experience intolerable pain in any of your joints accompanied by inflammation, redness and stiffness of the joint, then you are experiencing a gout attack. Sometimes high fever may also be observed along with a gout attack. The skin surrounding the gout affected joint tends to peel off. Small pressure on the joint may aggravate the excruciating pain. As such walking or even standing up becomes an arduous task.

Family history of gout is one of its prime causes. Unhealthy ways of living, excessive consumption of alcohol and sea food can also result in gout. In general, obese people are at a greater risk of encountering gout in near future. Persons with diabetes and high blood pressure have a high possibility of developing this disease.

Though medical treatment is available for gout, it may or may not be able to cure it permanently. However they are able to diminish the pain and reduce the probability of subsequent attacks to some extent. Commonly used medicines for the treatment of gout include NSAIDs which are anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicines and some steroids. But these drugs may lead to various side-effects. If one is not satisfied with medical treatment he can also go for natural treatment of gout.Natural home remedies of gout include changes in the diet to include low quantities of fats and carbohydrates, consumption of large amount of water to ensure normal functioning of kidneys and regular physical exercise. Cherries can decrease uric acid levels in the body; hence its consumption is a must. Red meat and purine rich vegetables should be avoided. Some herbs such as devil's claw,nettle root etc are also effective in the treatment of gout as they help in reducing uric acid levels in the body. However natural treatment may take some time to show any result, as such people should remain patient and continue the treatment. Results are bound to show to one day or the other!

Danger! Fungal Infections in Arthritis Joints From Contaminated Steroids!

The ongoing epidemic of fungal infections from contaminated steroid injections is going beyond the brain and spinal cord to include the many joints injected by arthritis specialists. The medicine, methylprednisolone acetate, is a commonly used prescription steroid for the treatment of inflamed joints. Since rheumatologists often inject joints in patients with arthritis, this presents a potential problem.

While infections in the spinal cord and central nervous system present fairly quickly following injection, it is apparent that joints injected with contaminated steroids may take several months to produce symptoms. According to Dr. Kevin McKown of the University of Wisconsin Medical Center, new cases of fungal infections in joints may present for the next six months... or even longer!

Unlike the brain, joint infections can remain indolent which leads to delay in diagnosis.

There have been at least two cases of joint infections from contaminated steroids reported to the FDA as of November 1, 2012.

Symptoms suggestive of infection include, fever, pain, increased redness, warmth, and swelling in the joint that received the injection. Since this is also a sign of a joint flare from arthritis, an infected joint may not be easy to identify.

If the infection is not recognized, the fungus can spread and lead to osteonecrosis (dead bone), a destroyed joint, and also spread to other joints via the blood stream. In its most virulent form, it may cause death.

The compounding pharmacy responsible for this outbreak is the New England Compounding Center located in Framingham, Massachusetts. It was found guilty of selling large amounts of the medication across state lines. The New England Compounding Pharmacy sold lots of their drugs to clinics in more than 23 states before being shut down by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

So far, the two species of fungus isolated have been Aspergillus and Exserohilum.

The major problem in identifying cases is that fungal infections are slow to develop and symptoms are not always recognizable after such a long period between symptom presentation and joint injection. For example, cases of meningitis often take anywhere from one to four weeks before presentation. Joints that have been injected can take much longer.

Of the many states reported to have received the contaminated steroid preparations, there are California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rumatory Arthritis - Tips for Pain Relief

For those dealing with rumatory arthritis, pain is a constant problem. The swelling and inflammation that comes with this disease causes stiffness and pain in the joints. Some of the main areas where pain can occur include in the hip joints, wrist joints, hand joints, knee joints, and the spine. To deal with this chronic pain, here are some helpful tips for pain relief that can provide the pain management needed.

Tip #1 - Healthy Diet - One excellent tip for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief is to eat a healthy diet. A diet that is well balanced can help to keep weight under control, easing the strain on joints. Limiting certain foods like saturated fats and read meats can help to reduce inflammation, since it limits arachidonic acid, which can make inflammation worse. Eating foods that contain omega 3s can also be helpful, since they are proven to help reduce inflammation in the joints.

Tip #2 - Cold and Heat Therapy
Many people find that cold and heat therapy can help to ease some of the pain that comes along with rheumatoid arthritis. When a joint is aching and inflamed, cold therapy can help to reduce some of the inflammation, easing the pain. Other people find that heat therapy is helpful for relaxing muscles and easing the pain felt in joints.

Tip #3 - Non-Impact Exercise
Exercise is an important part of reducing pain with this disease. Building muscles that are strong and fit provides better support for the body's joints. Exercise can also reduce pain symptoms and increase flexibility as well. Non-impact exercises are the best options for those with joint damage, such as water therapy and swimming. Speaking with your doctor before getting involved in a new exercise plan is a good idea.

Tip #4 - Massage
Even massage therapy can provide some pain relief for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Massage can help to warm up and relax muscles that are tense because of the constant pain. A good massage also can help the body to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers, alleviating pain.

Tip #5 - Medications
Today there are a variety of excellent medications that can help to treat rheumatoid arthritis and relieve some of the pain that comes with the disease. Inflammation can be reduced with medications like corticosteroids and NSAIDs, which leads to the reduction of pain. Other anti-rheumatic drugs are available today that actually treat the disease, leading to pain reduction as they begin to work. Some of the newer biological medications that are available include Enbrel, Orencia, and Humira. Several are taken by infusion, while others are given as injections.

Dealing with the pain that comes with rheumatoid arthritis can be frustrating. However, there are many great options available that can provide some pain relief. If you are dealing with this disease, consider some of these tips and talk with your doctor about the options that may work best for you.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Joint Protection Program To Protect Your Joints 2

The principles of joint protection program

1. Patients are advised not to engaged in activities or tasks that requires a prolonged fixed grip or grasp on a tool, such as in the activity of cutting (where patient has to hold a knife in a fixed position), knitting a blouse, or even holding up newspapers to read.

2. Patients are to schedule their days and activities, and to schedule rests in between their activities, to prevent exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis flare up

3. Patients are to respect pain and discomfort when it happens, and not continue to engage in a task or activity when there is pain already present.

4. Be compliant to splints fabricated and prescribed according to the regime informed by the hand occupational therapist

On top of that, all patients with rheumatoid arthritis need to be able to recognize and avoid any tasks or activities that causes pressure on the radial side of any finger and/or puts a strong pressure on the thumb.

We understand that the list of this joint protection program does seem more like a long list of "Do Not Do This", and we have alternative solutions as well for patients to continue as closely as possible to their previously acquired roles and habits. As alternative to knitting, patients can consider engaging in activities that requires use of both hands such as weaving. Reading can be continued with a reading stand to place books or newspapers. Patients are encouraged to participate in as much activity as possible, just have adequate rest and do not push themselves harder when faced with pain in their joint already.

Splints can be alternated (with the permission and approval of the hand occupational therapists) with rests or soft splints for comfort.

Positioning of the joints for the patient with rheumatoid arthritis is THE most crucial aspect of the joint protection program. Because of general pain and discomfort, most patients enjoy the pain and discomfort relief when they sleep or rest with a pillow under their knees. No matter how comfortable this is, this must not be done or continued, as prolonged knee and hip flexion can and will cause joint shortening and tightening, leading to flexion contractures.

At rest, the legs and hips should be in straight (180 degrees), with the feet supported at right angles. If the occupational therapist or physiotherapist observe a tendency to have flexion patterns in supine, then a prone lying position must be encouraged.

Arthritis Stretching, a Proven Treatment For Arthritis Pain

Once upon a time, it was believed that exercise and arthritis didn't mix. We now know how false this is. In fact, it can be a great benefit to anyone with arthritis if they want to increase mobility, and reduce pain.

But if you have arthritis, exercise is probably one of the last things you want to do!

However, it doesn't mean picking up the pigskin for a game of tackle football. It usually means mild cardio, light resistance training, and most importantly, stretching.

Stretching will help keep muscles and tendons loose and relaxed, and this will keep mobility up, and pain down. Many doctors recommend regular stretching, and PhD Barbara Resnick recommends daily stretching for those with arthritis

But before you begin, follow these specific rules for safety and to get the most out of your stretch:

Warm up before stretching, a short walk or warm shower will do this for you.

If your having a flair up due to rheumatoid arthritis, avoid stretching, as it can do more harm than good.

Stretch slowly, and gently, do not bounce.

The Stretches:

Here are 4 stretches that can help relieve arthritis symptoms.

To Stretch Your Shoulders:
While standing, raise your arms up out in front of your body, with your palms facing you, and your fingers on your left hand should be facing your right hand, and your fingers on your right should be facing your left. Gently raise your arms up toward the sky, until you feel a stretch. Hold it for about 10 seconds, than gently lower your arms. This stretch can be taken with both hands at a time, or one arm at a time.

To Stretch Your Calves (Lower Legs):
Stand about 2 feet away from a wall, facing that wall. Raise your arms up until you can push off that wall with your hands. Then, allow your body to slowly move towards the wall, keeping your feet flat on the ground. It's like doing a push up, only standing up. This should stretch your calves and ankles. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then slowly push back off the wall.

To Stretch Your Lower Back And Thighs:
Lie back on a flat, firm surface, and gently bring your knees up, one at a time, to your chest. Pull the knee toward your torso until a moderate stretch can be felt. Hold this for about 8-10 seconds, then slowly lower your leg back to the resting position. Then, do it again with the other leg. Each leg should be stretched 3-6 times.

To Stretch your Fingers, Back, and Shoulders:
Stand up, and stretch your hands and arms up towards the ceiling. As you stretch your arms, spread your fingers to stretch them as well. Then, lower your arms slowly back down, and relax your hands.

Stretching is important whether you continue on to more vigorous exercise or not. Most doctors recommend it be done once a day for about 10 - 15 minutes. These stretches listed here are all effective in helping arthritis, but it is important to know what stretches are the best for reducing the symptoms of your arthritis.

Arthritis Diet - Prevent Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis can be of two types: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the condition that occurs due to ageing and it results in pain in the joints. People who are overweight are at a higher risk of suffering from joints disorders. Another condition called Rheumatoid arthritis can result in swelling in the joints and it can cause pain.

It may happen that after taking up a meal you feel pain in the joints and it has been found in various studies that proteins attacks certain foreign bodies present in the body but sometimes protein particles attack friendly bodies due to miscommunication. It is found that the intestine of people suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis have higher amount of antibodies that comes from the food products such as cow's milk, egg, pork, codfish and cereals.

To prevent arthritis one should monitor the diet and try to find out which particular diet is aggravating the condition. The various diets prescribed for arthritis by physicians has been contradictory. Some people were benefited by shifting from non vegetarian to vegetarian food and there are certain food products which can cause allergies and intolerance. Sometimes the effect is visible immediately on taking such diet. One should try to eliminate it from the diet.

There are certain food products which can be eliminated or included in the diet such as:

Sunflower oil and corn oils can be replaced by olive and canola for cooking.

Cod liver oil supplements can be taken. It is assumed that omega 6 fatty acids can cause inflammation but omega 3 fatty acid reduces inflammation and therefore, it can be taken.

Reduce intake of milk and dairy products and observe the changes.

Eliminate beef and pork from diet as it can aggravate the condition.

Include anti inflammatory herbs such as turmeric and ginger.

Increase intake of unsalted nuts which contain a good amount of vitamin E.

Certain vegetables can cause the problem such as potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and capsicum.

Baked food and food containing a good amount of saturated fat should be eliminated from diet.

Food product low in carbohydrate and starch should be taken. One can eliminate wheat and cereals from diet and observe the changes.

Although there are no studies to support the claims but it is assumed that alkaline diet should be taken to prevent both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. It is assumed that the condition is caused by excess intake of certain acids and one should eliminate food products such as coffee, sugar and citrus fruits from diet.

It is advised to reduce weight if one is overweight to ease pressure on the joints and research has been done to prove that vegetarian diet showed improvement in condition of people in four weeks. The follow ups indicated that the effect was visible even after one and two years.

Green tea is effective in the condition. It can be taken three to four times in a day. Even raisins and grapes have a good amount of anti inflammatory properties. It can be taken in regulated quantities.

WD-40 for Arthritis?

A popular lubricant developed in 1953 is making waves as an arthritis "treatment" even though there is no scientific evidence behind this claim.

Thousands of people around the world swear that WD-40 (short for water displacement - 40th attempt), a rust-prevention product created by chemist Norm Larsen, has helped them cope with arthritis pain and stiffness. Users claim the household lubricant works miracles if sprayed on stiff knees, hips, and wrists.

Golfer Eric McKaig is one of them. The 70-year-old retired sales manager and former professional football player said the product has put an end to years of suffering. He got arthritis seven years ago and has tried a lot of painkillers and supplements for quick relief but to no avail.

His 78-year-old friend Ron Andrew told McKaig about his secret. Since then, the two claim they have found instant relief.

"It's been an absolute godsend for me. WD-40 has given me a hell of a lot of relief. A few weeks ago, I was even running around the garden with my grandson. I haven't been able to do that for about three years," McKaig said.

"There was a slope at my local golf course that used to really hurt my knees. But within a few days of spraying WD-40 it didn't hurt nearly as much. I only sprayed it three or four times and I've been fine since. It was unbelievable," Andrew added.

Although WD-40 has thousands of uses such as protecting tools from rust, silencing squeaky hinges, and removing crayon marks from most surfaces, the manufacturer stressed that it is a household product not a miracle cure for arthritis. In response to queries from users, it issued this statement:

"WD-40 is not a medical product. We would never recommend to people that they spray WD-40 onto the skin. Our recommendation is to see your GP (general practitioner) for expert advice on alleviating arthritis."

Doctors say the reason why people think WD-40 works is because of the placebo effect - meaning if you sincerely believe something will work, sometimes it does but only temporarily. That positive effect may be reinforced by the cooling effect of WD-40 that is similar to other topical painkillers or due to improved blood circulation when users massage the product into their skin.

Arthritis expert Professor Robert Moots from Liverpool University said a lubricant similar to WD-40 is used to treat stiff joints. Unlike WD-40, however, the treatment is injected into the joints not merely sprayed.
"By spraying the outside of the knee with WD-40 I doubt if any would actually get into the joint. I've no doubt people who use it do feel better but it's probably only a simple placebo effect," Moots explained.

To top it off, arthritis is characterized by flare-ups and remissions. A remission is the absence of symptoms that occur for no known reason in 30 percent of arthritis patients. Thus, people who feel better after using WD-40 may actually be experiencing a remission.

"To date, no credible scientific studies have shown any benefit from the use of WD-40 for arthritis. In fact, there may be cumulative harmful effects. The manufacturer's warning indicates that contact with skin and vapors should be avoided. WD-40 contains petroleum distillates, as do gasoline and oil. Problems ranging from mild skin rash to severe allergic reactions have been reported. Prolonged exposure can cause cancer and other serious health problems," warned Dr. Katherine Poelhmann, author of "Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection."

If you have arthritis, don't waste time on questionable remedies. While there is no cure for the disease, painful symptoms can be controlled with the right medication. One popular product is Flexcerin that helps soothe inflamed joints, relieves swelling, and restores flexibility and mobility. Check out for details.

Arthritis Knee Surgery - The Pros and Cons

Arthritis is a disease characterized by abnormal inflammations affecting the human body's articulations or joints. The fingers, elbows, hips, and knees are the primary targets of arthritis. Arthritis comes in varied forms. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is caused predominantly by old age, but may also develop in response to certain lesions, infections, or malformations, of the knee. Other less common but equally debilitating forms of arthritis are as follows: gouty arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment Options for Arthritis In the Knee

Several modes of treatment are available for managing arthritis and its symptoms. These may range from physical therapy, pharmacological remedies (medications), to arthritis-specific surgical procedures.

The latter, more commonly known collectively as arthritis knee surgery, has a variety of more specialized types - for example, knee osteotomy, arthroscopy, and knee replacement surgery. The specific form of arthritis knee surgery will depend on a number of factors, such as the extent and severity of the disease.

What is Knee Arthritis Surgery?

Depending on the state of arthritis, the most recommended option for treatment is frequently arthritis knee surgery.

Arthritis usually develops in stages, gradually destroying the cartilaginous tissue present in the tissue joints. In its early stages, anti-inflammatory treatment and physical therapy are the primary modes of treatment. However, as the disease progresses, arthritis knee surgery becomes an urgent and crucial necessity.

Arthroscopy: A Less Invasive Option

Arthroscopy is a less invasive surgical option in arthritis treatment. This procedure involves the repair of ligament and cartilage tissue injuries in the knee and the other joints. During an arthroscopy, a tiny instrument resembling an endoscope will be inserted in the affected articulation via a little incision.

Although the effectiveness of this procedure remains an issue of debate, many proponents attest to the benefits of arthroscopy when applied in appropriate scenarios.

Telltale signs that a patient requires knee arthroscopy are as follows: painful popping of the knee, knee joint instability or wobbling knees, a prickling sensation when using the knee joint, and inflammation or swelling of the affected body part(s).

Knee Osteotomy: Better Option for Younger Patients

In cases of younger patients, these arthritics only often have damage in only one part of the knee joint. Consequently, they are not advised to undergo complete knee replacement surgery.

Sometimes, arthritis also manifests through knock-legged or bow-legged cases, which are characterized by a joint reorientation, such that the joint's weight center is transferred from its damaged area to its healthy area. In such cases, knee osteotomy is often the best course of action.

Partial Knee Replacement Surgery: The Hybrid

Considered a "hybrid" of both osteotomy and complete knee replacement surgery, partial knee replacement surgery is significantly less invasive than the latter. This procedure is done by replacing the damaged portion of the affected articulation with a prosthetic one, while the healthy parts are left intact to heal. Partial knee replacement surgery is recommended for severe arthritis confined to certain parts of articulation. Compared to complete knee replacement surgery, this procedure requires smaller incisions and allows for a more rapid recovery time.

Complete Knee Replacement Surgery: A Practical Option

For several arthritis cases, the most practical option is complete knee replacement surgery. This procedure entails the complete removal and replacement of the damaged joint tissue with plastic or metal prosthetic implants.

Associated Risks: Arthritis Knee Surgery

As in most forms of major surgery, arthritis knee surgery patients are susceptible to thrombosis, infections, nerve damage, and certain anesthesia risks.

In addition, arthritis knee surgery involves a number of post-surgery risks, including instability of the affected joint, kneecap fracture or dislocation, and even decreased mobility or reduced range of motion.

Arthritis Knee Surgery: Pros and Cons

In spite of the risks associated to the procedure, arthritis knee surgery comes with several advantages that can benefit the inflicted patient. The primary benefits are, of course, considerable pain alleviation, enhanced mobility, as well as a substantial improvement in one's quality of life. Most importantly, within 6 months subsequent to the surgery, the previously affected joint has the potential to regain its full functionality.

Conversely, arthritis knee surgery also comes with some perceptible disadvantages. For example, post-operative patients may experience discomfort and soreness in the period following the procedure. Additionally, the use of the prosthetic joint can be noisy and draw attention to its presence. In some cases, difficulties in movement may arise. And, depending on the type of prosthetics used, the replacement knee may have limited usability, such as only 10-15 years before a new replacement knee becomes necessary once more.

All things considered, however, if we weigh the pain and discomfort that are observed in some cases against the immense potential for successful post-surgery results, it is easy to conclude that the pros of arthritis knee surgery unquestionably exceed its cons.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Arthritis Treatment: 7 Tips Concerning Stem Cells For Arthritis Treatment

A feature article appearing on ABC News (Newcomb "Stem Cell Treatments for Zoo Animals Hold Promise for Humans) underscored the interest that both scientists as well as lay people have in the new technology of using stem cells to repair and treat degenerative conditions.

"We just extract them, concentrate them, wash them and in the same setting readminster them. Inject them in your heart or your knees, wherever you need them," Dr. Eckhard Alt told ABC Station KTRK-TV in Houston after treating an arthritic pig at the Houston Zoo."

So... can this technology be applied to humans?

Here are seven tips about stem cells (SCs) for arthritis treatment you might want to know...

1. There are four types of SCs currently being studied. They are embryonic SCs, allogeneic (donor) SCs, induced pluripotential adult SCs, and finally autologous SCs. Of these four, only two, donor SCs and autologous SCs have been used in either animals or humans to treat arthritis.

2. The SC that appears to generate the most interest is the autologous SC. This is the SC that is present in the patient and can be found in bone marrow, periosteum of bone, fat, and peripheral blood. Autologous SCs are referred to as "repair SCs" because these are the SCs that help with the healing process.

3. Arthritis occurs as a result of cartilage degeneration. Various attempts at inducing cartilage healing with SCs have met with mixed results. The results appear to be highly dependent upon the following factors: age of the patient, body mass index (BMI), extent of cartilage loss, and the technical expertise of the center performing the procedure.

4. The processing and administering of SCs for an arthritis problem is more than just getting SCs out and injecting them. There appears to be a need for some type of acute injury to help stimulate the stem cells to multiply and divide.

5. Possible complications of SC treatment can vary. They include the following: infection, rejection, graft versus host reaction, malignancy, and transmission of genetic disease.

6. The need for a cartilage restorative procedure is very evident since the only treatments available currently for osteoarthritis are palliative, meaning pain control only. This is not satisfactory.

7. In the proper hands autologous SC treatment can be successful. Early data indicating an improvement in cartilage thickness in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee has been published.

(Wei N, Beard S, Delauter S, Bitner C, Gillis R, Rau L, Miller C, Clark T. Guided Mesenchymal Stem Cell Layering Technique for Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee. J Applied Res. 2011; 11: 44-48)

Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis That You Should Know

Physical, occupational, nutritional therapies are the non-pharmacological ways to combat the disease. Analgesia or pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs like azathioprine, gold salts, leflunomide, minocycline etc are being prescribed these days to control the progression of the disease. The disorder can also be tackled the natural way and through home based remedies.

The patient should carry out the treatment by balancing the commercial medicines along with natural remedies. This is to be done in order to escape to some extent the harmful side effects of toxins in the commercial medicines. Here are some natural ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

1. Light stretching exercise to mobilize affected joints is essential. Mobilization will reduce stiffness at the joint. If the joints attacked by rheumatoid arthritis are left idle and inactive, the problem of stiffness will only worsen. Heavy impact exercises like jumping, running, skiing etc are to be avoided.

2. Food items rich in Omega3 fatty acids, Gamma-linolenic acid should be consumed by rheumatoid arthritis patients. Cold water fishes like salmon, sardines, anchovies etc are rich in omega3 acids. Even fish oil capsules available in market can serve the purpose. Sea food diet thus is highly recommended as a cure for rheumatoid. Borage oil, black currant seed oil, primrose oil are rich sources of gamma-linolenic acids. Raw vegetable juices like that of celery, carrot, and beet can prove beneficial in reducing pain and inflammation.

3. Magnesium and copper supplements can prove beneficial.

4. Cupping therapy, a remarkable form of alternative treatment in Chinese medicine, proves to be an effective natural way of treating rheumatoid arthritis. The therapy reduces pain, inflammation, boosts up blood circulation and helps in getting rid of inflammation causing toxins.

5. Orthotic devices like braces, splints can be worn for acquiring easy mobility. They help in giving support to ailing joints.

6. Turmeric, dry ginger, boswellia, guggul are beneficial herbs that can treat the problem of pain and inflammation due to rheumatoid.

7. Green tea extracts may also bring some relief.

8. Ointments like Ben Gay and capsaicin creams may be rubbed on the ailing joints to get pain relief.

9. Smoking and consumption of caffeine are to be strictly avoided.

Rumatone Gold Capsules and Massage Oil are unique proprietary blend of natural ingredients to ease pain and stiffness due to rheumatoid arthritis. These supplements taken in a regular and disciplined way greatly help in relieving rheumatoid arthritis pain. As these supplements are made of plant-based herbal ingredients, they are safer and natural way to treat the problem.

Arthritis Cure - How to Beat Osteoarthritis Pain Through Your Diet (Part 2)

The incidence of osteoarthritis can be greatly reduced through sufficient and regular intake of antioxidants, but there are other food sources that help to fight this scourge. They include foods containing bioflavonoids, foods that counter the effects of steroids and other medications, and so on. They are as follows.

1- Foods containing Bioflavonoids

Good sources of these foods include citrus fruits, green tea, onions, berries, fruits that contain a pit ( such as cherries), and whole grains. It is recommended that you take at least one of these foods per day. The recommended daily allowance for bioflavonoid food supplements is 100mg for every 500mg vitamin C.

2- Foods that Counter the Use of NSAIDs, Steroids, and other Medications

Iron- found in organ meats, lean red meat, cooked dried beans and peas, dark leafy vegetables, fish poultry, oysters, whole-grain breads, and cereals.

Folic acid- found in brewer's yeast, dark green leafy vegetables, orange juice, avocados and broccoli.

Phosphorus- found in meat, organ meats, poultry, eggs, fish, non-fat milk, soybeans and peanut butter.

Zinc- lean meat, poultry, organ meats, oysters, brewer's yeast and pumpkin seeds.

Potassium- potatoes, avocados, bananas, apricots, orange juice and peas.

For aspirin takers, take an extra serving of foods rich in vitamin C, iron, and folic acid. Indomethacin takers should eat an iron-rich food each day and watch their sodium/salt intake. Antacid takers should eat a phosphorus-rich food everyday while corticosteroid takers should eat an extra serving of foods containing zinc, potassium, and vitamin C, as well as vitamin D-enriched milk.

3- Foods that Reduce Inflammation

These include foods containing omega-3 fatty acids which are the best inflammation fighters. Good sources include mackerel, herring, salmon, anchovies, sardines and Atlantic sturgeon. These foods contain EPAs which are the best omega-3s. You can take 1 to 2 teaspoons of fish oil if you don't eat fish but do not exceed the recommended dose as fish oil can be toxic in large amounts and can interfere with blood clotting. Talk to your physician before taking any fish oil.

Also included in the list are primrose oil, black currant oil, and borage seed oil. The supplements come in capsule form and you can take 200-300mg per day. Check with you doctor first.

Which Of The 100+ Types Of Arthritis Do You Have?

Arthritis is actually a group of more than 100 related diseases. Any disease that causes inflammation, damage, and deterioration of joints is considered a type of arthritis. Arthritis strikes people over sixty-five most often, but a lot of younger people are stricken with it, too. Each type of arthritis has its own causes, its own symptoms, and its own treatments.

The Different Forms of Arthritis

Doctors have to differentiate between the types of arthritis in order to diagnose and treat them properly. Each type of arthritis is called an arthritide. The one common denominator between all arthritides is pain. Each type causes severe pain which differs as to pattern and location. Other symptoms of arthritis are swelling, stiffness, and deterioration of joint function. If you experience these symptoms for over two weeks, don't hesitate to see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis is always the best plan.

Osteoarthritis pain is worst during the night or after a person has rested. A person who is inflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, though, will suffer most in the mornings. In the case of children and senior citizens, they may suffer less from pain and more from joint immobility and lack of function.

Some of the different arthritides in addition to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid include: septic, gout/pseudogout, juvenile, Still's disease, and Ankylosing spondylitis. Common methods of treating arthritis include a variety of different medications and arthroplasty. If the condition becomes too severe, doctors will opt for prosthetic joint replacement which has become a very popular and successful way to alleviate joint pain.

How Long Have People Suffered from Arthritis?

The oldest known case of human arthritis has been traced back to 4500 BC. However, the disease is known to have been around even longer than that. Paleontologists have discovered evidence of ankle arthritis in dinosaur bones. On the American continent, the bones of ancient Native Americans found in Tennessee and Kansas are the oldest to have exhibited signs of arthritis.

Scientists have discovered a mummy dating back to 3000 B.C.which they believe suffered from arthritis. The earliest form of arthritis medication that has been discovered, to date, is willow bark which was in use around 500 B.C. and which may or may not have helped with the pain. In our modern world, there have been estimates made that people have taken over a trillion tablets of aspirin and other pain killers to try and alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.

Try Feldenkrais For Osteoarthritis Relief Now

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It is a mechanical problem involving the wearing of joints, including the destruction of cartilage and bone. Symptoms include joint pain and tenderness, stiffness, locking, and sometimes swelling. A variety of causes, including genetic, metabolic, and mechanical, may begin the process of bone destruction. Bony surfaces eventually become less protected by cartilage, and bone is exposed and damaged. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the hands, feet, spine, and the large weight bearing joints, such as the hips and knees, although any joint in the body can be affected. As the disease progresses, the affected joints appear larger, are stiff and painful, and may feel worse the more they are used. The diagnosis is typically made based on signs, symptoms, and X-rays.

Arthritis relief by a Feldenkrais practitioner views restoring the normal functioning of the joints as vital, and takes into consideration that mechanical stress on joints underlies most osteoarthritis. There are many sources of mechanical stress, including poor alignment of bones and poor general biomechanics. Both can be caused by trauma, misuse, disease, and underuse of the body. The Feldenkrais Method takes into consideration:

  • Joints are a complicated system of relationships between bones.

  • Joint pain only improves when the mechanics of the joint is improved.

  • Faulty mechanics of the entire painful area is a common finding chronic pain.

  • Altered relations create excessive strain in the joints and soft tissues of the area, with increased inflammation and pain being only one common result.

Have you maximized your arthritis meds and want to avoid surgery? The Feldenkrais Method is a systematic method to improve human movement and general functioning. Feldenkrais uses simple, gentle movements to reorganize posture, flexibility, strength and coordination and in doing so provides arthritis pain relief. A vital new approach to pain management, Feldenkrais integrates mind and body, using the plasticity of the nervous system to help the body function more efficiently. More efficient use of self creates environments within which arthritis pain can heal. Discover what Feldenkrais can do for your osteoarthritis.

Arthritis Joint Pain - Ayurvedic Remedies and Treatments That Work

About 80% of the world population is within the clutches of the ailment called arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by joint inflammation. It is a chronic disorder making mobility, day to day activities and life altogether quite difficult. Pain or arthralgia is the ruling symptom of arthritis, and there is not a single arthritis patient who would not complain of aching joints. Arthritis causes the joints to wear out. To understand the cause of the pain, we have to cast a glance at the structure and functioning of a joint in human body.

A joint is surrounded by a protective cover called capsule. Two bone heads meeting at a joint turn on each other, and the muscles around the joint contract and relax, thereby collectively facilitating movement of the joints. The joint cavity is filled with synovial fluid which acts as a lubricating agent and absorbs the external jerks or shocks. The point where the bone heads meet, cartilages occur. Cartilages play a vital role in inhibiting friction between bones, and provide a padded surface for the free and smooth movement of bones. When the cartilages get damaged or wear out due to factors like aging, obesity, they can no more check bone friction. The bones get rubbed against each other, and may even get eroded to form spur like outgrowths called osteophytes.

The result is an inflamed and painful joint. Aging is a major factor causing arthritis. With age, the cartilages become weak, can no more resist day to day wear and tear, and start flaking. This degeneration leads to loss of cartilage and exposure of bones to friction. If body weight increases, that too can lead to painful joints. The cartilages wear out under the load of the extra body weight, causing arthritis. Apart from the above two factors, heredity, past history of traumatic joint injury or infection, may in course of time, lead to painful joints. Cartilage degeneration is the leading cause of joint pain; but also accumulation of fluids and uric acid crystals within joints can cause arthritis joint pain. Joint pain may even occur when the body's own immune system start consuming the healthy tissues at the joint. This is true in case of rheumatoid arthritis. Knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, wrist and even spine are the joints vulnerable to the attack of arthritis.


1. Excruciating pain at the joints
2. Swelling
3. Stiffness
4. Redness of skin
5. Deformity in the joint area
6. Crepitus or a cracking sound while moving affected joint
7. Constipation
8. Colitis

Rumatone Gold Capsule and Oil are ayurvedic remedies for reducing arthritis joint pain and inflammation. These herbal supplements and massage oil are clinically formulated to ease pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. Rumatone Gold is widely used and trusted ayurvedic remedy to get relief from arthritis symptoms.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Facts on What Causes Arthritis

Arthritis is a disorder of joints where it involves inflammation of one or more joints. What causes arthritis can be from having an autoimmune disease, broken bone, infection or a general wear and tear on joints. There are various forms of arthritis. These are:

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Psoriatic arthritis

• Septic arthritis

• Gonococcal arthritis

• Autoimmune diseases

Breakdown of cartilage occurs as the result of arthritis. Cartilage acts as a lubricant to prevent friction or resistant between the bones. Its main function is to protect a joint, allowing the joint to move, absorb shock and able a person to walk and move smoothly. Without it or the normal amount of cartilage in the joints, bones will rub together that can cause tremendous pain, swelling and stiffness.

Identifying what causes arthritis can be divided into biological, mechanical and biochemical causes. Biological causes are factors that involve infections in the body that affects joints or tissue breakdowns. Mechanical causes include physical traumas or accidents that cause misalignments of the joints, ligaments or tendons. Lastly, biochemical causes includes nutrient deficiencies or toxins that can be found around or within the joint.

Here is a detailed list of what causes arthritis.

• High calcium level in the body

• Copper toxicity

• Imbalance or high sodium and potassium ratio

• Excessive tissue breakdown

• High toxic metals in the body such as iron, manganese, copper, or lead

• Thyroid activity

• Calcium and magnesium ratio greater than 10

• Emotional imbalances

• Fatigue

In addition, there are studies that wrong diet is linked to the cause of arthritis. Consumption of acidic foods may also cause damage to cartilages and bones. Diet foods are also linked to the cause of this condition. The lack of vital nutrients for a long period of time can trigger arthritis. Examples of diet foods are canned foods, overly processed foods, too cooked foods, and refined foods. With the lack of vitamins and minerals needed in the body and blood being too acidic, cartilages in the body can dissolve.

Treating all types of joint inflammation starts in figuring out what causes arthritis. People diagnosed with arthritis need to have changes in their lifestyle. It may include exercising regularly in order to reduce the pain. These changes can help patients in improving the strength of their muscles, bones and most importantly, the joints. It is advisable before taking any medication or exercise, consult a medical practitioner or a specialist who can identify the cause of the condition and the appropriate treatment that goes with it. They can also provide an exercise routine that can relieve and eventually heal arthritis.

Arthritis Pain and Stiffness Eased by Cleansing, Nutrition and Self Acceptance!

Conventional medicine treats arthritis symptoms, not underlying causes, but you can do better than that.

Most doctors consider arthritis to be an autoimmune disease that triggers inflammation, stiffness and pain. There are many variations including tendinitis, rheumatoid, fibromyalgia, lupus, osteoarthritis, and gout. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs focus on treating symptoms, but all drugs have negative side-effects. At the bare minimum, since drugs must be processed by your liver, they'll put a strain on this already overworked organ.

What causes arthritis and can it be helped by natural remedies?

Since the resources of our modern health system have focused on treating symptoms with drugs for so long, no one knows for certain what causes arthritis pain and other symptoms for every person.

However, over the years a body of knowledge has built up that can help ease symptoms naturally and address what appear to be underlying causes.

The best natural remedies start with internal cleansing to remove built-up toxins, with the next step being improved nutrition - eating foods known for their healing effects. The third significant factor, and it could very well be the most important, is to take an honest look at the body-mind connection to your stiffness and pain.

What does 'body-mind connection' mean? There is an important connection between your emotional state and the state of your body's health. Some practitioners believe that a lack of acceptance and love for ourselves is the main factor behind all disease and discomforts.

If you have arthritis, or any condition, ask yourself what was going on in your life in the one to two years before you developed symptoms? Are you open and flexible to considering new ideas, or are you closed and judgmental?

Arthritis has a significant body-mind connection - between how rigidly you view yourself, your life and others and how your body manifests these rigid attitudes in pain and stiffness. Notice what happens as you develop a softer, more accepting opinion of yourself and others and cultivate a more positive outlook on life. If you suffer from osteoarthritis you probably have a tendency to feel victimized and blame others for your unhappiness. Osteoarthritis can indicate that you are feeling unloved and criticized. Instead of looking outside yourself for happiness, love and validation, practice being more loving and accepting of yourself.

If you've had arthritis for years, the contributing factor of a build-up of waste (toxins) in your body's tissues can be removed through nutritional cleansing which, over time, may provide a significant easing of stiffness and pain as your body systems normalize.

Once you've removed toxins through cleansing, you can find noticeable improvement if you practice these 10 healthy eating habits:

*Eat more whole, raw, unprocessed foods.

*Switch to fresh, local, organically grown foods to clear impurities.

*Juice fresh celery and carrots with a few sprigs of fresh parsley and drink daily to neutralize wastes circulating in your system.

*Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties, but take the extract with food to avoid potential heartburn. Dose: 1 tsp fresh root or 1 g. powdered root added to food. Or steep two tbsp. freshly shredded ginger for 15 minutes to make a potent tea.

*Curcumin reduces inflammation and enhances the effects of anti-inflammatory medications. It is the active ingredient in Turmeric, which is used to make curry. Use 1 tsp in your food every day.

*Take a balanced blend of Omega 3-6-9 oils every day to help manage arthritis symptoms. Omega-3 fats from fish and fish oil supplements lower inflammation to reduce joint stiffness. Take 1 g. EPA/DHA oil supplement daily. Increase your consumption of fatty fish and omega-3 eggs. Stop taking the oil two weeks before having surgery.

*Supplement with Vitamin D! A recent study found that women whose diets were highest in vitamin D had the lowest incidence of rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D helps balance the immune system. In northern climates between mid-October and the end of March, supplement with 1000 IU daily.

*Colorful berries - blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and two other foods - acai berries and cherries act like aspirin in their anti-inflammatory abilities. Eat as many as you want, unless you have a history of kidney stones, in which case, avoid them.

*Eat more fresh pineapple which contains bromelain, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties.

*Take a good quality probiotic supplement to improve your digestive health.

Note: Consult with your doctor if you take blood thinners like warfarin or Coumadin before using ginger, curcumin and Omega 3-6-9 oils daily.

An arthritis-friendly diet avoids these foods:

*Canned salmon and tuna - acids in these foods react with acids in metal

*White rice, milk, dairy products, red meat, caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco and everything that contains sugar.

*Nightshade vegetables (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, white potatoes). These foods contain a substance called solanine, to which some people, particularly those suffering from arthritis, are highly sensitive. Solanine interferes with enzymes in the muscles and may cause pain and discomfort.

*Iron supplements, or a multivitamin containing iron. Iron is suspected of being involved in pain, swelling and joint destruction. Consume iron in foods instead. Good sources include blackstrap molasses, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, fish, lima beans and peas.

*Acid-forming foods which damage nerve tissues such as:

* Manmade and processed foods

* White wine

* Coffee

* Orange juice

* White flour

* Animal proteins

Other important strategies for easing or eliminating arthritis:

*Get regular moderate exercise, which is essential for reducing pain and retarding joint deterioration. Regular activity that does not put stress on affected joints, but strengthens surrounding bones, muscles and ligaments is valuable for many types of arthritis. Bicycle riding, walking, Tai Chi and water exercises are good choices. Avoid running, weight-bearing or impact exercises.

*Do an activity you love such as swimming, a hobby or interacting with people who are joyful.

*Learn how to do Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to neutralize energy blocks in your body. Work with an experienced practitioner for maximum benefit.

*Choose and use positive affirmations several times a day. E.g. "I am loved. I now choose to love and approve of myself. I see others with love." (From Louise Hay's book "You Can Heal Your Life").

*Honor and value yourself by making your well being a priority every day.

*Simplify your life - get your priorities straight.

*Resolve whatever conflict is stealing your energy and enthusiasm for life.

*Look for and accept the lesson from everything that happens to you - 'good' or 'bad'.

*Forgive others for what they did or should have done.

*Most of all forgive yourself.

Apple Cider Vinegar; It Will Cure What Ails You

So many health products for sale! So much money to be spent! Yet, in your kitchen, you may have just what you need to give you optimum health. Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey. It is important to note that they must both be organic and raw. The modern types that you buy in the grocery store will not work, as all the healing elements have been removed. Did you know that this little combination will take care of a variety of health problems? I will give my disclaimer now. If you are ill or have a chronic condition, don't stop taking your medication abruptly. Take the apple cider vinegar tablets together with your medication and notice how much better you feel. There are various ways to do this. You may mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, together with two teaspoons of honey in a glass of water and drink this three times a day. Some people love it and say that it is quite a refreshing drink. I do not share that opinion, so I opt to take the tablets. Whichever route you decide to take, remember, they must be organic. Do not get the watered down commercial brand.

I first discovered an advertisement about apple cider vinegar and its health benefits, not even a month after I lost my mother. I had cared for her for four years and it had worn me down emotionally and physically. Where once upon a time I came first and she sacrificed for me, life had done a backward flip and now she came first and I sacrificed for her. Therefore, many of my health concerns went unattended. No, I would not advise anyone to sacrifice in this way, but when faced with the position of full time caregiver, this is so very easy to do. You tend to forget about yourself, fully intending to take care of yourself later . . . and later . . . . and later . . . . .By the time mother died, I had asthma, for which I was taking a variety of inhalers, sinus headaches, Osteoarthritis, so bad in my hips that it was extremely difficult to go up two steps. I have always been wary of prescription medicine, so I never asked for the latest miracle pills on the market. After several of them being taken off the shelves, I am most glad that I didn't.

Well, normally I just take a quick look at advertisements and then just toss them. However, this one was different. There was something about it that made sense, it might really work. The benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey. I read through the entire article and it convinced me to try it. I don't remember what exactly they were selling but I knew that I could use their methods for just pennies a day.

Optimum health has to do with your body's alkalinity. This was something new to me. Apple Cider Vinegar gives your body the exact alkalinity it needs. If you have too much, it will reduce it. If you have too little, it will increase it. It is good for a variety of conditions. Started early enough, you will not have to worry about depending on prescription pills. Of course, this is in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. While caring for mother, I noticed that so many prescription medicines cause side effects, necessitating you to take additional medicines to alleviate those side effects. Well, this can turn into a vicious cycle and too often does. I became very aware of this as I cared for my mother through her illness. By the time I realized what was going on, it was too late. I am not even taking into consideration the expense involved.

I have been taking Apple Cider Vinegar tablets for seven months now and I maintain that if I had given these to mother from the minute she came to live with me, right now she would be running a marathon without her oxygen.

This is what Apple Cider Vinegar has done for me. I have no asthma. I take no inhalers. I have no sinus headaches. And the most amazing of all ........ Drum Roll Please! I am not allergic to cats anymore. Yes, apple cider vinegar will take certain allergies away. I will not say all allergies, as I am not positive, but it will take your animal allergies away. Imagine, no more dreadful allergy shots. I now have an indoor cat, Maggie May. Oh yes, the osteoarthritis. Gone. I am limber and can climb stairs. I can get on a bus without having to be helped up and I can sit on the floor and get up again. This is my personal testimony.

Now, let me list all the benefits of apple cider vinegar, whether you take two teaspoons mixed with two teaspoons of honey, in a glass of water, or if you take tablets. Since I have found tables, that is what I do, since it is much less painful than the other alternatives.

Apple Cider Vinegar is good for:

Obesity; Overweight; Arthritis; Asthma; High Blood Pressure; Blood - Provides the elements necessary for perfect clotting. Blood will not clot abnormally and it will also prevent hemorrhaging.

Colitis; Coughs; Diarrhea; Dizziness; Ear Discharge; Eczema; Tired and Sore Eyes; Fatigue; Food Poisoning; Hair Loss; Hayfever; Headaches; Hearing; Heartburn; Hiccups; Insomnia; and, last but not least, Kidneys and Bladder

These are only some of the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar.

Hippocrates treated his patients with Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar has been discovered in Egyptian urns as dating back to 3000 B.C. The Babylonians used Apple Cider Vinegar as a condiment and preservative. Julius Caesar's army took Apple Cider Vinegar to stay healthy. It was used as a healing agent in Biblical times, and in the Middle Ages it was sold as a healing tonic. Christopher Columbus used Apple Cider Vinegar in his voyage to prevent scurvy. Apple Cider Vinegar has a myriad of uses. Not only is Apple Cider Vinegar used for over all health, but it is also used as a cleansing agent to remove germs, bacteria, and odors. It can even be used to remove stains and spots.

In this day and age, it is so important to keep fit. We are in a fast paced world where stress rules the day. Our cities are polluted and our food full of insecticide and preservatives. It is so important that we give our bodies the proper nutrients for optimum health. If we start while young, we minimize the risk of chronic illness. However, if have already burned the candle at both ends and find ourselves a little older, a little fatigued or maybe even have medical problems, combined with proper nutrition and exercise, Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey is Mother Nature's supplement for optimum health.

©Luella May 2006

Identifying the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis can be a big hindrance to daily activities and patients are often faced with many difficulties. Categorized under the autoimmune type among the seven main arthritis conditions, rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder occurring when the body's immune system starts to attack itself because of some external trigger. The most commonly found arthritis condition is osteoarthritis, which affects the joints due to age, trauma or infection. Rheumatoid arthritis is a gradual condition, developing over several months and years. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis begin with little joint aches and pains.

Rheumatoid arthritis, described in a nutshell, is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disorder. The joints inflame and degenerate gradually, causing pain and discomfort throughout. The first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are usually inflammation and pain in fingers and toes. While the condition mostly affects the joints, about 15% of the patients develop extra-articular (external to the joints) rheumatoid arthritis as well.

In general, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are not uniform, rising up and dying down sporadically. This is known as "flare-ups."The symptoms can appear day or night, but the swelling and pain are often at their worst during the morning, just after waking. Since you move around during the day, or at least try to, and the joints grow less stiffened, the symptoms ease out by afternoon and often reduce dramatically by nighttime.

When rheumatoid arthritis begins to spread, it usually affects other joints, including the jaw, shoulders, elbows and hips. The pain and inflammation often affects joint pairs, such as both elbows or both knees. This is a common tendency seeing in patients with the condition. The typical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are joint pain, swelling and stiffness, often accompanied by a warming sensation and redness around the joints.

A set of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, are referred to as secondary symptoms. These are connected to general health conditions as a response to the pain. These could be loss of appetite, anxiety, stress, depression, anemia, nodules under the skin, and a general feeling of being ill. Over 25% of the patients complain of skin nodules, specifically in the forearms and in the elbows. Though painless, they are small lumps that can be felt and sometimes seen as bumps on the skin. Anemia is a condition of inadequate red blood cells to carry oxygen to the whole body, and it leads to fatigue, and laziness. This is found in over 80% of the patients.

There are instances of all symptoms combining to lead to weight loss and fever in patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis. It does not end with just these, it also leads to inability to sleep, constant discomfort due to pain and weakness. This leads to a feeling of illness worse than before. Other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include swelling of blood vessels, glands like the tear and salivary glands, and inflammation of the lining of the heart and lungs.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis point to a series of risk factors like age, gender, genetic history and harmful habits like smoking. Women in the 40-60 age group are at a higher risk. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is rare but not unheard of. This condition is generally not hereditary, but dormant genes can flare up with certain triggers.

Nail Psoriasis

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis (Ps) is a long-term (chronic) scaling disease of the skin, which affects 2%-3% of the UK population. It appears as red, raised scaly patches known as plaques. Any part of the skin surface may be involved but the plaques most commonly appear on the elbows, knees and scalp. It can be itchy but is not usually painful. Nail changes are present in 50% of people and 10%-20% of people will develop psoriatic arthritis.

What happens?

Normally a skin cell matures in 21 - 28 days and during this time it travels to the surface, where it is lost in a constant invisible shedding of dead cells. In patches of psoriasis the turnover of skin cells is much faster, around 4-7 days, and this means that even live cells can reach the surface and accumulate with dead cells. The extent of psoriasis and how it affects an individual varies from person to person. Some may be mildly affected with a tiny patch hidden away on an elbow which does not bother them while others may have large visible areas of skin involved that significantly affect daily life and relationships. This process is the same wherever it occurs on the body. Psoriasis is not contagious.


Psoriasis can affect both finger nails and the toe nails. The percentage of those with psoriasis who have nail involvement is thought to be 50%. In psoriatic arthritis this may rise to 80%. For some unknown reason the finger nails are more often involved than toe nails.

What is nail psoriasis?

The nails are part of the skin so it is perhaps not surprising that a skin disease such as psoriasis can affect the nails. No one knows why some people get nail involvement and others don't.

Nails grow from the nail plate which is just under the cuticle. In people who develop psoriasis of the nails it is involvement of the nail plate that causes pitting and ridging of the nails. Onycholysis, subungual hyperkeratosis and splinter haemorrhages are due to disease of the nail bed.

Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance

A principal source of information on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The nail itself is totally inert, being composed of modified, tightly packed dead skin cells, and therefore any treatment must be directed to the nail plate itself or the nail bed. The severity of nail involvement does not follow the severity of psoriasis elsewhere in the body. Rarely, the nails can be the only site of the body affected. More usually, if the nails are involved there will be areas of psoriasis elsewhere on the body. You can, however, develop severe nail changes with only minimal psoriasis elsewhere on the body.

What changes can occur?

A number of changes can occur in nail psoriasis, and these are the most common:

Pitting of the nails - the surface of the nail develops small pits looking rather like the surface of a thimble. The number of pits is variable from one to dozens.

Onycholysis - this is where the nail becomes detached from the underlying nail bed and a gap develops under the nail. When it starts there is a white or yellowish patch at the tip of the nail, and this then extends down to the cuticle. The gap between the nail and the nail bed can become colonised by particular bacteria, such as pseudomonas which can then produce a black pigment. The nail can become infected and discoloured and can cause considerable alarm when mistaken for melanoma under the nail.

Subungual hyperkeratosis - this is where you develop an accumulation of chalky material under the nail. The nail becomes raised up and can become tender, especially when the surface of the nail is pressed. This can become particularly troublesome on toe nails where the nail may be pressed by shoes, causing considerable discomfort.

Discolouration - This may be seen as unusual nail colouration, such as yellowbrown.

Onychomycosis - is a fungal infection that can cause thickening of the nails. This could be present alongside nail psoriasis, and can be confused in diagnosis. If this is present and diagnosed correctly it can be treated with systemic anti-fungal medication. It is estimated that approximately 35% of people who have nail psoriasis involvement may also have a fungal infection that could cause or worsen their psoriasis. Therefore treating the fungus or the fungal infection may not have any affect on the clearance of nail psoriasis.

Some nail changes that are caused by using systemic retinoid medication which can help the skin but may result in formation of very thin nails which do not appear normal in appearance. These nail changes can take several months to grow out only after retinoids are stopped.

In addition to these changes you may get longitudinal ridging of the nails and reddish marks under the nails called splinter haemorrhages due to tiny burst blood vessels under the nails.

What can be done about it?

Nail psoriasis is perhaps the most difficult part of psoriasis to treat. In the past a large number of treatments have been tried, none of which have given particularly good results. These include:

Injections of steroids under the nail - these are extremely painful and generally do not work.

Removal of the nail - nails can be removed quite painlessly using a high concentration of urea applied under polythene occlusion to the nail. The nail becomes rather jelly-like and can be peeled off. Nails can also be surgically removed or removed by X-ray therapy. In general the nails tend to grow back abnormally.

The use of topical steroids rubbed into the cuticle - the nail plate is under the cuticle and by massaging steroid creams into the nail plate you can induce some improvement in nail psoriasis. This is not consistent however, and there is the risk that the cuticle can become thinned with thread veins over the surface.

Anecdotally a number of dermatologists noticed that psoriasis of the nails improved when patients were using vitamin D analogue preparations for psoriasis of their skin. This led to a more focused study of vitamin D analogue creams and ointments rubbed into the cuticle in the treatment of nail psoriasis. Experience from around the world has shown that this is an effective line of treatment and should be regarded as the first-line treatment of choice. The vitamin D analogue cream or ointment should be massaged into the cuticle for about five minutes twice a day. When onycholoysis is present, calcipotriol scalp solution can be dripped under the nail and massaged in, which is effective.

Remember that nails grow extremely slowly and what you are influencing is not the existing nail but new nail that is developing from the nail plate. It may, therefore take up to a year for finger nails, and two years for toe nails to grow out normally. So you must be patient with any treatment because of the slowness of growth, so any benefits from such treatments you apply may take up to a year or more to be seen.

Is there anything else I can do?

Nails on the hand in psoriasis can be painful and often restricts dexterity of the fingers. If the toe nails are affected attention and care from a chiropodist may be helpful and may be able to pare down the nail to remove the pressure from excess thickening of the nails to remove the pressure from the wearing of shoes thus reducing pain and improving mobility.

It can also be a cosmetic problem. The nails are distorted and this can be embarrassing. Nail varnish can be used to conceal some of the damage. Application of a good nail hardener or artificial nails if the nails are mostly intact can improve their appearance and also aids to protect them. Be careful to avoid sensitivities to glues with chemicals that may be used to apply artificial nails. It is always advisable to tell your manicurist about your psoriasis so that he/she can be extra careful.

Tips on general nail care

The basic strategy for both hands and feet should be to keep the nails short. Try to trim them back to the point of firm attachment and gently file them down with an emery board.

Try to protect your nails from damage because this can worsen the problem. Consider wearing gloves to protect your nails whenever you are doing something that may damage your nails.

Rubbing moisturizers into the nail and cuticle or soaking them in emollient oils may help.

If your nails are pitted but mainly intact, nail hardeners or artificial nails may improve their appearance. It is a sensible precaution to rule out the possibility of any sensitivity to glues and chemicals by first applying a small sample to the skin.

Toe nails can benefit by being soaked for at least 10 minutes in a bowl or bath of warm water which softens the nails before gently filing the thickened part of the toe nails with an emery board, and using good sharp scissors to trim off small pieces of the nails. You should cut straight across the toe nail, which helps it from becoming ingrown.

It helps to always wear comfortable shoes, which gives room for the toes, avoiding any friction to the toe nails causing thickening to occur. It may be of benefit to considerwhen buying shoes to select a size up from your normal size.

Always consult a doctor or your healthcare provider.

This article has been prepared by the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance and should not be used as a replacement for advice from your doctor. You are strongly advised to speak to your doctor or health care provider if you think you are affected by any conditions or items mentioned in this article.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment of rheumatoid arthritis varies but initial treatment is usually aimed at reducing inflammation while minimizing the side effects of such treatment. The presence of other disorders, particularly liver or kidney complaints, also affects the type of treatment. In some cases, treatment may involve surgery.

Increased nutrient intake

People with active rheumatoid arthritis may have a poor dietary intake due to loss of appetite. At the same time, some of the medications that treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, may increase the requirement for certain nutrients and reduce their absorption.

Like osteoarthritis, weight loss is recommended for overweight and obese people to reduce the stress on inflamed joints. Nutritional guidelines, therefore, focus on eating a varied diet that provides essential nutrients while helping control weight.

  • Sufficient intake of vitamin E is important for the health of your joints; vitamin E-rich foods include oils, fish, nuts, and seeds.

  • You should also choose foods that provide an adequate intake of B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Include adequate amounts of antioxidants in your diet.

Maintaining bone density

Rheumatoid arthritis causes bone loss, which can also lead to osteoporosis. Bone loss is more likely with an increasing level of disability, resulting from rheumatoid arthritis and the decreasing level of weight-bearing activity. The use of steroid drugs further accelerates bone loss, particularly in postmenopausal women.

Bone loss can be countered by making sure you consume adequate amounts of calcium (1,000 - 1,500mg per day) and vitamin D (0.01 - 0.02mg per day), either in the diet or by taking supplements.

Exercise and mobility

Pain and stiffness often cause people with rheumatoid arthritis to stop using their inflamed joints. However, such decrease of activity can lead to loss of joint motion and loss of muscle strength, which leads to decreased joint stability and increased fatigue. Exercise can help prevent and reverse these effects, but exercise programs should be designed by a physical therapist and tailored to the severity for your condition, the former activity level, and your body build.

Sardines are good for rheumatoid arthritis

Containing high levels of calcium, iron, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, sardines on toast makes an easy and nutrition snack.

Omega-3 fatty acids and rheumatoid arthritis

Studies have shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis who were treated with fish-oil supplements for between 3 and 4 months had a reduction in the number of affected joints.

It is thought that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish and in some plant oils, might reduce inflammation and help alleviate the troublesome symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by recuing the number of inflammatory "messenger molecules" made by the body's immune system.

High doses of omega-3 fatty acids should be taken under the supervision of a doctor to prevent side effects or interactions with medications that you may be using to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Eating oily fish, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, at least twice a week should be an integral part of your diet if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

Can diet cure arthritis?

Theories abound that eliminating certain foods, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, taking specific supplements, or adding honey, vinegar, or hers to the diet will alleviate arthritis. However, with the exception of gout, which may benefit from a change of diet, there is no scientific evidence that diet can cure joint disorders.

Tests have shown that diets low in saturated fats, or that include certain omega-3 fatty acids, seem to have a mild anti-inflammatory effect, but there is insufficient evidence that these are useful I the treatment of arthritis. (You should note that cod liver oil is not a source of these oils and should not be taken in large quantities).

Neither is there any evidence that fasting and "cleansing" diets, which are sometimes promoted as methods of treating arthritis, have any long-term benefits. On the contrary, these may lead to malnutrition and health problems.

Glucosamine supplements

There is a certain amount of evidence that glucosamine, in a dose of 1,500mg per day, may help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis, and studies are now underway to try to determine whether this supplement helps preserve or regenerate damaged cartilage. Since glucosamine may affect the action of insulin in the body and may cause digestive upsets and allergic reactions, it should be taken only under medical supervision and avoided entirely if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. The usefulness of other supplements, such as S-adenosylmethionine, chondroitin sulfate, copper, and zinc is uncertain.

Tips for arthritis

If you suspect that a certain food is aggravating your arthritis, try keeping a food diary for a month, writing down everything that you eat and drink, and then see your doctor for advice. If you eliminate a food, be sure to find an alternative source for the nutrients that this food supplies. The best advice is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet, choosing foods low in sugar and fat and including a variety of food from the five major food groups every day. Other general dietary tips for people with arthritis include:

  • Avoid crash dieting or fasting.

  • Increase dietary calcium intake.

  • Drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids.

  • Keep within a normal weight range.

  • If you do drink alcohol, make sure you do so in moderation.

Cottage cheese on crispbread Maintaining calcium levels is critical for arthritis sufferers, but it is important to choose low-fat dairy products to help control weight.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to Understand Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis - Chronic Pain and Treatment Strategies

The previous two articles in this series analyzed and discussed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in some detail. The link between chronic pain and RA was analyzed and the progression of the RA chronic pain complex was revealed. Particular attention was paid to small joint pain, usually involving the neck, hands, and feet in the early stages of the disorder, then spreading as the disease takes hold and progresses. The progression of chronic, often acute pain affecting the larger joints, to include the upper, middle, and lower back, hip and knee pain, and even leg pain, usually expressed as sciatica, was discussed. As discussed in "Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis - Dealing With Chronic Pain Associated With RA Part I & II," RA is a chronic and systemic disorder, widespread throughout the body, and without cure. In this article we will discuss the differences between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and an often misdiagnosed, misunderstood "cousin," osteoarthritis (OA). We will discuss diagnostic features distinguishing the two disorders, the symptoms of RA versus OA, and some treatment variations and similarities. The very different outcomes, or prognoses, as well as certain strategies for confronting the two conditions head on will also be explored. Finally, strategies for alleviating, and in some cases eliminating, the chronic pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis will be offered. Chronic pain treatment strategies, to include treatment for neck pain, back pain, hip and knee pain, and sciatica, will be compared and analyzed.

As noted above, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease occurring when the individual's immune system doesn't work properly or malfunctions. Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic, often acute pain, stiffness and swelling, and progresses from small joint involvement, to large joint involvement, and ultimately to multiple organ consequences. Chronic pain associated with RA is usually the result of an inflammation of the synovial membrane, synovitis. The inflammation of the synovial membrane leads to friction, the friction leads to joint degeneration, which leads to more inflammation, which leads to more friction and joint degeneration. As the disease progresses, and begins to affect other organ systems, the result is usually total disability. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis has not been established. Many experts believe that RA may be the result of genetics, environment, and/or a number of other factors to include hormones and the body's reaction or response to stress. Onset of RA typically occurs in women between the ages of 30 and 50 years of age. However, rheumatoid arthritis has been known to strike the very young, men, and certain ethnic groups, to include a disproportionately high number of Native Americans. RA is also seen in higher numbers among smokers. Rheumatoid arthritis is generally not attributed to such things as aging, trauma and injury or obesity. Beginning with small joint pain and stiffness, the disorder culminates in deformity and chronic, often acute, back pain, hip and knee pain, and sciatica.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is generally considered an age-progressive phenomenon. Sometimes called the "wear and tear" disorder, OA may also be attributed to injury, trauma, stress, and/or obesity. Osteoarthritis typically expresses with joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function and did decrease in the range of motion. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis generally affects weight bearing joints, particularly the spine, the pelvis or hips, and the knees. Chronic back pain, particularly of the lower back, and leg pain (sciatica) are quite common. However, OA may also be present in the neck, the hands, particularly the finger joints, and even the big toe. Osteoarthritis generally worsens later in the day or after considerable activity. Alternately, rheumatoid arthritis is generally known for morning stiffness or stiffness occurring as the result of a lack of activity or after periods of prolonged inactivity.

Significantly, while as many as 1.5 million individuals in the United States have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, over 20 million people have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. While diagnosis for osteoarthritis is usually established with the use of x-rays, in some cases CAT scans, rheumatoid arthritis usually takes a more comprehensive battery of diagnostic tests to properly diagnose. RA sufferers may require extensive blood tests, x-rays, CAT scans, and in some cases even an MRI to properly diagnose the disorder. The very different symptoms of the two disorders, one systemic and the other a "wear and tear" disorder, are evident in the laboratory and radiographically (x-rays).

Treatment strategies for RA and OA are often remarkably similar. Although RA requires pharmacological intervention, generally in the form of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARDs, to reduce stiffness and chronic pain, as well to inhibit joint damage, this should not be the only treatment strategy employed. DMARDs often take weeks, even months to build up in the bloodstream and fully take effect, so NSAIDs are often used synergistically, and as a stop-gap until DMARDs are effective. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, may also be treated by NSAIDs. However, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are routinely prescribed for pain associated with osteoarthritis.

In addition to medication, both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are responsive to physical therapy and ice to reduce inflammation and swelling. Individuals suffering from RA or OA typically respond well to exercise. Exercise is particularly effective for RA sufferers in order to offset periods of inactivity and the stiffness associated with a sedentary lifestyle or simply the stiffness related to characteristic morning stiffness. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, responds well to exercise for different reasons. Individuals affected by OA, a typically age-progressive, trauma, and stress related phenomenon, respond quite well to strengthening of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the core muscles responsible for posture and overall strength. As muscles atrophy, deterioration of the bones, particularly the vertebrae and weight-bearing joints, is quite common, leading to "wear and tear" and an exacerbation of the overall condition and subsequent degeneration. The degeneration leads to a constellation of chronic pain symptoms, to include neck pain, back pain, and sciatica.

Ultimately, while etiology or cause of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are quite different, symptoms, such as swelling, inflammation, stiffness, and chronic pain are characteristic of both conditions. Individuals suffering from RA and OA are affected by a progressive disorder, both leading to total disability if not properly treated. Individuals diagnosed with osteoarthritis, because of the very nature of the disorder, have a much better chance of alleviating and even eliminating the long-term effects. RA is, by its very nature, more problematic. That being said, individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may take control of the outcome, their prognosis, by engaging in an aggressive, holistic treatment strategy, one typically designed to treat the symptoms, since etiology is still unclear. In both instances, medication, ice for inflammation, swelling, and to reduce pain, and a medically approved, individualized program of stretching and exercise should be commenced as soon as possible. Chronic pain associated with both conditions should be taken as a warning to do something, rather than to do nothing. To do nothing will exacerbate either condition, leading to further degeneration and the progression of both disorders and their symptoms, to include chronic pain in the form of joint pain, neck pain, back pain, and/or sciatica.