Saturday, November 30, 2013

Did You Know Many Of The Astaxanthin Benefits Can Give Your Health A Boost?

Carotenoids, in case you didn't know occur naturally and their main property is that they are very powerful antioxidants. These are essential for you to maintain your health. The way they go about this is to destroy free radicals which are the source of so many illnesses and health problems. Lately research has been centred on one particular carotenoid called astaxanthin. So, what is so special about this and just how many astaxanthin benefits are there?

Where does it come from? It comes from microscopic small plants, these micro-alga are then eaten by larger marine animals. Because crabs, lobster, fish and crawfish feed on the micro-alga the astaxanthin it gives them their red color.

What are the Astaxanthin Benefits?

In comparison to other carotenoid antioxidants it tops the list when it eliminating free radicals. It is many times more powerful than vitamins C, E and beta-carotene.

Do you suffer from joint pain?

80% of the people taking an astaxanthin supplement showed an improvement in their symptoms. These ranged from osteoarthritis, back pain to rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been proven to be effective with tennis elbow, painful joints and carpal tunnel syndrome.

The benefits for serious athletes are substantial these include:

a). a boost to their stamina

b). after an accident it decreased the amount of time spent in recovery.

c). after exercise their muscles and joints displayed no soreness.

Astaxanthin Benefits for your skin.

Everyone wants healthy skin and in human clinical trials it was proven that astaxanthin helped to overturn the signs of aging. In addition to this enhancement in skin quality it also prevented damage by UV rays.

Many experts are now recommending astaxanthin for wrinkle reduction, age spots and to improve the moisture level of your skin. Some well-known cosmetic companies have now beginning to incorporate astaxanthin in their products.

Reduced inflammation.

If you have an infection your body's responds by using inflammation as the instrument to restore the injured tissue. Another form is chronic inflammation, this is far more serious.

Some of the health conditions associated with chronic inflammation are arthritis, asthma, strokes, ulcers, Alzheimer's and many more. The prescription drugs used to treat these conditions have major and frequently alarming side effects.

When you compare astaxanthin to the standard anti-inflammatory treatments it does not work as fast as a drug. On the other hand it is completely safe and there are no side effects besides being extremely effective for countless users.

Cancer prevention.

There has been a great deal of research on the effect astaxanthin has on various types of cancer cells. Although the studies have been carried out on rats and mice the results are very promising.

It has been proven to be very effective against urinary bladder cancer and colon cancer. The way it works is that it inhibits the start of cancer cells.

It also gives your immune system an enhancement by greatly increasing the number of antibodies and improving your resistance to colds.

There are many more health conditions where this has proved to be of immense value and it really is the type of supplement you should be taking daily. However to consume the recommended daily amount of astaxanthin in your diet will mean eating a lot of fish.

The alternative is to find a multivitamin supplement that includes this. There are many brands on the market, just be sure that the astaxanthin is natural and not the synthetic type. Any supplement that includes natural herbal extracts will work in synergy to give you the maximum astaxanthin benefits

More on the Science of Stem Cells for Osteoarthritis Treatment

Although they originally come from bone marrow, adult (or as they are often called, "mesenchymal") stem cells can be derived from a variety of body tissues. These tissues include fat, the thin lining on the surface of bone called the periosteum, joint lining (synovium), muscle, skin, baby teeth, and cartilage.

Their purpose is simply to act as repairmen to replace and regenerate cells that are lost as a result of injury, normal turnover, and aging. Think of them as the handyman around the house!

There have been attempts at defining exactly what constitutes a true mesenchymal stem cell. Various cell surface markers have been used to describe these cells and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)appear to share certain traits and characteristics in common. Finally, it has been agreed that a true MSC is capable of differentiating into bone, cartilage, as well as fat.

Although MSCs harvested from different tissues look the same, it's not clear if they behave the same or have the same capabilities.

One study, for instance, showed that the MSCs most able to become cartilage were stem cells derived from joint lining (synovial) tissue. Other MSCs that showed a good ability to become cartilage were those from bone marrow and from periosteum.

Another issue is quality of MSCs. How effective will they be under different circumstances? It's clear that stem cells placed in an environment with certain stimulatory growth factors differentiate better. On the flip side, there have been some studies indicating that advanced age may slow stem cell multiplication and division. However, other studies indicate that regardless of age, enough good quality MSCs can be obtained that do have adequate potential to differentiate into cartilage cells. (At our center, we usually use 75 years of age as our cutoff, although a few of our best results have occurred in older individuals.)

The potential application of MSCs to differentiate into cartilage cells and be used to repair cartilage damage in osteoarthritis is a hot topic nowadays.

It is a very complicated process though, and current research has used normal cartilage as the model to emulate. Most stem cell research models of cartilage have a few things in common. First, they use MSCs. Then, a matrix or scaffold is incorporated. This framework serves as a "home" for the MSCs. Finally, the stem cells are exposed to a variety of growth factors used to stimulate differentiation and multiplication.

In many experiments done in laboratory settings, the quality of cartilage derived from MSCs has been disappointing. It appears that the both the quality of stem cell as well as the extracellular environment is critical for the normal development of viable strong cartilage. The exact "key" remains elusive. There appears to be a complex interplay between enzymes and proteins that degrade cartilage such as matrix metalloproteinases and factors that build cartilage such as transforming growth factors, bone morphogenic protein, and parathyroid hormone, to name a few.

One final interesting point is that MSCs have a unique property that is often overlooked. They have immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory functions that have been demonstrated both in the laboratory setting as well as in animal models. This has a lot of potential impact, particularly when considering their use in arthritis treatment.

For a more scientific discussion of the intricacies of MSC biology as it pertains to cartilage regeneration, readers are referred to the excellent works written by Drs. Faye Chen and Rocky Tuan.

Reflexology to Treat Everything From Arthritis to Urinary Tract Infections

Most of us think of feet and want to retch. While there's no arguing that feet are fantastic for getting us from one place to another and that they look great covered up by an expensive pair of Manolo Blahniks, that's about as far as we go. For most of us, feet are just unattractive, smelly things at the end of our legs which sport unpleasant brittle nails, hard callouses and tufts of unnecessary toe hair.

That said, there's a therapy becoming increasingly popular which concentrates almost entirely on the feet - and it's not just for those wacky foot fetishists. Reflexology is advertised as being for anyone who wants to cure a variety of ailments throughout the entire body using a simple massage that focuses primarily on the feet. Whether it works or not, of course, is a different story...

What Exactly Is Reflexology?

Reflexology, formerly known mainly as zone therapy, has been around for literally thousands of years - used by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese in particular. It is a type of bodywork that is predicated by the idea that we have certain so-called "reflex areas" on our feet, hands or even the ears (see below). These areas, or zones, neatly correspond to certain other parts of our body.

The body contains ten different zones. When a reflexologist applies pressure to the feet, this sends calming messages from those nerves to the central nervous system to create a feeling of peace and relieve tension. It is thought that the pathways through the points on the foot etc are connected to other body parts through the central nervous system, which is why it purportedly works.

Therefore, when we press or apply specialized pressure on those zones in the hand or feet, we are transmitting therapeutic action elsewhere. If you have a problem with your pituitary gland, for example, all you need to do is have your big toes massaged - they are the part of the foot which corresponds to that specific gland. Then presto - no more problem!

Modern-day reflexology has evolved to suit our contemporary needs thanks in part to Dr William H Fitzgerald, an ear, nose and throat man, and Dr Edwin Bowers, who introduced "zone therapy" in 1915. They theorized that applying pressure to some body parts could have anesthetic results on other body parts.

Their work was carried on and improved by Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist and nurse who transformed zone therapy into reflexology in the 1930s. She theorized that the most sensitive parts of the body as far as zone therapy were the feet, and contrived reflexology charts mapping out the body in relation to our little footsies (and tootsies).

Ear Reflexology

Believe it or not, some people now practice what is known as ear reflexology, or "auricular therapy". There are points on the ears which are thought to correspond to the heart, according to TCM, or traditional Chinese medicine, and it is thought that rubbing parts of the ear will thus relieve anxiety, and promote tranquility and calm. Rubbing other ear parts will have effects on other parts of the body.

Ears as a window to health have fascinated us for centuries - indeed, millennia. It is reported that in 400 BC people used to burn parts of their ears to relieve back pain, and that auricular acupuncture took off as early as 400 AD. A French doctor called Dr Paul Nogier reportedly worked out the modern-day reflux cartography of ear therapy, which is used today, in the 1950s after treating patients who had suffered ear burns in an attempt to treat other injuries.

The best part is that now you can practice therapeutic ear massage yourself, simply by grasping your ear between your thumb and forefingers and rubbing them gently together. For maximum effect it's recommended that a qualified ear reflexologist shows you the ropes first. Just make sure you've used a Q-tip in the last year or two to avoid embarrassment. Happy rubbing!

Does Reflexology Really Work?

One of the more popular alternative treatments, reflexology has countless proponents who say it has far-reaching and long-lasting health benefits. Reflexologists claim their therapy can help everything from arthritis (because they say it can help stimulate the adrenal glands and reduce dependence on cortisone) to urinary tract infections (by working the bladder and kidney points located on the bottom of your foot).

However, its critics say that it's a load of old hokum, and that the only health benefit is one anybody would get after spending time in a tranquil, quiet room having a (hopefully) pleasant massage. Dr Stephen Barrett MD, for example, has written an article about reflexology in QuackWatch, where he recounts several reflexology sessions her personally undertook to ascertain their effect.

During one session, a reflexologist told him that he could cure his severe shoulder pain, which had already been approved for major surgery, in just a few meetings. "His 'treatment,' which lasted about 10 minutes, consisted of massaging the foot and from time to time, pressing hard on the ball of my foot, a procedure that was quite painful," Dr Barrett wrote. "The 'treatment,' of course, did absolutely nothing to help my shoulder. A few months later, I had the surgery, which cured the problem immediately and permanently."

Reflexology should not be intended as a substitute for conventional medicine, but if it can make you feel better and you actually enjoy the experience it might be worth a whirl. However, you should consult your doctor before trying out any alternative treatment, even one that may appear seemingly innocuous.

If you have a foot fracture, open wound in the foot or active gout in the foot, you should avoid this therapy. Ditto for people with current thrombosis or embolism. If you are in the early stages of pregnancy tell your reflexologist so he or she can adjust the treatment accordingly. Talk to your doctor first if you have vascular conditions of the foot or leg.

It goes without saying that a suspension of disbelief is important if you are undertaking any alternative therapy, and that keeping an open mind is vital. Reflexologists are adamant that they themselves are not healers; instead, they are participants helping the body to heal itself. Don't expect reflexology to cure you of any major health conditions, but it might just help alleviate minor foot pain. Then again, it might just be another (rather costly) pain in the ass...

Arthritis Cure - How to Beat Osteoarthritis Pain Through Your Diet (Part 1)

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint syndrome (DJD), is the most common form of arthritis and by far the most prevalent form of joint inflammation. More than half of adults over age thirty suffer some form of it. In fact, it affects about 16million Americans.

Osteoarthritis results from the breakdown of the cartilage between the bony surfaces that form affected joints. This degeneration leads to bony growths ('spurs') next to affected joint. Cartilage in joints deteriorates from stress, overweight, or injury and typical trouble spots include the fingers, feet, knees and hips.

The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness. These symptoms can be greatly minimized by the eating habits or diets of its sufferers. There are different types of food you can incorporate into your diet to help you fight the scourge. They are categorized as follows:

1. Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Antioxidants help in fighting free radicals in the body. The free radicals roam about the body, attacking and destroying healthy tissue, including the tissue found in the joints.

Vitamins A, C and E, as well as the mineral Selenium, are powerful antioxidants and they are readily available.

Vitamin A, beta carotene and the carotenoids are found mostly in apricots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, mangoes, papaya and dark-green leafy vegetables. It is also found in liver, turkey, and milk.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant in many fruits, such as grapefruit, papaya, kiwi, pineapples, tomatoes and red peppers. Fruits and vegetables should be as fresh as possible. Only cook or microwave them for a short time if you have to, because vitamin C is heat-sensitive and easily destroyed by cooking or processing. Cutting these foods after cooking those (rather than before) helps to maintain the vitamin C content

The primary sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils such as sunflower and safflower; sunflower seeds, nuts, avocadoes, wheat germ, whole grain breads and cereals, peaches, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, dried prunes and peanut butter.

Selenium has been proved to help keep the immune system functioning properly, apart from its antioxidant activity. Good sources of selenium include salmon, tuna, swordfish, sunflower seeds, oysters, shrimp, and cracked wheat bread.

The mineral Boron also possesses some antioxidant properties although it is not considered a true antioxidant. It is important in maintaining overall health and helps to keep some cells from releasing free radicals. Studies have shown that people whose boron intakes are low have more risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Good sources of Boron are apples and cauliflower with their skins.

If you choose to take these antioxidants as food supplements, the recommended daily doses are as follows:

Vitamin A- 5000IU
Vitamin C- 500- 4000mg
Vitamin E- 100-400 IU
Selenium- 55-200mcg
Boron- 3mg for adults

Arthritis and Tendonitis Treatment: How To Lick Achilles Tendonitis

Soft tissue disorders are a common complaint in a rheumatologist's office. The term soft tissue disorder encompasses conditions such as tendinopathy, bursitis, fibromyalgia, muscle disorders, and ligament strain.

This article will focus on Achilles tendonopathy, better known as Achilles tendonitis.

The most common cause of pain in the back of the ankle is Achilles tendon dysfunction.

The Achilles tendon consists of the continuation of two calf muscle, the gastrocnemius and the soleus which unite to form a common tendon that inserts into the back of the calcaneus (heel bone).

The blood supply for this tendon comes from arteries of the calcaneus as well as arteries descending down from the two muscles described above.

The major problem is that the blood supply is not complete leaving what is called an "avascular zone" or "watershed zone" where blood supply to the tendon is absent. This avascular zone extends from about two to six centimeters above the Achilles insertion at the calcaneus.

This avascular zone increases the likelihood of injury in this area.

There are two types of Achilles tendonitis. One is insertional where the Achilles tendon attaches at the calcaneus. The other is non-insertional and occurs in the avascular zone.

Insertional Achilles tendonitis occurs at the site of insertion of the Achilles and is associated with obesity, female gender, and age. Tenderness and swelling is noted and bursitis can also be apparent.

Non-insertional Achilles tendonitis is best called Achilles tendinopathy. Why? Sections of an affected tendon seen under a microscope show degeneration of tendon fibers due to repetitive microtrauma. They reveal very little inflammation. The suffix "itis" means inflammation. The suffix "opathy" implies degeneration.

his picture is often seen in male athletes, particularly runners, who report a sudden change in their workout regimen. There can be a small amount of inflammation seen in what is called the peritenon, the surface of the tendon. However, inflammation is minimal compared with tendon fiber degeneration.

The tendon is tender and swollen on examination.

The diagnosis is suspected clinically but can be confirmed by both magnetic resonance imaging as well as diagnostic ultrasound.

Treatment of both types of Achilles tendon problems starts with trying to reduce inflammation and pain.

Therapeutic options include ice, heel lifts, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and reduction of activity on a temporary basis. Steroid injections should not be given since these increase the likelihood of tendon rupture. Severe cases can be treated with 4-6 weeks immobilization in a walking Achilles boot.

Physical therapy and eccentric tendon stretching exercises can be quite helpful. One new therapy that has some proponents is low energy shock wave therapy.

Controversy surrounds the use of platelet rich plasma (PRP). Several randomized controlled studies have come up with conflicting results. These results may be explained on the basis of study design as well as technique. For example one study compared tenotomy (peppering the tendon with a needle) versus PRP.

It is accepted that tenotomy works so comparing a treatment that works and then saying PRP doesn't work any better than tenotomy alone is "gaming" the study.

In addition, the platelet concentrate should be high quality. Care should be taken to avoid premature platelet activation.

In our hands using ultrasound needle guidance with tenotomy and PRP, Achilles tendinopathy has responded very well.

Surgery is rarely indicated unless the tendon has ruptures.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Common Autoimmune Condition

The Diagnosis

Today I'm writing about a subject, for me at least, is very close to home. Rheumatoid arthritis is a common inflammatory disorder affecting at least 1% of the population. I've learnt about this condition the hard way. My wife started to complain of joint pain after the birth of our son 25 years ago. What began as a vague feeling of being unwell and random joint ache rapidly progressed until one day, my wife Karen, couldn't get out of bed. The doctors performed blood tests, X-rays and clinical assessments and rapidly came to the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Types of Arthritis

So, what is rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and how do we contract it? First off it is necessary to distinguish RA from another common form of arthritis, called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to degeneration of the joints caused by wear and tear and is a disease, in the main, of the elderly. RA causes joint damage but this is not due to normal wear and tear experienced by osteoarthritis sufferers and is not confined to the elderly and can afflict people of all ages.

An Autoimmune Disease

RA belongs to a group of conditions known as autoimmune disorders. For some reason, and the cause of the disease is still somewhat of a mystery, the body's immune system begins to attack healthy joint tissue. What is known is that there is a genetic component to the disease and it is thought that an environmental trigger is required to initiate the disease in genetically predisposed individuals. The onset is usually rapid and without effective medical intervention widespread joint damage may occur. Not everyone is affected to the same degree and the condition may not be restricted to joint damage; other bodily systems can be adversely affected.

There are a variety of treatments for RA, although there is no cure. Often multiple pharmacological approaches are taken to arrest the disease. The aim of the treatment is to prevent the inevitable joint deterioration due to disease progression. Surgery is employed as a last resort to repair the ravages of the diseases.

Doctors often apply the 'rule of thirds' to disease. It can provide a rough and ready guide to treatment and prognosis in some, but not all diseases. If we apply this 'rule' to RA and response to treatment we can rudely state: About a third of the patients respond very well and remain stabilised, a third will experience some benefit and a third will get worse.

One More Op

Karen belongs to the last category. On an average day she will consume 14 separate medications, including opiate based pain killers. Unfortunately the best efforts of modern medicine haven't prevented her from having 24 operations in the past 4 years. As I write my wife is packing for hospital and is about to undergo her 25th operation. This time it is to fuse several cervical vertebrae in her neck in an effort to stop the excruciating neck pain that is preventing her from enjoying life. My wife is stoic and tough; her resilience in the face of this disabling disease inspires me. We are hoping that this may be her last operation, although on past experience we may well be wrong.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Collagen For Arthritis Treatment, Osteoarthritis and Back Pain

Collagen is the most effective arthritis treatment for osteoarthritis, back pain relief and joint pain relief whether from old age or injury. The reason lies in the structural make up of all your connective tissue, which is mostly collagen. Technology has finally found a way to stabilize collagen, in capsular form, so we can ingest it as an arthritis treatment for osteoarthritis and back pain relief instead of having it injected into our bodies. Good news for the 60 million people who suffer with arthritis pain, backache or joint pain.

If you have a vitamin deficiency, the solution is simple, take vitamins. If you are dehydrated and thirsty, drink water. But if you have joint pain, arthritis pain, osteoarthritis, back pain or are looking for an effective and inexpensive arthritis treatment for back pain relief or joint pain relief, the solution again is simple, take collagen to rebuild, heal, stabilize and strengthen your bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, muscles, hair, skin and nails, because all of your connective tissue is 85% collagen.

We make collagen everyday to replace and repair our bodies from the natural aging process, breakdown from injury or repetitive stress and invasive surgeries.

The more we make the stronger we are and the slower we age. But the older we get the less collagen we make, the slower we heal, and we start feeling the aches and joint pain associated with arthritis or osteoarthritis and the faster we age.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a supplement that would supply us with all the collagen we would need to repair and heal our aching backs, arthritis, osteoarthritis and joint pain as if we were 30 years old again?

To delay, stop, or even reverse arthritis, osteoarthritis, back pain or joint pain and to gain more mobility, strength, and experience the aging process more gracefully, add collagen daily to feel and see the difference. Most people report this arthritis treatment has given them noticeable arthritis pain relief and back pain relief within three weeks. For most, the results are life changing with far less arthritis pain or joint pain and more youthful vigor and looks.

75% of protein in the body is collagen. According to the FDA, Collagen is all natural and safe for everyone, including dogs and cats, and has awarded it the highest possible safety status. Without collagen, 40% of our organs, 70% of our joints, 80% of our skin, or a total of 30% of our bodies would simply fall apart. Collagen is the structure and glue that holds us together to makes us feel strong and looking young.

Collagen is a protein comprising only of amino acids, water and minerals and contains no fat, carbohydrates or preservatives. Collagen has no undesired side effects nor does it react with drugs or other food/food ingredients.

In conclusion, Collagen is the most effective arthritis treatment for osteoarthritis, back pain relief and joint pain relief whether from old age or injury. Collagen can now be taken in a capsule for arthritis treatment, osteoarthritis and for back pain relief instead of having it injected into our bodies. Collagen is safe, effective and inexpensive with no side affects or drug and food interactions. To heal faster from surgeries, old age or injuries, collagen will supply the building blocks to delay, stop or even reverse arthritis, osteoarthritis, back pain or joint pain within three weeks for most people. Staying strong, looking younger and living pain free has never been easier.

Debunking the Myths of Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)

OA is the most common cause of disability and about half of patients with other chronic illnesses also have osteoarthritis. There are certain myths patients have about degenerative joint disease that continue to persist but simply are not true. Here are the top 5 and the actual truths:

1) Osteoarthritis is simply part and parcel of getting old

a. It is not inevitable. It's a complicated process and one that has to do with the way receptors in cartilage cells react to physical forces.

2) Medical imaging tells the whole osteoarthritis story

a. In fact, we cannot tell how much pain or trouble functioning a patient will have based on the x-ray degeneration. The two do not correlate. Meniscal tears on MRI's in older patients are seen over 80% of the time, but they are not usually a cause of pain.

3) Nothing can be done for osteoarthritis.

a. We cannot rebuild cartilage yet. That may be something stem cells help us with in the future. However, treatments such as physical therapy, medications, injections, bracing, can help dramatically relieve pain non-operatively.

4) Patients think when they are using a joint they are causing damage.

a. No evidence actually backs this up. Evidence actually supports the long term benefits of exercise. When a patient receives an injection into an arthritic joint, it can allow exercise and increased musculoskeletal and cardiac health. The pain relief allows for these benefits, and further joint damage is not always promoted.

5) Patients think they will all need surgery from osteoarthritis.

a. About 40% of senior citizens have osteoarthritis of the knees or hips. Only about 5% of those will ever undergo a joint replacement.

Five Natural Supplements to Aid Arthritis Sufferers

Arthritis is a common problem that will affect the majority of the population at some point in their elderly years. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to treat arthritis. There are a variety of drugs available, both available by prescription and over the counter. However, these drugs are often very expensive, regardless of whether or not you have insurance. Therefore, you may want to consider a natural arthritis cure.

There are numerous proven arthritis cures available in stores or online. Here are some of the most common natural arthritis cures:

Glucosamine - Glucosamine is one of the most popular natural arthritis cures that people use to alleviate joint pain. Glucosamine actually reduces joint inflammation and simultaneously lubricates the joints to ease the pain in your joints. Remember to get glucosamine sulfate not glucosamine hydrochloride.

Chondroitin - Like glucosamine, chondroitin is another popular supplement to reduce joint inflammation. In fact, many people pair chondroitin with glucosamine to alleviate inflammation faster. Chondroitin works similar to glucosamine in that chondroitin actually reduces joint inflammation.

SAM-e -SAM-E is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine, a naturally occurring chemical in our body. SAM-e is one of the best natural arthritis cures, especially for joint pain. SAM-e also works directly with a few of the B-vitamins to strengthen the joints, so make sure you are consuming your daily recommended value of B-vitamins.

Ginger - Ginger has many uses and new studies show that it can alleviate joint stiffness and swelling. While it is not that effective in reducing joint inflammation, you can supplement ginger with another one of the natural arthritis cures mentioned above to alleviate pain, stiffness, and swelling much faster.

Black Cohosh - Black cohosh is a plant that is native to a variety of regions around the world. Native Americans have used the root of this plant to treat arthritis for hundreds of years. Simply boil a small amount of black cohosh root in boiling water for about 20 minutes and drink the tea twice per day. Black Cohosh contains powerful aspirin-like substances that can naturally reduce your joint pain as well and possesses anti-inflammatory properties as well.

These are just five of the many natural arthritis cures that you can use to treat your joint pain. Remember, it is always a good idea to get some exercise each day and to follow a well-balanced diet. Doing so will keep the rest of your body healthy and will improve your joint health in the process. Also, before trying any of these remedies, make sure to speak to your doctor or primary care physician to let them know what you are considering taking to be aware of any possible interactions.

Discovering an Alternative Osteoarthritis Treatment That Will Work

Osteoarthritis treatment can be as complex as the condition itself. Frequently, the response of doctors is prescribe NSAID drugs to address the pain of osteoarthritis; however, it is quite important to note that this damage that osteoarthritis can do to joints can be so great that joint replacement surgery can become necessary. Addressing the pain and potential consequences of osteoarthritis are of paramount importance.

First it is necessary to highlight the fact that losing weight and eating a healthy diet can play an important role in addressing osteoarthritis in general. Losing weight means less stress on the joints, and that can translate into improving your osteoarthritis symptoms and associated pain.

We know that bad food choices can impact health, and this counts for osteoarthritis as well. Foods that cause inflammation, such as processed foods, fast foods and foods from the "nightshade" category of plants should be off limits. These include tomatoes and eggplants among others. In general, a diet rich in most fruits and vegetables will help improve health, add to weight loss and may decrease osteoarthritis inflammation as well.

Discovering alternative approaches for osteoarthritis treatment is one part experimentation and one part giving alternative approaches the necessary time to take effect. Anti-inflammatory drugs work well and they work quickly, but the long term effects of using such drugs should give one pause. Alternative and natural approaches might take longer, but there is far less concern attached with using these approaches.

The spice ginger has long been valued for its ability to reduce inflammation. Spices were amongst the most valued of possessions in the ancient world and for good reason. Spices and herbs were the medicine of the ancient world, and their health benefits were firmly established in the minds of our ancestors. Today, medical research has varied that many spices do indeed have powerful health benefits.

Ginger can be consumed in a surprising number of ways. Ginger tea is, of course, very common and stands as one of the single most consumed beverages in the world. Ginger root can easily be incorporated into a diverse number of meals, and it can also be used to make fresh tea.

In addition to teas and use in meals, ginger is well suited to pill form and is sold as a means of helping with inflammation. Quite often ginger is paired or suggested to be paired with the other great natural anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric. Together these two spices can achieve impressive results.

It should also be noted that ginger and turmeric are two of the most widely used spices and both are considered quite safe. Give these natural options time to work, and you will likely find that they do help provide at least some relief and assistance with your osteoarthritis treatment.

Natural Arthritis Pain Relief - By Doing Simple Arthritis Exercises

Treating arthritis is not easy.

Apart from the regular medication, proper diet, rest and
relaxation, doctors also recommend arthritis exercises.
These are specially designed exercises for people with
different types of arthritis. Exercising is a must do for
all people suffering of arthritis because it will help them
increase the flexibility of the joints, increase bone
vigor, muscle strength and energy levels, so they will have
a better control of their weight and a strong heart. But
most of all, exercising will help keep joints completely
movable and will fortify the adjacent muscles. This way,
arthritis sufferers will experience less pain when
performing the everyday activities. So it is fair to say
that arthritis exercises are strongly recommended for
arthritis patients by all the doctors in the world.

But depending on the type of arthritis one person might
have, the doctor will recommend a certain type of
exercises. People should not choose the exercises program
on their own; instead, always ask your doctor what
exercises are recommended for their type of arthritis.
Depending on the severity of the condition and which joints
are affected, the doctor will propose a certain type of
exercising program.

There are three types of exercises: range of motion,
strengthening and endurance. Range of motion exercises, for
example dancing, are the ones that move the joints in all
directions, as far as possible. These are the easiest type
of exercises recommended for all types of arthritis because
they will keep the joints mobile and will prevent
stiffness. Doctors advise their patients to perform a range
of motion exercises every day, or at least every other day.
The number and intensity of exercises can be gradually
increased as the patient gets in shape.

Strengthening exercises include isometric and isotonic
movements. Isometric exercises are the ones that work the
muscles without moving the joints, while isotonic exercises
work both the muscles and the joints. Both types of
movements help with building strong muscles around the
joints that are causing problems. Stronger muscles will
better support the joints, meaning pain will be reduced and
the patient will move more easily. Unless the patient has
swelled joints or severe pains, the doctor suggests doing
strengthening exercises every other day.

Endurance exercises are the ones that improve the
cardiovascular condition by increasing the heart rate for
at least 20-30 minutes. Not all arthritis patients can
perform endurance exercises. Depending on the patient's age
and physical condition, the doctor will recommend or not
endurance exercises and also the type of exercises.
Walking, bicycling or swimming are the best choices because
their joints are not that stressed by these type of
activities. For example, making exercises in warm water
will help in two ways: the warm water will aid by
decreasing the pain and relaxing the muscles, and at the
same time the water will be supporting the body, this way
placing less stress on the joints. Endurance exercises
should be performed three times a week for about 20-30

There are also other types of simple exercises that can be
done by all arthritis patients. The every day activities
can be easily transformed into arthritis exercises. In the
morning when you get up and get dressed, try to amplify
your movements, this way the morning stiffness of your
joints will rapidly disappear. Also, take every chance to
do some household activities like: wash the car or do the
dishes because these movements will help decrease the pain
from your joints. When you watch television, during the
commercial breaks get up of your chair and do something;
even small movements burn calories and help you reduce your
weight. You can also park your car a little further away
from office or home as walking will do you good.

Before beginning an arthritis exercises program, always
consult an experienced doctor or a physical therapist. They
are the ones that can advise what exercises are recommended
for specific types of arthritis. They can suggest a
particular type of exercises for inflamed and swollen
joints or certain exercises for particular joints. The
exercising program should be started with easy exercises,
but the difficulty of the movements should be gradually
increased. The patient should also be careful to thoroughly
warm up before starting the exercises and cool down after
finishing the program.

Although exercising is good for arthritis patients,
occasionally some people can get into some uncomfortable
conditions: augmented weakness, constant fatigue, joint
swelling or pain that lasts more than one hour after
exercises are finished. This means that exercises are too
strenuous and the patient should talk to his doctor and
make the necessary changes in his exercises program. After
finding the ideal arthritis exercises program, the only
thing that patients have to do is to strictly follow it and
the improvements will soon appear.

Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Degeneration

In simple words degeneration occurs when cartilage, which serves as the working surface of joint, is replaced by the bone. Synovitis is the inflammation inside the joint capsule in which joint is located. Synovial membrane produces synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant for the joint. In OA this membrane gets inflamed and quantity of the fluid produced decreases

Aetiology (causes) of OA: External causes - Trauma and micro-traumas of the joint, functional overloading, hypermobility of joints (extra flexible joints).

Pathogenesis (resultant effects): Artificial ageing of cartilage takes place as a result of traumas and overloading. Metabolism in the cartilage is disturbed. Cartilage loses elasticity and becomes rough, and it starts cracking. As cartilage does not absorb (cushion) the load, the load is born by the bone under the cartilage thereby as a result the bone gets compressed. Lose fragments of cartilage inside the joint irritate the synovial membrane, which leads to its frequent inflammation.


1. Pain of joints occurs under the load, which gets severe towards the evening and decreases by the night.

2. During initial stages the pain is felt during first steps, which then disappears.

3. Frequent jamming of the joint accompanied by an acute pain and is caused when dead piece of cartilage comes between articular surfaces. The pain subsequently disappears by a particular movement, which removes it from the articular surfaces.

4. Cracks in the joints.

5. Relatively small restricted mobility in the joint.

After all these agonies, one can say that joints are the most favored places for OA

Treatment: Generally speaking, there is not much one can do to get relief from OA as cartilage degeneration can not be reversed. Anti-inflammatory drugs can get you temporary relief. Physiotherapy is also a good option. One can also try Su-jok therapy and in some people it has shown very good results. Besides all the preventive measures, physical exercises and medications, one must remember that it is very important to get your cartilage metabolism on track and for this there has to be something which can help you. Glucosamine has proved to be a good supplement for not only getting the relief from severe pains related to osteoarthritis and cartilage degeneration, and even helps you get back to a normal life. Liquid glucosamine is much more effective than in the form of capsules.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Overweight With Arthritis

As we get older many of us including myself suffer from some joint pain from time to time. Many times it could be overworked joints but sometimes it's a more serious condition like rheumatoid arthritis. Being overweight or even obese can really put extra stress on those joints and affect your quality of life. Everyday normal routines can become very painful and unbearable.

Recent studies conducted in Oslo, Norway show that being overweight can affect Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in some other ways as well. Patients with RA and who are obese are more likely to suffer greater pain, increased fatigue, decreased physical function and an overall worsened quality of life score. The

researchers tested over one thousand patients who had RA. They grouped them according to their body mass index levels and came up with three groups, normal weight,overweight and obesity. Over one hundred people fell into the obesity category while three hundred sixteen were in the overweight and the remaining were either normal or underweight. All the obese patients reported having higher levels of pain and feeling more fatigued and worse physical function than all those in the normal group.

Being overweight reduces the chance of RA going into remission. Remission helps reduce the long term affects of Ra because symptoms like inflammation go away. The researchers found after a 12 month study and treatments that 58 percent of the normal weight patients who were on a placebo went into remission while only 35 percent of overweight and 25 percent of obese patients were in remission.

Because fat tissue produces pro-inflammatory molecules, it puts overweight patients at an increased risk of inflammatory complications. The head doctor in the study used Remicade plus a combination of therapy. It was found that being overweight didn't seem to affect those taking Remicade plus therapy. She believes Remicade may act on the inflammatory molecules allowing obese people to be able to go into remission.

There's obviously more to be done to reach conclusive results, but one thing is for sure, being overweight can have many negative affects on our health and quality of life! The one thing we all can do for ourselves which will have a positive effect is to eat right and exercise and maybe we can end the need for such studies and research.

Gouty Arthritis Symptoms - A Simple Home Remedy to Eliminate Gouty Symptoms

Gout is often called gouty arthritis because of its tie-up with arthritis. The condition we call gout is actually just one of a hundred or so types of arthritis. It is often looked upon as the most painful of all arthritis conditions and accounts for some 5% of all cases of arthritis.

Gouty arthritis symptoms are typically the following; stiffness, heat, swelling, redness, inflammation and, of course, absolutely agonizing pain. These symptoms can appear in any joint but the vast majority of all gouty arthritis appears in the big toe.

Gouty arthritis symptoms are caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints and associated tissue. These are needle-like in nature and so trigger the inflammatory symptoms of a gout attack. Crystals usually form as a result of relatively high uric acid levels in the sufferer's blood.

Uric acid is produced in your body as a byproduct of your body's normal metabolizing process. High uric acid can occur when your kidneys aren't able to process excess uric acid in the blood efficiently enough. It can also occur when your body produces too much uric acid for your kidneys to deal with.

Although doctors nearly always prescribe drug-based medication for gouty arthritis, these can have some horrible side effects. Luckily, there are many natural gout remedies that can help you beat gout. In fact, because drugs don't necessarily address the underlying causes of gout, it could be argued that natural remedies are more effective.

One of the most popular and effective home remedies for gouty arthritis is the use of cherries. These have natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make them ideal for reducing inflammation and pain. But they can also reduce uric acid levels, which makes them even more effective in eliminating gout symptoms.

Eat 30 to 40 cherries, every 4 hours, during an attack. Repeat until your symptoms have abated. To try to maintain lower uric acid, continue eating 30 or 40 cherries each day. Alternatively, you can drink natural cherry juice (normal or concentrated) you get from the health food store.

Now, although this home remedy for gouty arthritis symptoms can be very effective, there's a whole lot more you need to do to prevent these attacks in the first place. Did you know that frequent attacks of gout can produce permanent joint damage and kidney problems? And, if you've had just one attack, your risk of more is now much higher.

A Book Review: Overcoming Arthritis - Holistic Treatments for Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and CFS

As with other books I have reviewed (Iodine and Overcoming Thyroid Disorders), Brownstein provides his readers with valuable information regarding the nature of a number of related conditions including arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and others. He explains the various symptoms and underlying causes. Based on the particular underlying causes, he uses a combination of therapies including natural hormones, vitamins and minerals, allergy elimination, detoxification, diet and water.

One unique aspect of his approach to treating arthritis is that he has observed a connection between arthritis and infection. So in addition to a number of natural therapies, he may combine with them a low dose of antibiotics. He listed a number of diseases that he suspects of having an infectious etiology (cause): Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, Vasculitis, Reither's Syndrome, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Graves Disease, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Polymyositis, Juvenile Arthritis, Sjogren's Syndrome, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. In addition, he lists 14 different infectious causes of arthritis.

From the Greek, arthritis means inflammation of the joints. Also a chronic disorder, fibromyalgia is a condition of poor sleep, muscle pain, stiffness and tender trigger points on the body. Those with fibromyalgia often have the diagnosis of other disorders including arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms include: impairment of short-term memory or concentration, sore throat, tender cervical or axillary nodes, muscle pain, multi joint pain without redness or swelling, headaches of a new pattern or severity, unrefreshing sleep, and postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.

Brownstein tests his patients' hormonal levels (thyroid, adrenal, ovarian and testicular), for infection, nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal toxicity and allergies. Dr. Brownstein devotes two chapters on Natural Hormones and refers the reader to his own book, The Miracles of Natural Hormones.

In his chapter on diet, he talks of the macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates and proteins) and points out how Americans have become obese from the pyramid recommendation of low fat and high carbohydrate diet. (Now replaced with While he does not agree with Dr. Barry Sears in every point, he recommends much of what he says in Enter the Zone. Brownstein also recommends Sally Fallon's treatment of dietary fats in her book, Nourishing Traditions.

Dr. Brownstein refers to a study that lists the food allergies that can cause arthritic symptoms (listed from most frequent to less frequent): Corn, Wheat, Pork, Oranges, Milk, Oats, Rye, Egg, Beef and Coffee. Environmental allergies include animals, pollens from trees, grass, weeds etc., chemicals and others. He uses NAET (Nambudripod's Allergy Elimination Technique) to diagnosis and treat allergies. It is a combination of applied kinesiology and acupuncture. I believe that allergies may result from consuming these foods or from ingredients used in the growth/production of these foods. There may be multiple reasons why this happens.

Further, Dr. Brownstein outlines general guidelines for nutritional supplements and ways to detox heavy metals. Truly, Brownstein's approach to arthritis and related conditions is holistic, in that it is comprehensive.

In addition to his own extensive medical practice and the data he has gathered over the years, he references other esteemed medical colleagues. In his chapter on Water, he recommends and quotes: F. Batmanghelidj, M.D author of Your Body's Many Cries for Water and ABC of Asthma, Allergies and Lupus. Further, he references Jonathan V. Wright M.D. who wrote the Foreword of this book and is author of numerous books. Throughout the book, Brownstein gives ample case studies to illustrate his approach. He also quotes Thomas Edison who said, "The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest the patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."

Books mentioned in the review can be purchased on

Arthritis, Joint Injury, and Horse Supplements

If you have a horse suffering from arthritis or joint injury, there is no doubt you have tried just about everything to correct this serious situation. Your horse's overall health is important. Sometimes, though, surgery, exercise, and changes in diet are not enough to truly make a difference. For these problems, you may want to include horse supplements in the every day regimen of your horses.

How Horse Supplements Work

There are many different types of horse supplements on the market today. Those made specifically for joint care, however, are unique. They may serve a few different purposes:

  • They may slow the amount of cartilage that is lost

  • Help a horse's body develop new cartilage where the old has been lost

  • Reduce the amount of damage caused by joint fluid by slowing the destruction down

Supplements have been found to be very effective for treating certain kinds of joint disease, like arthritis. They have also been shown to be very helpful when it comes to treating pain and inflammation associated with joint injuries and joint surgery.

What is Horse Arthritis and How is it Diagnosed?

Horse arthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage around the joints changes and breaks down. This leaves the joints unprotected as the horse moves, cause many different symptoms, such as:

  • Pain

  • Inflammation

  • Swollen joints

  • Loss of range of motion

  • Trouble with movement around the joint

  • Stiffness

  • Attitude changes

Most of the time, horse arthritis is diagnosed through x-rays, ultrasounds, medical history, and observation of how well a horse is walking. Veterinarians may determine whether the horse's gait is wrong or not. They may also take an analysis of the joint fluid to see whether it is playing a role in the deterioration of the cartilage around the joint.

Remedies for Horse Arthritis and Other Joint Problems

There are several ways to treat horse arthritis and other joint problems.

  • Oral and topical anti-inflammatory medications. These types of medicines will help to reduce the inflammation around the horse's joints. They can also reduce some of the pain your horse experiences.

  • Medicines may also be injected directly into the joint to help with pain and swelling.

  • Ice packs can be used to lessen the amount of inflammation a horse has around the joints.

  • In the most severe cases, where the joint is torn and decomposed beyond repair, surgery may be needed. During the surgery, the joints will be fused together.

  • Horse supplements are a natural remedy for joint problems. They can work well for arthritis, joint damage due to exercise or strain, joint deterioration, or joints that are injured before, during, or after a surgery.

If your horse is suffering from arthritis or any other type of joint problem, consider using horse supplements to help with the many symptoms associated with these joint diseases. Your horse may experience a longer, happier, and healthier life because of the use of these supplements.

Birth Control Methods and Their Effects on Women With Chronic Health Conditions

The most important thing for you, if you have a chronic condition, is to have an understanding of birth control methods and how they can affect your health. Some of these methods can present specific concerns for certain rheumatic conditions. If you have antiphospholipid syndrome or antiphospholipid antibodies in your blood, lupus or RA, here is what is known about the concerns and the appropriate birth control methods.

Antiphospholipid antibodies and antiphospholipid syndrome: APL or antiphospholipid antibodies are proteins that affect the balance in the blood between clotting and bleeding and are a risk factor for blood clots. APS or antiphospholipid syndrome, is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by antiphospholipid antibodies, blood clotting, and miscarriages and the syndrome can happen alone or with lupus, even though you have the antibodies you may not have lupus.

If you have antiphospholipid antibodies you are more likely to develop blood clots if you have another risk factor for blood clotting such as a severe illness, surgery, prolonged bed rest, malignancy, or pregnancy or it can be a lifestyle risk factor such as smoking or using combination contraceptives. That's why this second risk factor can be one of the variants in the blood that makes clotting possible. When you have lupus and antiphospholipid antibodies you are more likely to have other medical risk factors for a stroke or heart attack, like migraines, atherosclerosis or clogged arteries, or elevated cholesterol levels.

Contraceptives with estrogen are know to increase the risk of blood clots and when you have moderate to high antiphospholipid antibodies you should stay away from combination hormonal contraceptives. If you have low or borderline levels of the antiphospholipid antibodies, it may depend on whether you have had other risk factors for blood clots, to determine if you should stay clear from the combination hormonal contraceptives. Progesterone-only contraception is a good alternative for you if you have antiphospholipid antibodies and are unable to safely take estrogen. This method is also an effective way to decrease the heavy menstrual flow if you are on blood-thinning medications like warfarin, also known as Coumadin, which is often used to treat APS, Antiphospholipid syndrome.

Systemic lupus erythematosus: It was thought for many years that estrogen increased disease activity in lupus. This assumption was based on the findings in laboratory animals, and the fact that lupus is found mostly in women, 4 out of 5 people with lupus are women, and the reports of birth control pills and pregnancy where women said their lupus got worse. There are early reports that suggested there was an increase risk of lupus flares with the use of contraceptives containing estrogen. But, there are more recent studies that were better-designed, using large numbers of participants and standardized methods of measuring flares that found that estrogen-containing contraceptives are safe in some women with lupus.

And there were two randomized clinical trials published at the end of 2005 that found combination birth control pills don't significantly increase the risk of flares in women with inactive or stable, moderate lupus. The Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment, or SELENA, trial included 183 women with inactive or stable, moderate lupus and compared the effects of a standard combination birth control pill with the effects of an inactive placebo pill. Women who had active lupus, a history of blood clots, or antiphospholipid antibodies couldn't take participant in the study and the number and severity of the lupus flares showed no difference in the two groups. There was another study of 162 women with stable mild-to-moderate lupus that also found no adverse effects on flare rates whether the women used a combination pill, a progesterone-only pill or a copper IUD.

Based on these studies, it would appear that combination pills are safe for you if you have inactive or stable, moderate lupus and don't have antiphospholipid antibodies. Remember, though, that you may not even be able to tell how active your lupus is and often lupus activity can only be detected through blood test or other tests. So if you have lupus and you want to use a combination pill, your rheumatologist must be involved in the decision making. Since about 1/3 of the women with lupus have antiphospholipid antibodies, you have lupus you should be screened for the antibodies before starting a combination birth control pill.

It seems that it would be smart for you if you have lupus to avoid the contraceptive patch, Ortho Evra, given the recent FDA warning that it increases the risk of blood clots above that of combination pills. There's also the birth control pills that contain drospirenone, Yasmin, Yaz, that are more likely to elevate blood levels of potassium, an important consideration for you if you have lupus-related kidney problems. The safety of IUDs, if you are taking immunosuppressive drugs to treat your lupus, is not certain, because the drugs and the IUDs can raise the risk of infection. If you have active lupus, barrier methods or progesterone-only contraceptives are your options. Depo-Provera injections may be a problem if you are taking corticosteroids, because both the Depo-Provera and the corticosteroids increase the risk of bone loss.

Rheumatoid arthritis: There are some who believe that if you have RA you might actually benefit from treatment with estrogen-containing birth control pills because your symptoms improve during pregnancy. But, there's little research into using the pill to treat RA and research does suggest that women with RA have normal estrogen levels but lower than normal androgen levels, so hormonal therapy attempts have focused on supplementing androgens (androgens are primarily male sex hormones, but women have small amounts of them), with mixed results and no clear benefit. Postmenopausal estrogen therapy has also been studied in women with RA but showed no effect on the activity of the RA, and although there are no grounds for saying that combination hormonal contraceptives reduce the activity in Ra, there's no evidence that suggest their use would make a flare more likely to happen. Combination pills or the patch, may be effective and convenient for you if you have RA, but there is a concern that the risk of blood clots from the patch is higher than the risk from the pill. Inserting a vaginal ring or a diaphragm may be difficult if you have severe RA and like with lupus, it's not sure how safe IUDs are if you are taking immunosuppressive drugs such as ethotrexate, corticosteroids, or cyclosporine to treat their RA. There are no studies that have addressed this question specifically with newer RA medicines such as the biologics, among them Enbrel, Remicade and Humira.

There are other concerns as well and they are the hormone containing contraceptives can interact with other medicines, and this can reduce your medicine's effectiveness or increase its side effects. Some of these medicines are used to treat arthritis and related conditions. Some anticonvulsants like anti-seizure medications that are used to treat seizures, headaches, or chronic pain disorders may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. There are also, corticosteroids, warfin, and cyclosporine that can interact with the contraceptives even though the interactions are weak. Other medications that are used to treat other health conditions, some antibiotics, may also interact with hormone containing contraceptives and if you are using one of these contraceptives you should always remind your doctor of that fact when your doctor prescribes you new medications.

When you have rheumatic conditions and you have to stay in bed for a while, maybe because of a flare-up of the condition, or after surgery you should stop using combination birth control pills, the patch and the vaginal ring. Also, and especially if you have antiphospholipid antibodies, your doctor should give you low doses of a blood-thinning medicine. If you are planning elective surgery, you should talk to your doctor about stopping you combination hormonal contraceptive two months in advance, because estrogen's effects on blood clotting takes up to six weeks to reverse.

There are so many different types of birth control available to you today that if you have a rheumatic condition you can choose a safe and effective method. There are also many factors that have to be taken into consideration and it's essential that you, your gynecologist, and your rheumatologist work together to decide which of these methods is best for you.

Dogs Suffer the Same as People From Arthritis Pain

The incidence of arthritis does not just concern humans but dogs as well. Dogs may suffer from a range of types such as immune-mediated arthritis, infective arthritis, idiopathic arthritis, and osteoarthritis. The last one is the more prevalent type of arthritis that affects dogs.

How to detect arthritis in dogs

Since dogs do not possess the kind of communication that humans, actions speak louder than words. All they can do is manifest their feelings, especially pain, through changes in their behavior.

Arthritis pain in dogs is indicated by lameness and decreased energy and activity in dogs. Lameness may be caused by swollen or inflamed joints which hinder dogs from performing as they used to. You will observe that your dog will be less inclined and more reluctant to go for walks, fetch things, and even respond to your calls. If your pet has a hard time getting up, or gets up slowly, they may be fighting pain. Osteoarthritis lessens their fervor and minimizes movement and activity.

What causes arthritis in dogs?

The causes of arthritis in dogs are very much the same as those that bring about human arthritis. Osteoarthritis in dogs is frequently caused by the everyday wear and tear of the joints dues to strenuous activities. Traumatic injuries such as the tearing of a ligament or tendon cause osteoarthritis as well and may result to further joint instability. Apart from these, weight problems have also been found to contribute in the incidence of arthritis in dogs because excess pounds apply more pressure to the cartilages that absorb the weight in the joints.

Genetics also play a role in the occurrence of arthritis in dogs. As in the case of hip dysplasia, joints in the hips are weak and unstable due to a genetic problem. In addition, proper bone development in young dogs causes the gradual progress of arthritis.

What can be done?

As in every case of arthritis, diagnosis is important. A dog that is suspected to be suffering from osteoarthritis must be observed by a veterinarian immediately so as to determine an effective treatment for the arthritis.

Most people treat arthritis pain in dogs as they would treat arthritis in humans. It is because treatment for both cases is usually similar. However, they differ in some ways. First of all, aspirins will not work on dogs primarily because they have a different digestive mechanism. At best, their bodies will be neutral to the effects of aspirin and at worse, they can react negatively and incur mild to serious health problems ranging from mild gastrointestinal problems to diarrhea to gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcer, and perforations. NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also sometimes used to bring pain relief and rehabilitate damaged joints that cause arthritis in dogs. However, these should be properly monitored by a trusted and credible veterinarian because side effects may be similar to those of painkillers.

In severe cases of osteoarthritis, especially those that result from a misshapen joint or a severely damaged joint, surgery is often conducted to correct the condition.

Are there alternative treatments?

One treatment becoming more and more recommended by Veterinarians is glucosamine chondroitin. Products like liquid formula Synflex for Pets are becoming very popular and quite successful in alleviating the symptoms and pain associated with joint problems in pets. Synflex for Pets, in its liquid form, makes administering and dosing very simple. The daily cost compared to prescribed drugs is much less in cost and the Syn-flex formula goes directly to the problem, aiding in cartilage repair to alleviate the pain. If your dog or any other pet is suffering the signs of arthritis, Syn-flex for Pets is a good choice. You can learn more of this break through product here at

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More Complete Arthritis Supplement

People accept arthritic disease as a 'natural part of the aging process', but sometimes the pain from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and over 100 other forms of arthritis so intolerable, prompting people to look for effective treatment.

Prescription drugs such as VIOXX, Bextra and Celebrex (arthritic painkillers) - and many other COX-2 inhibitors widely used for arthritic treatment - have been investigated following studies into their negative cardiovascular side effects. VIOXX alone has been linked to around 140,000 cases of coronary heart disease in the US since 1999.

More and more people look for alternative solutions for arthritis pain and more and more people are buying the combination of Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate and MSN, as studies have shown that Glucosamine and Chondroitin help in the repair and maintenance of cartilage.

Both inflammation and oxidative stress function are primary degenerative mechanisms in the development and progression of osteoarthritis. While researchers believe that glucosamine inhibits inflammation and stimulates cartilage cell growth and chondroitin provides cartilage with strength and resilience, specific amino acids is also need for overall impact.

Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein. Vitamins and minerals will not perform their specific functions effectively if the necessary amino acids are not present.

Three amino acids are critical to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory functions: cysteine, glutathione, and taurine.

Cysteine influences the synthesis of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH), which plays an important role in the inflammatory response by influencing the production of phagocytes.

Taurine acts as a specific scavenger for the hypochlorite ion, a free radical. Adequate levels of taurine naturally limit the degree of inflammation. When taurine is low, the inflammatory response is enhanced, commonly resulting in oxidative stress reactions.

Other amino acid imbalances may also impact the etiology of osteoarthritis - particularly methionine metabolism. Normally, B12 and folate are necessary for the body to metabolize homocysteine to methionine, the essential amino acid the body needs to produce S-adenosylmethionine. Numerous clinical trials have shown that S-adenosylmethionine can greatly reduce degenerative damage and symptoms of osteoarthritis in some patients, including related depression.

Imbalances of amino acids may also signal key deficiencies of vitamins and minerals integral to the musculoskeletal system. Experimental studies show that impaired cartilage structure can be induced by a vitamin B6 deficiency. Vitamin B6 triggers the transformation of the amino acid homocysteine to cystathionine and then to cysteine and its urinary metabolites.

Not all amino acids are same. Amino acids can be derived from a variety of sources, including plants, meats, fish and cartilage.

For arthritis treatment, the most compatible amino acid source is animal cartilage, including porcine, borvine cartilages and young chicken keel. Joint TLC is one of such products ( that combines chondroitin, glucosamine and essential amino acids that promotes joint health, but this combination is still rare as most still use MSN in the place of cartilage derived amino acids, as MSN, for the marketer, is less expensive.


1 Bradley JD, Flusser D, Katz BP, Schumacher HR Jr, Brandt KD, Chambers MA, Zonay LJ. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial of intravenous loading with S-adenosyltmethionine (SAM) followed by oral SAM therapy in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol 1994;21(5):905-11.

2 Barcelo HA, Wiemeyer JC, Sagasta CL, Macias M, Barreira JC. Experimental osteoarthritis and its course when treated with S-adenosyl-L-methionine. [Spanish} Rev Clin Esp 1990;187(20:74-78.

3 Konig B. A long-term (two years) clinical trial with S-adenosylmethionine for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Am J Med 1987;83(5A):89-94.

4 Baldessarini RJ. Neuropharmacology of S-adenosyl-L-methionine. Am J Med 1987;83(5A):95-103.

5 di Padova C. S-adenosylmethionine in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Review of the clinical studies. Am J Med 1987;83(5A):60-5.

6 Flynn MA, Irvin W, Krause G. The effect of folate and cobalamin on osteoarthritic hands. J Am Coll Nutr 1994;13(4):351-6.

7 McCarty MF. The neglect of glucosamine as a treatment for osteoarthritis--a personal perspective. Med Hypotheses 1994;42(5):323-7.

8 Masse PG, Ziv I, Cole DE, Mahuren JD, Donovan SM, Yamauchi M, Howell DS. A cartilage matrix deficiency experimentally induced by vitamin B6 deficiency. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1998;217(1):97-103.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Massages and Hydrotherapy For Pain Relief

Massages are known worldwide known for their multiple benefits. Depending on the receiver's need, massages can enhance muscle performance or relieve the deep tension that occurs mainly because of the stress. Recommended by doctors, massages have a strong therapeutic power and are integrated in the recovering process of many patients whether they suffer from osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis or need relief from an accident's post trauma.

The Swedish massage is being used worldwide where the patient receives because of the strokes used in it joint and tension relief. Having involved a rather gentle style with rubbing, tapping and kneading of the muscles, the Swedish massage is ideal for minimizing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and because of that it is often prescribed in the rheumatoid arthritis treatments.

The deep tissue massage is a variation of the Swedish massage in which is more pressure applied to the tissues so that the massage effect will be felt on the deeper layer of muscles as well. Involving the use of fingertips and sometimes the elbows, the result of the deep tissue massage is stress relief and deep relaxation. However, more gentle massages like craniosacral therapy will also have as result the desired profound relief.

Hydrotherapy is an alternative for exercise therapy that can be painful for people that suffer from arthritis or osteoporosis and can not benefit from relieving pain and improving mobility because mobility causes pain to people having this autoimmune disease. Hydrotherapy offers the benefits of improving the body functions without putting stress on the joints or other body parts that are in pain because of the disease. Being especially useful for treating joint pain and stiffness, the common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, hydrotherapy is a great way for patients to learn what exercises are helpful for their disease. The major benefit of the hydrotherapy is that patients do the exercises in warm water where the gravitational forces on the body are reduced and the joint mobility is considerably increased; also because of the water jets, the blood flow is increased as well improving the effective mobility in the entire body.

For people with osteoarthritis, hydrotherapy has been proved to be effective as well by improving the physical function and general health in the knees of the patients. Also, the benefit of having physical exercises impact free and with easier joint movement is a huge plus for people with osteoarthritis.

Combined with a healthy rheumatoid arthritis diet or a nourishing osteoarthritis diet, massages and therapies, especially hydrotherapy will help the suffering people of this disease make progress in recovering and get rid of the arthritis joint pain or knee pain and lack of strength. And for less pain in the joints, don't forget adding Omega 3 in your daily meals that will surely minimize your pain and joints inflammation!

Natural Arthritis Treatment - How to Get Rid of Arthritis Quickly and Naturally

Arthritis is America's number one cause of chronic disability. 40 million Americans suffer from this painful condition - most of them trying to stop the pain using prescription pain killers given to them by their doctor. Of course, natural arthritis treatment is a much better option.

What's wrong With Prescription drugs?

While Aspirin, Ibuprofen and other drugs can relieve the pain - The physical price you pay for them is too high. Even the FDA warns of kidney problems and liver damage caused by long term usage of prescription drugs. Not to mention they can cause dependency as well. Second, these drugs only mask the problem and do not target the root cause of arthritis - inflammation.

The Top 6 Ingredients for Natural Arthritis Treatment

  • Proteolytic enzymes (What's this? See below)

  • Glucosamine

  • Chondroitin

  • Boswellia

  • Bromelain

  • Devil's Claw

The Top Natural Arthritis Treatment - What is Systemic Enzyme Therapy?

Almost everybody knows that arthritis pain is caused by chronic internal inflammation. Your body is in pain in order to earn you about a problem - damage of some kind. The swelling is your body's clever way of preventing you from moving and causing more damage.

What happens next is your body producing proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes fight the inflammation and repair the damage. So why can't they make your arthritis disappear? This is because the age of 25, your body produces much of these amazing enzymes. Also, there are more and more outside factors the cause inflammation: chemicals in the air and in our food, allergies and even stress. Now your body is flooded, can't control the inflammation and can't get rid of what causes your arthritis (and chronic fatigue, heart disease and so on).

So What Do You Do Next?

The smartest way to go is of course finding a combination of these powerful enzymes and the all of the herbs mentioned above.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Psychological Implications For The Occupational Therapist Part 1

A person newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (or any medical conditions for that matter) usually gets shocked, before becoming anxious then settling into a saddened and depressed mood. There is a grief cycle that he or she will go through, as grief for losing a part of themselves, their health and fitness. By the time the person suffering from the disease's progression to reach a stage where operation is required, they would have gotten over the initial shock, but will still be vulnerable to bouts of moodiness, depression and helplessness.

These are common and usual response of people towards having to live with pain and deforming disease. Sometimes, antidepressants are required to manage sleep, loss of weight etc.

The person with the rheumatoid arthritis disease may feel overwhelmed with the disease, but may internalise it and keep it inside themselves. These people need to be encouraged to express their feels, fears, hopes, in order to accurately help them define and manage their fears, regardless if they were perceived or real. An example is if a person feels that they have lost the ability to handle or the physical ability to maintain the joints integrity, they might feel frustrated over the apparent loss of control, but they perceive that they aren't supposed or allowed to be angry as the people around them are already doing their best to make him or her as comfortable as they can.

They may develop body image disorders, or have body image issues as they would have to perceive or wait in fear "when or in case" their joints change in shape, functionally or esthetically. What will couple this is if pain comes into the picture, of if they are placed on steroids, which often cause fluid retention and the effect of weight gain and puffy faces.

The occupational therapist may then create a "safe room" or where the patient with rheumatoid arthritis will be allowed to express their feelings through verbal or written forms of communication, directed or undirected by the trained occupational therapist. They need to be assured and re-assured that the feelings that they have are normal, a part of the the grieving and loss process.

Patients needs to understand that, and to be respected and given the space, chance and ability to grieve over his or her loss (real or perceived) of function, mobility and independence. By this, we can help them to overcome their mobility and functional problems.

How to Treat Neck Arthritis and Painful Joints

Neck arthritis or neck pain is caused by the joint pain conditions like rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and others. It is a joint pain condition where the cartilage in the joint wears down due to injury or aging process or combination of both.

The common symptoms of neck arthritis are stiffness and pain in the neck. These symptoms can become severe when standing as compared to the lying down as that produces the effect of the gravity on the spine. Also at times sleeping at night worsens the situation. As neck muscles are in relax state and without the support of these muscles there is more pressure on already compressed nerves. This results in more inflammation and pain.

The patients with neck pain also show signs of weakness, burning, numbness, tingling, electric pains down the arm, forearm and hand. The other sign of neck pain is headache that is experienced on the back side of the head.

Neck arthritis is not reduced on doing nothing. Actually statistics have shown sedentary people suffer more than active ones. Few activities that will reduce neck pain are neck exercises, posture exercises, massage therapy and last resort medicines.

There are typical postures and neck exercises that will bring back range of motion with relieve of pain and stiffness. For posture exercises set of exercise bands and exercise ball is needed. The neck exercises are learnt from therapist. The flexibility, circulation and mobility are increased by massage therapy. The relaxation produced helps in relieving pain.

Alternative methods like homeopathy and acupuncture proves to be very effective in relieving the neck pain. In the grave situation when pain becomes unbearable pain killers are used to check neck pain. As pain killers have side effects their use should be the last option.

One type of joint pain as discussed is due to degradation in the cartilage. On the other hand painful joints can be due to only pain without any physical deterioration of the body joints. Such a disorder is called arthralgia. This condition can spring up with little or no known causes. Painful joints may result from injury or loss of lubrication in the joint. The symptoms of arthralgia are very similar to arthritis with slight variation.

The common causes of painful joints are different forms of arthritis. The other causes are fracture or accidental injury, diseases like fever, flu, hepatitis, chicken pox, and rubella that are infectious.

What ever be the reason for joint pains in the body, light exercises under the guidance of able physical therapist will bring about a significant change in the state of body. This applies to neck arthritis also. To control the joint pains in your body is in your hands.

The Varied Forms of Arthritis Treatment for Pain Management

Arthritis falls within the rheumatic diseases, which are exemplified by different illnesses requiring varying treatments based on the person and the prognosis. The similarity between all forms of arthritis is they affect tendons, cartilage, joints, ligaments, and muscles. There are studies that indicate some internal areas of the body are affected by arthritis.

Arthritis Treatment Varies Based on Forms of the Disease

Because the forms of the disease are different, arthritis treatment can vary too. More than 100 known types of arthritis are currently on the books and that is increasing. Osteoarthritis is attributable to the wear on cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis comes from the overactive immune system, which causes inflammation. It is no wonder by the types and arthritis treatments that the disease is the most common illness of a chronic type in the U.S.

Worldwide, over 350 million people have arthritis. Contrary to what some people believe, arthritis does not only affect older people, because more than 50% of sufferers are under the age of 65. Women do make up a higher percentage rate at 60%.

Contributing Factors to Arthritis Treatment

There are many contributing factors to arthritis treatment. Not only does the type of arthritis play a hand in treatment, but the location, persistence, severity, and medical history of the sufferer also have a role. Arthritis treatment is customized by the doctor for each patient.

There are many forms of arthritis treatment that have been handed down for generations that still supply relief. These home remedies are often combined with nonprescription medications to decrease the cost of treatments, but some cases warrant very strong prescription drugs, surgical operations, and joint injections.

Obese or overweight people with arthritis may be asked to lose weight to reduce the stress on their joints. Treatments serve two general purposes. They should relief the pain and inflammation and they should contribute to joint health, both improving and protecting joint function.

One of the first actions prescribed by doctors is rest and carefully using the affected areas. Heat and cold compresses have some comforting effect and creams for pain do provide incremental pain relief. Extended use of joint supplements may provide some relief from osteoarthritis, especially those with chondroitin and glucosamine additives.

Many arthritis treatments are a matter or trial and error to see what works best. Supplements are controversial because of lack of clinical support, and most doctors suggest their use only if there is obvious improvement when they are taken. If there is no improvement within two months, a supplement is probably not going to help the situation.

Exercise can help strengthen up muscles around arthritic joints, taking pressure off those painful areas. This may include physical therapy, going to a fitness center, and/or a home program. Along with that, steroid injections into the problematic area may give substantial relief for months. This may allow people to dramatically improve their activity and avoid surgery, or at a minimum delay it.

Bracing may also help arthritic joints, such as a knee offloading brace or a back brace in a time of a pain flare up. A TENS Unit may also help decrease pain as well.

If a patient has mild to moderate pain, an over the counter medication such as Tylenol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories may make life much more tolerable. In those instances where pain is substantial, a short term course of narcotics can help a patient get through the rough patch.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 Healthy Ways to Ward-Off Arthritis and Live Energetically

The approach of middle-age and any accompanying onset of arthritis (scientific name Osteoarthritis-OA), does not have to be a foreboding call for sedentary living! On the contrary, this is a time when people should be pushing for "a second lease on life", a time to get back to the energetic activities that they previously enjoyed.

The only way to live to the fullest, however, is to prevent ourselves from succumbing to the wear-and-tear of this disease.

Arthritis (OA) is the leading cause of disability in people older than age 65. It is characterized by degenerative changes in the hands, spine, knees, and hips and is a natural course of aging. Most of us will eventually develop mild to severe forms of the disease; however, it is not a life sentence.

In fact, individuals between the ages of 45 to 90 lead comfortable lives with OA, unrestricted from carrying out normal activities of daily living. Several healthy options exist for those who want to maintain their independence as they mature in age, but are unsure of where to get the right information. Consider these 5 steps for a more fulfilling you.

1. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help improve muscle strength and motion, and promote relief from stiff painful joints. A frequent problem with joint pains associated with OA is the feeling of imbalance and unsteadiness of gait (proprioception). This problem usually interferes with a person's hope of regaining full mobility. Thankfully, therapists are equipped with useful technology devices which help with these problems.

2. Bicycling, Walking and Swimming

Exercise programs consist of gentle, progressive stretching, muscle warm ups and low impact exercises. Emphasis should be placed on stretching (before and after exercise) as it generally helps release tight muscles and soothes resistant joints of OA.

Excellent choices of low impact activities include swimming, walking and bicycling.

3. Weight Loss Plan

Losing weight is often encouraged for persons 10 pounds over their ideal body weight and living with OA. A weight loss program outlined by a dietician, therapist, or doctor will get you on your way to feeling healthy and energetic. A general guideline to weight loss involves: increased fibre, reduced serving portions, mindful snacking, and copious amounts of water. Sugary snacks and juices should be kept at a minimum.

4. Wholesome Foods and Supplements

Eating wholesome foods low in sodium, and reducing animal proteins and caffeine is recommended to restore and repair the body's tissues. Taking regular supplements for bone health (calcium-1500 mg with vitamin D) are also prescribed to slow bone loss and possible bone fractures.

5. Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

A holistic treatment program that reduces anxiety and depression associated with OA is popularly embraced by many healthcare workers. Patients are taught the basic principles of relaxation and meditation techniques as an aid in coping with life challenges.

Overall, make it a regular habit to enjoy the outdoors, socialise, and participate in relaxing therapies. While arthritis, if left untreated can progress to disabling conditions, some people never show symptoms of OA. Yes, a person committed to a fuller healthier life will see the prognosis for OA is actually good.


Arthritis Pain - Truly Happy With Your Arthritis Pain Relief?

According to statistics there are an incredible number of people with some form of Arthritis and it is growing all the time. All I can say is a lot of people out there are suffering and their loved ones will also be affected by it. I have an idea of what it is like to suffer from Arthritis Pain but am very lucky that my condition is limited in its severity and personally know many people who suffer from it a great deal more than me.

When I was young I damaged the 2nd and 3rd vertebrae in my neck but did not know how bad it was until many years later but by then both vertebrae had degenerated significantly. I also broke my left kneecap playing sport as a teenager and now that I have aged in years both injuries are now a cause of Arthritis Pain and I was told there was very little I could do about. My mother has chronic Arthritis and has been in pain on a daily basis for many years now. I will not go into detail but my mother is very limited in what she can do but pushes through a lot of agony (very mentally strong) from her Arthritis Pain to try to live a normal active lifestyle.

I knew my mother was suffering but did not realise how close she was to breaking point until she broke down in front of me saying,"I cannot take it anymore!". It was incredibly heart wrenching to hear my mothers misery caused by her Arthritis Pain and to see her spirit completely Crushed! As we both sat there in tears talking to each other I promised my mother I would find Something, Anything to help her cope with the Pain. Unfortunately,over the years of trying many different remedies for Arthritis Pain to help, only limited results were achieved but some was better than none.

Over the years my Arthritis Pain started to bother me and interrupt my life so it became a problem for both of us and was frustrating knowing we can only achieve a limited amount of relief. We tried a juice concentrate made from several fruits and other ingredients because I had heard a lot of good results were achieved using fruit and plant extracts as a natural remedy for Arthritis Pain Relief.We gave it a try for awhile and it did help a little but no more than anything else, but I knew we were on the right track.

One day while still drinking the juice I was introduced to a similar product from a different company, the same sort of principal concerning the product was used but more different fruits and plant extracts were added,to be exact it contains 19 fruits including the Amazing Brazilian ACAI Berry,and with a bit of encouragement we decided to try it. We drank the juice for three months and according to declarations of other people on the juice the benefits are wide and varied and the Arthritis Pain relief was Great! It took a while but the pain in my neck and knee had reduced, my mother was feeling better every week and best of all was how much more energy we had and we both commented on how much better we were sleeping!

I know how debilitating Arthritis Pain can be so if you or your loved ones would like another option this may help them more than what they are currently using. My mother and I are getting better results than ever and I am just trying to let people know there are other options they could try.

If you or your loved ones are not happy with their current Arthritis Pain Relief Products you have got nothing to lose. We are both very happy with the results achieved and if you want better Arthritis Pain relief there are natural options which are safer and better for you!

If you would like more information please send me an email for more information. Or to help you make an informed decision visit my Blog. Only you can decide if you want a better lifestyle and if you had an opportunity to change your life, why would you not?

Thanks for listening and no matter what you do, I wish you good luck and good health to you!

Regards Shane Nolan

Is Osteoarthritis Part of Metabolic Syndrome?

Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of cartilage, a spongy protein that covers the ends of the bones within a joint. Normal cartilage helps with shock absorption by serving as a cushion at the ends of the bones. The cartilage as the fluid within the joint allows for smooth joint movement. As osteoarthritis progresses, the space between the bones narrows, the cartilage wears down and the underlying bone is exposed. This results in painful movement of the joint as well as limited motion. Bone spurs can develop around the joint, limiting motion further and contributing to more pain. Inflammation plays only a minor role in osteoarthritis.

There are many causes of osteoarthritis, the most well known is the aging process. As we age, the water content of cartilage increases and the protein content decreases. As the water content increases, the cartilage becomes softer, more permeable and loses it's mechanical properties. The protein content decreases which contributes to slow degeneration of the cartilage, resulting in flaking and erosions.

Other causes of osteoarthritis include abnormal bone alignment. In the foot, the most common cause is faulty foot mechanics. When the foot is not in alignment and not functioning properly, this causes abnormal stress on joints in the foot, ankle, knee, hip and back. Trauma is a well known cause of arthritis. Direct trauma can disturb the joint structures, cause mal-alignment of the joint or cause weakness of the surrounding structures, resulting in instability of the joint and eventual osteoarthritis. Other causes, such as infection, medications (such as steroids) and genetics contribute to the development of arthritis.

Obesity is a common cause of arthritis. The exact mechanism of how excess weight influences osteoarthritis is unclear. Although the excess load placed on joint surfaces will accelerated the breakdown of cartilage, obesity is also correlated with osteoarthritis of the hand, indicating a more systemic cause. Obesity increases the chances of having metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by a set of risk factors which are linked to coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The risk factors include high blood pressure, abdominal obesity (fat around the waist), abnormal cholesterol levels (such as high triglyceride levels & low HDL levels) and insulin resistance (which corresponds with high blood sugar). The underlying theories of metabolic syndrome are tied to the body's metabolism, most likely insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the cells inability to efficiently use insulin, a hormone which transports sugar from the bloodstream to the cells. The result is high blood sugar. Insulin resistance is correlated to weight gain and inactivity.

In a recent study in the journal Skeletal Radiology, popliteal artery wall thickness was evaluated in individuals with osteoarthritis. Forty-two patients who were diagnosed with osteoarthritis at multiple joints were compared to 27 patients without osteoarthritis (the control group). An MRI of the knee was used to evaluate vessel wall thickness of the popliteal artery. The osteoarthritis group had thicker vessel walls than the control group, even when the researchers made adjustments for gender, weight and age. Because vessel wall thickness is directly related to high blood pressure and peripheral and coronary artery disease, the authors suggest that osteoarthritis might be another facet of metabolic syndrome.

One theory to explain the link between osteoarthritis and metabolic syndrome is based on white blood cells, immune fighting cells, increasing in areas where fat accumulates, especially around the abdomen (abdominal obesity). As the white blood cells increase, they contribute to widespread inflammation in the body, causing a pro-inflammatory state (as indicated by high blood levels of C- reactive protein) and the production of immune chemicals (specifically cytokines) which cause a chain reaction resulting in damage to the cartilage. The combination of insulin resistance and the pro-inflammatory state may also affect the normal cartilage repair process.

It is possible that osteoarthritis might be an inevitable outcome for those with metabolic syndrome.

Kornaat PR et al. Positive association between increased popliteal artery vessel wall thickness and generalized osteoarthritis: is OA also part of the metabolic syndrome? Skeletal Radiol. 2009 Jul 3.
Rojas-Rodríguez J, et al. The relationship between the metabolic syndrome and energy-utilization deficit in the pathogenesis of obesity-induced osteoarthritis. Med Hypotheses. 2007;69(4):860-8.
Cicuttini FM, Baker JR, Spector TD: The association of obesity with osteoarthritis of the hand and knee in women: a twin study. J.Rheumatol. 1996; 23:1221-1226.
Felson DT: Weight and osteoarthritis. J.Rheumatol. 1995;43:7-9.
Armstrong CG, Mow VC. Variations in the Intrinsic Mechanical Properities of Human Articular Cartilage with Age, Degeneration, and Water Content. JBJS. 1982; 64:88-94.

Trigger Finger - Is it Really All That Common?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most widely recognized form of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), but Trigger Finger is catching up fast, becoming all too common among society and affecting the youth and elderly in ever-increasing numbers. If the rising numbers keep on track, Trigger Finger may be recognized along with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as having achieved epidemic proportions.

Trigger Finger On The Rise

Prior to the 1990's, Trigger Finger seemed to affect a small number of the elderly that had experienced some form of direct trauma or excessive strain to one or possibly several fingers. Trigger Finger was more prevalent in those that were already suffering with Osteoarthritis in the affected hand, making many healthcare professionals to believe that Trigger Finger was a byproduct of Osteoarthritis. But within the past 5-years, the age of those suffering from Trigger Finger became much "younger" while the overall number of individuals with the disorder increased. The belief of a direct correlation between those suffering with Osteoarthritis and Trigger Finger seems to be reducing in popularity as many of those suffering with Trigger Finger do not have Osteoarthritis, but instead, are involved in high-risk tasks that are already associated as the causative factor in many types of Repetitive Strain Injuries.

Injuries resulting from repeated motion (repetitive / cumulative trauma disorders -- CTD's) are growing. According to recent annual statistics from the U.S. Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, over 302,000 CTD's account for nearly two-thirds all of workplace-related illnesses.

Ergonomic disorders are the fastest growing category of work-related illness. According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they account for 56 percent of illnesses reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Trigger Finger - Recognized as a Repetitive Strain Injury

Now that Trigger Finger is rearing its head in the workplace with increased intensity, it has been added to the growing list of debilitating Repetitive strain Injuries. Trigger Finger now joins the ranks of Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Epicondylitis, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, DeQuervain's and the many other debilitating workplace disorders affecting the upper extremity. So, what is Trigger Finger, how is it recognized and what are its symptoms?

Trigger Finger Explained

Trigger Finger is a form of overuse injury affecting any of the fingers (1-5) with symptoms ranging from a painless annoyance with occasional snapping/jerking of the finger(s), to severe dysfunction and pain with continuous locking of the finger(s) in a flexed downward / forward position into the palm of the hand.

The occurrence of this injury usually results from overuse of the flexor muscles/tendons and the formation of an adhesion or fibrotic nodule on the tendon. If left untreated, the adhesion/nodule becomes larger, therefore creating a conflicting ratio between the size of the tendon and the size of the entrance of the tendon sheath. In most cases, if the adhesion/nodule is not treated, it can continue to increase in size (Depending on activity/use of the affected finger) to the point where it still has the ability to pass into and through the tendon sheath when flexing the finger, but becomes stuck and cannot move back through the tendon sheath when trying to extend/straighten the finger, thus causing the finger to lock in the flexed forward / downward position.

The Trigger Finger Solution

Because Trigger Finger consists of an adhesion, nodule, and scar tissue buildup on the tendon due to excess strain, overuse, or direct trauma to that specific location on the tendon, it should be treated with stretching and strengthening exercises in order to break down the adhesion on the affected tendon. By breaking down the adhesion on the affected tendon, it reduces in size and slides through the pulley system in a normal manner, no longer "catching" and locking into the downward flexed position. (There is also a "thinning" of the tendon, which helps reduce the overall size of the tendon and nodule, therefore allowing it to pass through the tendon sheath with greater ease.) Creating strength in the opposing finger extensor tendons is very important as it allows the finger to return to an extended position in a more appropriate manner. This is where muscle balancing comes into play. By creating equality of tendon length and strength on both sides of the finger joint, individuals can help prevent the onset of Trigger Finger and/or keep it from re-occurring in the future.

Conservative therapy utilizing stretches and exercises has been highly effective, providing long-term and permanent relief. For those wanting to avoid surgery and for those where surgery was not effective in eliminating the condition, stretch and exercise therapy is the solution to both preventing and rehabilitating the devastating symptoms associated with Trigger finger.