Saturday, December 14, 2013

Glucosamine for Arthritis in Dogs - What You Need to Know to Help Your Dog With Arthritis Pain

When my Shar Pei, Dozer, began to act like an old dog, my vet suggested I look into glucosamine.

I've heard of glucosamine, but that was in regard to people, not dogs. Can it really help dogs that are suffering from arthritis and joint pain?

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

Dozer was 8 years old when he started to act like an old dog. He has always been somewhat reserved, dignified, but he started to walk very slowly, gingerly, as though he was having a tough time taking each step.

Climbing stairs seemed to be hard for him, too. He normally followed me down into the basement, but lately he started to sit at the top of the stairs and wait for me to come back up. Instead of exploring the yard while I hung my laundry on the clothesline, he would lay down in the cool grass and watch me.

Then he began to lay down in the bathroom. This was odd because he doesn't like baths, and normally he stays far away from the bathtub!

Plus, there are no windows in the bathroom - it's dark in there. He always liked to stay close to the french doors in the dining area, because he could watch out the windows for errant squirrels and other intruders who don't belong in his yard.

When I told the vet about this, he asked what kind of floor was in the bathroom. I told him it was ceramic tile - and he said that was the answer. Dozer's joints were aching, and the cool tile floor soothed the pain.

For Dog Arthritis, Glucosamine Has Been the Answer for Many

Arthritis is caused by a number of factors. The term "arthritis" actually covers more than 100 different joint pain conditions. It can be that the joint is inflamed, or infection, or the cartilage between bones wearing away and more.

Where the problem is cartilage wear, glucosamine for dogs may be the answer.

Where bones meet, say in a hip socket or knee socket, there is a layer of cartilage that acts like a shock absorber between the bones.

However, as we and our dogs age, that cartilage can wear away, leaving the bones rubbing against each other without any padding. That pain can be intense, as anyone who is a candidate for a knee or hip replacement can tell you.

Humans and canines produce glucosamine in the body naturally, but the aging process also causes glucosamine production to drop off.

The good news is that glucosamine is cheap and easy to obtain. It's made from crustacean shells, and since the crustaceans are normally the valued part of the crop, the shells are typically thrown away, meaning that glucosamine supplements for your pet can be relatively inexpensive.

Types of Glucosamine for Arthritis in Dogs

There are 4 types of glucosamine, but the two most effective are Glucosamine Sulfate and Glucosamine Hydrochloride or HCL.

If your dog's arthritis pain is caused by wearing of the cartilage between bones, then you'll want to start supplementing with glucosamine as soon as possible. You'll need to give this supplement for the rest of your dog's life since your pet's body is no longer providing the needed levels of glucosamine.

Glucosamine supplements can encourage the cartilage to regenerate, but it won't completely solve his joint pain problem. If you stop supplementing, you'll see a return of arthritis symptoms.

How Do You Give Your Dog Glucosamine?

Glucosamine for dogs comes in pills that are swallowed, chewable tablets and liquids.

Of course, if your pet takes pills well, then that may be the best solution for you.

Dozer, however, does not like pills, so we decided to try liquid and chewables.

Some dogs are happy with chewable tablets, thinking they are treats, but Dozer would have none of that. The other alternative is the pour-on liquid, which we poured over his dinner at night. That worked well for us. He cleaned it up right away!

We started to notice an improvement about 5 days after his first supplement. Two weeks later, he was back to his old self, jumping into the truck to check out the cows and running up and down the basement stairs after me. What a joy it was to see him feeling good again!

The good news is that glucosamine supplements for dogs typically work that quickly, with most dog owners noticing results within 10 days to 2 weeks.

What Dosage of Glucosamine is Best for Dogs With Arthritis?

Watch the product bottles carefully, since they may list dosages that are hard to compare. For example, one bottle may list 100 pills while another may list 16 ounces.

One website suggested that you think about the dosage in terms of one day. How much will your dog need for one day's treatment?

A good rule of thumb to start is 750 mg of either Glucosamine Sulfate or Glucosamine Hydrochloride per 50 pounds of your dog's weight.

Many veterinarians report that doubling the glucosamine supplement to start for 1-2 weeks is beneficial, and can "jump start" your pet's recovery. And of course, make sure to discuss any medication or supplement with your vet before starting any new regimen for your dog.

Are There Any Side Effects to Glucosamine for Dogs?

A few side effects have been noted by some pet owners, including vomiting and diarrhea. Some dogs will seem drowsy or experience a lack of appetite, but these symptoms appear to be rare. Reducing the dosage for a short while seems to alleviate these side effects.

Many dog owners reported that their dogs seemed to experience these side effects for just a short time as their bodies adjusted to the supplement. You may want to try a different form of glucosamine if one form seems to present side effects.

If you've "jump started" your pet's dosage to 2x, as recommended earlier, and you notice vomiting or diarrhea, back off to the normal dosage.

It is highly unlikely to overdose your pet on glucosamine.

The good news is that once we started Dozer on his glucosamine supplement, almost immediately we noticed our pet feeling and acting more like his old active self. He's more than 9 years old now, but you wouldn't know it!

We're so glad that we discovered glucosamine for the treatment of arthritis in dogs.

Dog Physical Therapy for Dog Arthritis: An Introduction

The main goal of dog physical therapy is to maintain or improve a dog's quality of life by making sure that the mobility of the dog is not hampered by any disease or injury. Therefore, methods used in dog physical therapy are for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Physical Therapy for Dog Arthritis

Studies have shown that one in five dogs over seven have arthritis. Although it is quite prevalent, most dog owners are prepared to deal with the disease. Furthermore, since our dog cannot tell us that they are in pain, most dogs suffer the symptoms of the disease in silence. Dog arthritis is hard to detect in its early stages, and in some cases the dog is only given treatment when the disease is already in its advanced stage.

There many factors which affect the development of dog arthritis such as age, weight, size, and breed. However, why the debilitating disease occurs and what triggers it is still mystery to be solved both in human and veterinary medicine. As a result, there is no cure for arthritis. The only way to approach the disease is by managing the symptoms.

Dog arthritis works by destroying cartilage tissue in joints faster than the body is able to produce new cartilage. When cartilage is damaged, the motion of an affected joint is compromised. Joints in the body work because the parts of bones that are in contact with other bones are lined with the perfectly smooth cartilage tissue. Cartilage and joint fluid, therefore, are like oil in moving gears.

With cartilage damage caused by arthritis, the dog would experience pain when the animal uses the joint when attempting to move. Hence, dog arthritis treatment is often composed of medications that alleviate any pain or inflammation related to the debilitating disease. Drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers are used.

However, proper treatment does not stop with these medications. As mentioned earlier, weight can be factor in the development of the disease. It is here that physical therapy becomes very important. For dogs suffering from arthritis, weight management is crucial. Techniques in physical therapy will not only help a dog shed some unnecessary pounds, but they will aid in strengthening the dogs muscles placing less strain on the bone.

Active Therapy for Dogs

One aspect of physical therapy uses equipment or employs certain movements so that the state of the dog's musculoskeletal system is improved. The main objectives of active therapy in dogs are to strengthen muscles, improve balance and proprioception, and to encourage weight bearing.

The following are some of the techniques or methods used in active therapy:

* Aquatic Therapy. The method usually requires an underwater treadmill, but the core of the therapy is water. The liquid works in two ways. First, it provides buoyancy. Almost half of the dog's weight is displaced which lessens significantly the strain on the animal's joints. Second, the water provides resistance. This forces the dog lengthen their stride. An additional benefit is that when warm water is used, it helps alleviate the pain at the same time helps promote blood flow to the joints.

* Dry Treadmill. Although it does not have the added benefits of water, dry treadmills are still effective for dog physical therapy. Just like its aquatic counterpart, the dry treadmill is used for muscle strengthening and post surgery or injury rehabilitation. It is helpful if the treadmill being is used is specifically designed for dogs.

* Therapy Ball. Most people are intimidated with the dog therapy ball, but it is actually simple to use. All one needs is some patience. Here are some simple instructions: (1) place your dog's front legs on the ball, you can hold your dog until the animal finds its balance; (2) move the ball from side ten times, make sure to do it slowly; (3) as your dog becomes more familiar, you extend the exercise for several minutes.

* Resistance Bands.

* Sit-Stand / Assisted Standing/Walking. The previous techniques require the use of equipment, and some of them can be very expensive. Nevertheless, there are exercises easy to do and does not require to invest in some dog exercise equipment. The simplest example is walking. Walking your dog twice a day will do wonders for your animal's condition. You can even increase the intensity of the workout by walking uphill or walking on a series of steps. Walking through an obstacle course is also helpful. The assisted standing is another fun way for dogs to get their need physical therapy. Assisted standing is a fancy word for dog dancing. What you need to do is lift the legs of your dog and then slowly move from one direction to another. Last example is the sit-stand. This is much recommended for dogs that have undergone obedience training. The owner repetitively gives the command to sit and then stand.

Visit my blog for more information on dog arthritis and the many ways you can help to control this disease.

If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis You May Want To Start Going To Indian Restaurants!

Folk and herbal remedies for arthritis are often found, after scientific scrutiny, to have beneficial effects. A recent study seems to support the role of turmeric as a spice that could help alleviate the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

Turmeric is the spice that flavors and gives yellow color to curries and other foods. It has been used for centuries by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammatory diseases. Turmeric extract containing the ingredient curcumin is marketed widely as a dietary supplement for the treatment and prevention of a variety of disorders, including arthritis.

Janet L. Funk, MD and Barbara N. Timmermann, PhD, researchers at the University of Arizona, Center for Phytomedicine Research, set up a series of experiments to determine whether (and how) turmeric works as an anti-arthritic. They began by preparing their own extracts from the root of the plant and compared them with commercially available products.

Dr. Funk and her colleagues then tested in animal models a whole extract of turmeric root, only the essential oils, and an oil-depleted extract containing the three major curcuminoids found in the plant root.

Of the three extracts, the one containing the major curcuminoids was most similar in chemical composition to commercially available turmeric dietary supplements. It also was the most effective, completely inhibiting the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Funk states that, "This was the first study that has examined turmeric with the researchers' own prepared, well-defined extracts... the study represents the first documentation of the chemical composition of a curcumin-containing extract tested in a living organism... for anti-arthritic efficacy. It also provides the first evidence of anti-arthritic efficacy of a complex turmeric extract that is analogous in composition to turmeric dietary supplements."

The significance, she explains, is that "translating the results of trials such as these to clinical use depends on accurate information about the chemical content and biological activity of the botanical supplements available for use. This work paves the way for the preclinical and clinical trials needed before turmeric supplements can be recommended for medicinal use in preventing or suppressing rheumatoid arthritis."

Dr. Funk and her colleagues add, "This study also provides the first in vivo documentation of a mechanism of action -- how curcumin-containing extracts protect against arthritis."

"We found that the curcuminoid extract inhibits a transcription factor called NF-KB from being activated in the joint. A transcription factor is a protein that controls when genes are switched on or off. Once the transcription factor NF-KB is activated, or turned on, it binds to genes and enhances production of inflammatory proteins, destructive to the joint.

The finding that curcuminoid extract inhibits activation of NF-KB suggests that turmeric dietary supplements share the same mechanism of action as anti-arthritic pharmaceuticals under development that target NF-KB. It also suggests that turmeric may have a use in other inflammatory disorders, such as asthma, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease."

In addition to preventing joint inflammation, Dr. Funk's study shows that the curcuminoid extract blocked the pathway that affects bone resorption. Bone loss associated with osteoporosis in women typically begins before the onset of menopause. Bone loss is also a feature of rheumatoid arthritis.

(Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo JN, Kuscuoglu N, Wilson J, McCaffrey G, Stafford G, Chen G, Lantz RC, Jolad SD, Solyom AM, Kiela PR, Timmerman BN. Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2006: 54 (11): 3452-3464).

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Arizona Health Sciences Center.

Author's note: This study is interesting from at least three points of view. First, it confirms the effectiveness of an herbal supplement for adjunctive treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and provides information on a possible mode of action. Second, it gives credence to the use of turmeric in standard dietary supplement form for arthritis. Third, the bone loss inhibiting effect of turmeric is an important one given the magnitude of osteoporosis as a public health issue.

I, for one, am making reservations to my favorite Indian restaurant as soon as I can.

Bad Blood Circulation and RA - Is There a Link?

Rheumatoid arthritis is renowned for its galore of symptoms that manifest in many different ways. Bad blood circulation is yet another burning symptom that confines sufferers to their painful state while making them numb.

The link between bad blood circulation and rheumatoid arthritis is not very clear from a medical stand point. However, the number of complaints from rheumatoid arthritis sufferers alone stands as enough evidence to say that there is a clear link.

Bad circulation, as a matter of fact, can ruin your life forever if not treated properly. The common cause behind bad blood circulation is known as blockages in arteries. The arteries could block this way due to simple factors such as smoking and stress as well as due to eating habits that have to do with milk and carbohydrates. As a result, plaque deposits cause blood pressure to increase which can eventually result in fatigue and heart disease.

If you observe having rashes that don't heal and if you feel needles and pins in hands and feet or if you experience numbness after working on something, you are most likely experiencing bad blood circulation. If such conditions continue to occur on a daily basis or regularly after a particular activity, consulting a medical practitioner would be ideal.

Many people hold different beliefs about what can cure conditions such as bad blood circulation and rheumatoid arthritis. While the main focus lies in western medicine, more and more people seem to be drifting away from it to follow traditional medicinal remedies, nowadays.

If you've noticed symptoms of bad blood circulation for a while and if you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the same time, it may be a worthwhile effort to check out the alternative forms of cure.

When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis and bad blood circulation, many people believe that western medicine does not offer cures; rather it is a way of temporary relief. If you search the internet, you will find many website that sell alternative herbal remedies for rheumatoid arthritis and bad blood circulation. However, you should also be very careful in pursuing such treatment methods off hand because many claims made by websites on the internet cannot be taken for granted.

If you are focusing on alternative medicine, it is best to consult a qualified alternative medicine doctor. Expert knowledge always serves well in making decisions with regard to your health. This way, you could easily follow through advices, discuss about possible repercussions and decide on what you'd like to do about your condition.

Apart from professional assistance, other non-harmful home remedies can be put in to use in order to ease bad blood circulation and relieve your rheumatoid arthritis pain. Primrose oil, being one such component, is most famous for its anti inflammatory properties that combat rheumatoid arthritis. It also carries properties that can improve blood circulation while preventing inflammations of the arteries. Isn't it great to have a single remedy for both conditions? Well, for your information, primrose oil is not the only multifaceted component that can ease your pain. So maybe it's time that you consulted an alternative medicine doctor to explore your options in depth?

What Foods Should You Eat to Prevent Gouty Arthritis?

The main cause behind gouty arthritis is the buildup of uric acid crystals in your blood, which eventually become deposited in your joints, causing inflammation and pain. One of the main reasons for excess uric acid in your system is eating too much purine-rich food so you will have to adjust your diet in order to avoid gout attacks.

Foods that are rich in purine include organ meats such as liver and kidney as well as certain types of fish such as sardines and salmon. Alcoholic beverages such as beer that are made from yeast also have high purine content. In addition, you should also avoid beverages that are rich in caffeine such as coffee and tea while increasing your intake of water to help cleanse your system of uric acid.

To help treat gouty arthritis, replace high-purine foods in your diet with low-purine ones. Foods which are low in purine include:

  • fresh vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and other leafy greens as well as tomatoes, potatoes and red bell peppers;

  • high-fiber and water-rich fruits such as cherries, strawberries, potassium-rich bananas, oranges and pineapples;

  • plant-based proteins such as nuts, soy products such as tofu and peanut butter;

  • Refined cereals such as brown rice and whole wheat.

In addition, there are some nutritional supplements and nutrients that you need to take more of to help you address gouty arthritis, such as:

  • Apple cider vinegar, which helps create a more alkaline environment in your body that contributes to reducing gout attacks.

  • Omega 3 fatty acids which can regulate the production of leukotrienes that help control inflammation. Since many Omega 3-rich fish species are also high in purines, you can get this nutrient from plant-based sources such as walnuts and flaxseed.

  • Celery seeds can help reduce the amount of uric acid in your blood. Boil one tablespoon of celery seeds in two cups of water to create a tea and then drink half a cup four times a day.

  • Cod liver oil is rich in Vitamin A, which can promote healthy kidneys as well as preventing uric acid buildup. Take one teaspoon per day.

  • Cherry juice can also be effective in reducing uric acid levels as well as controlling inflammation of the joints. You can also take one teaspoon of cherry juice concentrate without sugar twice a day. Take cherry juice or concentrate consistently for the rest of your life as this will help you manage your uric acid and prevent gouty arthritis attacks.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Discover The Most Common Causes of Joint Aches

As we get older, many of us start to wake up with joint aches and pains we never had before.

Although you may still consider yourself young, such as late 30's or early 40's, the truth is that most causes of joint aches and pains is arthritis.

This isn't to say that you have arthritis...but you could be in the early stages of developing it.

You may be overweight or you may not be. The onset of arthritis can be from an old injury....especially if you played sports in your younger years.

If you are a few pounds too heavy, this can make the situation worse.

Of course, there are several types of arthritis. There is rheumatoid arthritis and there is osteoarthritis as two examples. The causes of joint aches will depend on which type of arthritis you may have or may be developing, if indeed arthritis is at the cause of your aches.

If you notice your joint aches happen frequently in the morning, upon first rising, then osteoarthritis could be your problem.

The Root Causes of Joint Aches

Regardless if it's rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, both types are characterized by inflammation of the joints. This inflammation causes joint aches because of the swelling and stiffness created.

As such, regardless of what the causes of your joint aches happen to be, there is a really good chance that you should look into anti-inflammatory substances to counter the inflammatory cascade transpiring within your body.

One of the best anti-inflammatories is fish oil. Fish oils are a natural substance that can not only help alleviate inflammation, but they have a myriad of other health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular and brain functioning.

Other good sources of anti-inflammatory foods include rich, leafy green vegetables. Think spinach.

If you live in the United States, you've probably never heard of a substance known as the New Zealand green lipped mussel. In New Zealand it is rather famous for its anti-inflammatory properties and is used to counter joint stiffness, aches, and pains. Like fish oil, the green lipped mussel is rich in omega 3's.

In summary, the root causes of joint aches are usually inflammation that can mean the onset of some type of arthritic condition. Increasing your dietary intake of natural anti-inflammatory substances may help counter these aches and also may improve your overall health.

The Many Different Types of Arthritis

The three forms of arthritis experienced the most, in this specific order, are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. So, throughout this article, we will take a look at some of the different types of arthritis that are in existence today. There are certain types of arthritis that are closely associated with psoriasis called psoriatic arthritis.

This is a serious inflammatory condition. Another form of arthritis that you probably haven't heard of is called cervical arthritis. This particular form of arthritis causes pain in a person's arms, neck and upper back. Were you aware that gout is actually a form of arthritis that starts out in a person's big toe but could often expands to their fingers, ankles, heels, elbows, knees and wrists? Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is another one of the types of arthritis lurking out there, but this one unfortunately affects children.

A child will experience these symptoms the worst when they first wake up in the morning or after they first wake up from a nap. Some of the symptoms of this particular form of arthritis are swelling, stiffness and pain. The only positive thing that I can think of about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is that a lot of the children who experience this early on in their life tend to outgrow it as they get older.

The next of the different types of arthritis we'll discuss is infectious arthritis. As I'm sure you have probably already derived from the name, it is caused by either a viral infection or a bacterial infection. Some of the symptoms that a person will experience when dealing with this form of arthritis are fever, joint swelling and soreness.

Of the many different types of arthritis that one can experience, Anklyosing spondylitis is a form that unfortunately affects a person's spine which will cause them a great deal of stiffness and lower back pain. People suffering from this usually experience fatigue, fever, weight loss and sleeplessness.

If you are 50 years or older, you may experience polymyalgia rheumatica which is unfortunately one of the very painful types of arthritis that a person may experience.

You will feel severe aching and stiffness in your hips, neck and shoulders when you are suffering from polymyalgia rheumatica. One good thing is that it is highly treatable, but getting an accurate diagnosis isn't always the easiest thing to do when dealing with this particular form of arthritis.

The worst thing that most of the people suffering from the different types of arthritis experience is a tremendous amount of pain. Managing arthritis pain has turned into a multibillion dollar business and unfortunately as time passes in the United States the cost to treat this disease will continue to rise.

These are some of the more popular of the different types of arthritis. Check with your doctor if you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms presented above.

Arthritis Symptoms You Should Know About

Many people have arthritis symptoms and don't realize it. It takes a while to get full blown arthritis. It's something that gradually builds up and before you know it, you have arthritis and are seeing your doctor for medication. Any medication you take does not address the cause of arthritis and will not improve your condition.

If you show any arthritis symptoms, then expect to have arthritis 4-10 year down the road. Typically when people have symptoms, they just ignore them and actual don't recognize them as arthritis symptoms.

Here is a list of arthritis symptoms that you need to look out for. Each person will show different symptom because of the nutritional make up will be different.

* Dry scalp with dandruff
* Dry skin which shows a whitish in different parts of the body
* Ear has no ear wax
* Fingernails that are brittle or splitting
* Premature color change to gray
* Skin wrinkles in the neck area
* Ringing in the ears
* Complexion color is pale
* Stretch mark which appear after losing weight
* Rectum itching
* Accumulation of dried flakes at the corners of the eyes
* Nose is constantly itching
* Feeling stiffness when getting up in the morning
* Hands and legs get cold and clammy
* Bleeding gums
* Teeth have etch lines
* Varicose veins in the legs
* Being sterile

From this list of arthritis symptoms, you can see that many symptoms relate to your body being dry. One of the causes of arthritis is the lack of essential oils. If you lack oil in your body, you will have dryness throughout your body. You will lack the oil that provides the lubrication to the body joints.

You can have one or many of these arthritis symptoms. If you do, you can start at any age using the oils good for preventing arthritis. You can start eliminating those foods that are detrimental to your joints and health. Some times it takes awhile to eliminate specific foods from you eating habits. So the sooner you start the better.

Without the proper oil reaching your joints, your joints will slowly degrade. The cartilage of your joints will be dry and this causes friction. This friction causes heat that will help in the slow degradation of your joints. Because the cartilage has no blood vessels, nutritional oils cannot be directly delivered its cells. Oils have to be absorbed into the cartilage by osmosis.

Look over this list of arthritis symptoms and decide if you have one or more. Remember, arthritis takes many years to appear after the symptom does.

Searching for Osteoarthritis Pain Relief?

Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is a wear and tear disease of the joints typically seen in the older adult (usually over 60 years of age). Cartilage within the joints breaks down causing pain as the bones rub against each other. Osteoarthritis is commonly found in the knees, hips, hands, spine, and feet.

Obesity is a risk factor for developing osteoarthritis in the knees and hips. These weight bearing joints carry much of the weight causing increased wear and tear. Weight loss can significantly reduce the chance of developing osteoarthritis and can alleviate pain in people who currently have osteoarthritis.

Currently osteoarthritis treatment is limited because no medications are capable of preventing or retarding the disease process. Osteoarthritis treatment involves focusing on pain relief, the maintenance of quality of life, and functional independence. Let us take a look at some of the treatments that currently exist for osteoarthritis.

Many doctors recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) as the initial analgesic (pain medication) of choice for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Acetaminophen has very few side effects. When using acetaminophen as a pain reliever, remember to follow the directions correctly. Acetaminophen is commonly overused by patients. You are recommended to not exceed 4,000 mg of acetaminophen in a twenty-four hour period. Acetaminophen is metabolized or processed by the liver. Excess acetaminophen can cause damage to the liver. Acetaminophen is also found in other pain medications such as Darvocet, Percocet, and Tylenol Cold. In fact, acetaminophen is found in quite a few prescription pain medications.

Traditionally NSAID's (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have been useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis associated pain. One major concern with the use of NSAID's is irritation to the stomach lining. In more severe cases, gastrointestinal bleeds or ulcers may form. NSAID's can affect the body's blood clotting ability and interfere with kidney function. NSAID's should always be taken with food to decrease stomach irritation or upset. Do not drink alcohol while taking NSAID's. However, these drugs should not be taken for extended periods of time unless directed otherwise by a qualified medical provider. Some common types of NSAID's are ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin.

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors (COX-2 inhibitors) are a class of NSAID's. COX-2 inhibitors suppress arthritis pain much the same way but with less stomach irritation. Many of us know of COX-2 inhibitors but not by this name. Vioxx (refecoxib), Celebrex (celecoxib), and Bextra (valdecoxib) are COX-2 inhibitors. Vioxx and Bextra have been removed from the market. These drugs can significantly increase the risk for stroke and heart attack. Celebrex remains on the market but does have a black box warning stipulating this drug also can increase the risk for cardiovascular events and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Capsaicin (Capsagel, Zostrix) which is derived from chili peppers can be applied topically for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain. Capsaicin will cause vasodilation, itching, and burning to the skin but after repeated applications desensitization will occur, decreasing one's pain. Methyl salicylate creams such as Ben-gay can also be used for osteoarthritis pain. Studies have shown that oral glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have a mild to moderate analgesic effect with arthritis.

For osteoarthritis patients who cannot tolerate their pain, glucocorticoid injections may be done. Glucocorticoids are similar to the hormone cortisol in the body. Glucocorticoids help alleviate pain by decreasing inflammation and swelling within the joint. Side effects are typically seen if you receive these injections too frequently.

Hyaluronan (viscosupplementation) injections can be injected directly into the joint for treatment of osteoarthritis. This medication helps supplement the synovial fluid. The synovial fluid is a lubricating fluid allowing the bones to move smoothly within the joint. This injection should relieve pain and improve your mobility of the joint. This treatment involves 3-5 shots within 5 weeks. You may experience pain and swelling after the injections but this should dissipate. Reduced osteoarthritis pain may last up to 6 months.

For patients that have decreased function and mobility of the joint, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical involvement should also be considered in patients whose pain has progressed to unacceptable levels. However, good surgical candidates are usually considered ideal for surgery. Certain health conditions can affect post-operative rehabilitation and healing. Surgery can hold just as much of a health risk as medications have side effects.

Osteoarthritis is not curable but there is hope for the future with advancements in medicine. Along with the above treatments for pain management, it is also important to remain active and healthy. Exercising regularly can help maintain mobility of the joint. Exercise also creates natural pain relievers such as endorphins. Pain may be a part of osteoarthritis, but pain doesn't have to be a part of your life!

Copyright 2006 Kristy Haugen

Natural Arthritis Relief - Arthritis Water Exercise

Hydrotherapy is often considered as the most successful therapy for arthritis. Water provides more resistance as compared to air and helps in restoring joint pain problems. The buoyancy in water supports the weight of the body and reduces pressure on joints. Arthritis is a very common problem and permanent solution is always suggested for arthritis. These exercises are very simple and if you spend around 20 minutes on them daily or thrice weekly, it will definitely help you. There is a common myth that the problem of arthritis can not be solved by exercising, but the reality is just the reverse.

If you follow moderate exercises suggested by an expert and you stick to them, gradually you will notice a change. The best way is to start with stretching exercises for few weeks and then slowly upgrading your exercise to endurance and weight based regime. Try walking in water gently and after gathering a little more energy try cycling in water. The pain involved in the process cannot be ignored and that is why some people refrain from doing arthritis water exercises. Consult a physical therapist before taking up any exercise routine as they can guide you regarding the techniques and methods to avoid pain.

Occupational therapist should also be kept in the loop, just in case you want to reduce the stress caused by daily activities. Water based exercises are suggested by many experts, as they know that the results are favorable. Most experts also believe that warm water gives a soothing effect to the joints and facilitate a lot in relieving stress from concerned areas. Aerobic exercises which are done in water helps larger muscles to relax like the muscles in your legs.

As water gives natural resistance and this resistance will help in making your muscles and joints strong. A fifteen minutes walk under water will definitely show positive results. There are devices like noodles which are pulled up from you waist, to the level of your head. This assists giving strength to the joints and the muscles. These noodles are held under water and you have to lift it up against gravity plus the natural water resistance. Initially, you can keep it to your stomach length under water, so that you don't experience any pain later.

Cycling under water is another form of exercise that definitely makes the lower portion of your body worked out. You can take the support of the edge of the pool and lift your legs a little upwards and try to make complete cyclic motions under water. Aspects that should be kept in mind, before doing this exercise are often related to pain. Patients, usually consider that it will be more painful to perform exercises while suffering from arthritis. A proper check up and consultation is always advised before exercises. The exercises should be done under the guidance of an expert and when you gather confidence, you can do them alone as well. Walking in water, doing cyclic motions and noodle based lifts will ensure speedy results.

Psoriatic Arthritis - Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis. Joint pain, swelling and inflammation, in addition to the symptoms of psoriasis, are characteristic of this condition which has a tendency to show alternating periods of exacerbation and remissions. Both diseases are auto immune disorders, in which the immune system of the body turns on itself and starts affecting healthy tissue. Genetics, environment and a tumor necrosis factor appear to play a positive role in psoriatic arthritis. This condition is seen more often in the age from 30 to 50.

The Ayurvedic treatment of psoriatic arthritis is aimed at treating the symptoms of both diseases and correcting the immune dysfunction in the body. For pain and swelling in the joints, medicines like Yograj-Guggulu, Triphala-Guggulu, Kaishor-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Vish-Tinduk-Vati, Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Dashmoolarishta and Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) are used. Local treatment includes local application of medicines and medicated steam fomentation. Vishgarbha oil, Mahanarayan oil and Mahasaindhav oil are used for local application on the affected joints. This is followed by a procedure called 'Naadi-Sweda', in which the steam of decoctions of Nirgundi-Qadha and Dashmool-Qadha is directed at the swollen and painful joints.

Once pain and swelling in the joints has been controlled, further treatment is directed towards controlling both the arthritis as well as psoriasis. Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Trayodashang-Guggulu and Kaishor-Guggulu are medicines which are equally effective in both arthritis as well as skin conditions like psoriasis. In addition, other medicines are used to treat psoriasis such as Arogya-Vardhini, Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Khadeerarishta, Gandhak-Rasayan, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus) and Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa).

Both arthritis and psoriasis are precipitated by stress. In order to control this, medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Sarpagandha (Raulwofia serpentina) and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) are used. In addition, both diseases are caused by a disturbed immune system. To improve the immune status of the body, medicines like Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Suvarna-Parpati, Suvarna-Raj-Vangeshwar-Ras, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba) and Bala (Sida cordifolia) are used.

It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to adapt to this condition. Regular exercise and stress management are also very important. Yogic asanas and pranayam can help to keep the mind and body fit and healthy. Some 'Panchkarma' procedures like blood-letting can also help in the management of this condition.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriasis is an unfortunately common skin condition. It causes skin redness, silver-white patches called scales, and irritation. It is most commonly seen on the elbows, knees, and trunk of the body, but can it can literally be anywhere, including the scalp and even genitals. In severe cases, such as when it covers the entire body, hospitalization may be required but treatment is usually at home for example using creams and moisturizers. It can come and go in some people. For example I had it on my arm an elbow concurrently with pneumonia, however it's now gone hopefully to never return!

Roughly 10% of psoriasis sufferers suffer from joint pain or aching, which is known as psoriatic arthritis. It can go into remission, remain mild, or in some cases result in major disability. If it progresses, it can be treated with NSAIDs, non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, or with some of the medications used for rheumatoid arthritis which similarly involves inflammation of the joints.

There are also some new drugs available that show a lot of promise. They are called biologics, and they block proteins which the medical profession believes is involved in the inflammation. Two of these are Remicade (generic name infliximab) and Enbral (generic name etanercept). Remicade is applied in a series of infusions and Enbral is injected, often self-injected at home. These new medicines unfortunately are expensive and can run upwards or ten thousand dollars a year. As always, it's questionable whether your insurance will cover and medical procedure or treatment.

Should you suspect psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, of course contact your doctor. Unless medically trained, do not self diagnose.

Types of Arthritis and Treatments

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases that occur globally. The term arthritis is a general term that is used for almost a group of 100 diseases. These diseases bear some similar characteristics like inflammation and pain in joints. Arthritis word is a Greek word that literally means inflammation in joints. Though some people suffering from arthritis might not complain inflammation in the joint but the common complain is discomfort in joint.

Out of these 100, major three occurring arthritic conditions are

(a) Osteoarthritis - it is a condition in which the cartilaginous tissue that is present in the joint gets converted to bony structures. Due to this body tissue formation the movement of the joints gets restricted and there is severe pain in the joint on movement. In ayurvedic terminology it is known as sandhi gata vata and is caused due to vata vitiation in the body.

(b) Gout - gout is a disease that is commonly seen in rich people due to their luxurious life style. This disease occurs due to life style disorders and commonly seen in people who lacks physical activities in their life style. In these diseases the serum uric acid gets increased and due to this its crystal formation occurs that ultimately settles in the joints. As the joint space gets occupied with these crystals of uric acid. On movement, these crystals hinder the free movement of the joint. In ayurveda this situation is called as vata Rakta.

(c) Rheumatoid arthritis - it is a condition in which our immune system attacks our own body. It is an autoimmune disease that can lead to the joint inflammation. Some times the surrounding tissues also get inflamed. In ayurveda it is known as aamvata. It happens due to vata vitiation in the body. It causes severe pain in joints and very often swelling is present.


· Pain in joints

· Inflammation

· Restricted movements

· Arthritis initiates in small joints first

· Joint is warm

· Generally red color is seen on the affected joint

Home remedies for arthritis

Below are some of the home remedies that are very effective in treating arthritis.

· Rub the castor oil on the affected joint to get instant relief from pain. Castor is known as errand in ayurveda. It is helpful in suppressing pain as castor is vata suppressant.

· Ashwagandha is an herb that is very effective in suppressing pain and reducing inflammation in the joint.

· Garlic is also very effective in suppressing pain and reduces the inflammation of the joint.

· Shallaki an ayurvedic herb also is one of the best pain reliever in the arthritic condition. It is also helpful in reducing the swellings on the joint.

· 2 table spoon of lemon mixed with the honey and is then taken with a cup of warm water gives immense relief in arthritic pain.

· Mix a spoon of cod liver oil in a glass full of freshly derived orange juice is also an effective remedy for treating joint pains and arthritis

· Half tea spoon of turmeric powder is taken in warm milk is very effective remedy in treating arthritis

· You can immerse the joint in the hot water and can move the joint in it.

· Hot vinegar can be applied on the affected joint to get the instant relief.

· The joint can be rubbed with a mixture of two parts of olive oil and kerosene oil. It is an effective treatment for getting instant relief from arthritis.

Arthritis and Dogs

Did you know that one out of five adult pets in the United States
suffer from one form or another of arthritis?

We have approximately 80 million cats and dogs living in our homes and considering that number we have a great many suffering pets. Pets that have no real way of letting us know that they hurt.

This knowledge is actually "food for thought" when it comes to changes in behavior patterns of our senior pets.

Pain certainly causes our behavior to change in many ways; we get grumpy, snarl, lash out at others and just plain complain.

Our pets cannot talk, but some do actually change their behavior and this is when "knowing your pet" is important. By knowing your pet, it is possible to tell if only by observation that something is amiss and a possible trip to the vet is necessary.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is joint inflammation and degeneration. It is a general term for abnormal changes in a joint.

Many things can cause arthritis such as; an infection that can cause tissue destruction, congenital defects, stress and trauma and even a lack of certain nutrients in a pet's diet.

Some researchers feel it is a hereditary disposition, or it can be attributed to aging, excessive weight and genetic abnormalities that produce the cartilage.

Are there different types of arthritis?

There are several types of arthritis caused by different types of situations:
  • Traumatic arthritis shows up as a swelling or lameness usually caused by an accident or fall and may require surgery,

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is caused when your pet's immune system attacks the joint or joints. The cause of this is still unknown.

  • Hypertrophic arthritis is caused by the formation of bone spurs that grow causing the joints to not move smoothly. The joints feel like they are being poked by something sharp. It is very painful to both dogs and humans. It is usually caused by a trauma to the joint or joints.

  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is the most common form of arthritis, which is the breakdown in the cartilage cushion in the joints. This can cause intermittent pain for the pet. It is a slow progressive disease.

  • Hip dysplasia is a form of osteoarthritis. Hip dysplasia is the abnormal development of the hips, which results in an increasing amount of looseness in the hip joint. Dogs can suffer from degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) that is not caused by hip dysplasia or they can suffer with it because they have hip dysplasia.

    These are just a few of the different forms of arthritis that exist.

    What are some of the subtle symptoms to look for:

  • In smaller dogs, a whimper or growl when picked up or handled.

  • A lack of motivation to move.

  • Stiffness when walking, getting up or down.

  • Avoiding getting up on the bed, couch, chair or climbing stairs.

  • Hiding or disappearing out of sight.

  • Whining or crying for what appears to be no reason at all.

  • Changes in behavior patterns.

  • Sleeping more than usual.

    What are some of the contributing causes?
    Overweight: One of the major causes of degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a dog being overweight. The excessive weight puts a great deal of stress on the joints. This is especially true if your dog is predisposed to hip dysplasia or has the problem. Keeping your dog's weight at what is normal for its breed is important, along with making certain your dog is getting all the proper nutrients its body requires.

    Proper exercise: If your dog is predisposed to hip dysplasia limit its exercise to long walks, swimming, and very short runs. Do not put excess pressure on your dog's limbs.

    The same is true with puppies, do not exercise your young puppy by making it jump or do any exercise that puts stress on its young bones. If you do, the dog may pay for it, as it grows older with DJD.

    Agility training should be done for short periods of time and with a warm up period before starting the exercises.

    Diet: It may be hard to believe, but diet plays an important part in a possible avoidance of arthritis, not only in our pets, but for us also. A diet that is rich in the Omega 3 fatty acids plays an extremely important part in warding off some causes of arthritis. There are substances that all mammals (pets and people) need to make their bodies function properly, that are not manufactured by the body and the Omega 3 fatty acids are needed to carry out this job. So be certain that your pet gets an ample supply either from the food it eats or from a good supplement.

    Treatment: Before taking any steps in treating your pet, always consult your animal care practitioner. Be wary of over the counter adult human treatments, as not all can be used on dogs.

    Cats can suffer from arthritis as well as dogs. Cats require special consideration as their physical makeup requires only certain types of medication. Do not give a cat any aspirin or other types of over the counter drugs.

    There are nutritional supplements on the market made especially for cats and dogs that can be given on a daily basis that will help maintain a healthy joint system from young to senior cats and dogs.

    It is said that liquid products are better than pills as the liquid gets into the blood stream faster to do its work. That is fine if you can get your pet to cooperate and your pet is willing to take the dose without waste. For most of us pills seem to be easier, with the exception of cats - I find an eyedropper and liquid easier here.

    Before doing any "self prescribed" medicating for your pet, always get the advice of your pet's vet or animal care practitioner.

    One of the first things to consider when your pet starts showing signs of arthritis is to begin giving a supplement of glucosamine and chondroitin. This supplement helps, by not only helping to reduce symptoms, but helps to rebuild the cartilage and restore fluid. There are many brands on the market, find one that also has MSM in it. You may have to try several before you find the right one for your pet.

    Some say eliminating grains from a dog's diet helps enough, that nothing more needs to be done. While others claim white potatoes, tomatoes, egg plant and peppers aggravate an arthritic condition.

    There are many anti-inflammatory supplements on the market with the omega 3 fish oils being a leading contender. Be certain not to use "liver oil," as that is very high in vitamins A and D. If you decide to use the fish oils be certain to also give your pet vitamin E as the fish oils deplete vitamin E from the body.

    Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments also work in some cases with pets.

    Warmth is also an added plus, sleeping on concrete or a cold floor will only add to your dog's misery. There are many insulated dog beds on the market and some that can be heated. Just be certain the cords cannot be chewed.

    Dogs with arthritis can live long and healthy lives with a little help from their friends and as a dog owner you owe it to your pet to be as helpful as you can be.

  • Why Do I Experience Joint Pain After Exercise And How Can I Stop This From Happening?

    If you routinely suffer from joint pain after exercise sessions, you need to know that you are most definitely not the only one. Millions of people, both young and old, end up with painful joints after they have been doing exercise, although it is of course more prevalent amongst people over the age of forty.

    As is to be expected, the pain can range from mild to severe, regardless of the type of exercise one is doing. In elderly people, arthritis is very often the culprit, but not always. Certain medications can also cause joint pain, although many doctors are reluctant to acknowledge this.

    Statins are a good example of drugs than can cause joint discomfort. You probably would not see mention of this in the list of possible side effects, but it does happen. There are tens of thousands of people who have begun experiencing joint pain shortly after their doctors have put them on statins in order to lower their cholesterol levels.

    Coincidentally, patients will usually first begin feeling joint pain after exercise, but then as time passes, the pain tends to become more and more consistent until eventually they have to take medication for the pain as well. Although people can have high cholesterol at any age, it is usually older people who are affected the most, and of course this makes it easy for doctors to blame arthritis for any joint pain.

    Having said all that, arthritis is of course the biggest culprit, and it is certainly responsible in the vast majority of cases. I would even go as far as saying that if you have not sustained any injuries, and you are not taking any prescription drugs, then it is almost certainly arthritis that's causing the pain you are experiencing.

    Some forms of arthritis can progress very quickly if left unchecked, and they can have a severe impact on the quality of your life. If you suspect that you may have arthritis, it is imperative that you see a doctor for advice as soon as possible. If your suspicions are confirmed, you will be given prescription drugs which are actually quite effective at slowing the disease down, and you will be given medication for the pain.

    Naturally there are countless people who try to avoid prescription drugs whenever possible, and many have found they are able to control their arthritis with natural remedies, and with the help of certain exercises. New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel extract is said to be very effective, and many people combine this with a daily fish oil supplement as well.

    All people are different, so just because a particular remedy works for one person, that does not necessarily mean it will definitely work for you. If you try this approach, and you find it does not provide the type of results you want, just move on and try something else.

    Yuca (Cassava) Root Can Help Arthritis

    I love 99.99% of fruits and vegetables, but this one is in the 00.01% for me. However, I do know a lot of people who really enjoy this vegetable, each to their own. It is a good source of B3 (helps to lower cholesterol), plus iron and calcium. Yuca is a root vegetable with a rough hard thick brown covering, a little like bark. The inside is hard, white and dense, it's quite heavy. Similar to the potato in that it must be cooked before you eat it. It is quite a lot starchier than the potato and a tad sweeter.

    This is not to be confused with the yucca plant - yuccas are widely grown as an ornamental plant in gardens or indoor house plants in cooler climates. Some will bear edible parts - like fruits, seeds, and flowers or stems , but not the edible roots we are talking about here. The yucca plant has long blade like leaves growing from a central point from the ground, similar in configuration as the aloe vera plant (but with softer leaves). The yucca plant is like a small tree, with three medium oval shape blades on each small stem.

    The yuca root contains high levels of a phyto-compound, called saponins which acts as a natural steroid. When the compound is extracted from the yuca it makes a perfect natural soap or shampoo.

    How do these compounds affect our health when we consume them? These saponins are similar to steroids. They help to reduce inflammation of the joints particularly and in the body in general. Yuca is often included in formulas for inflammatory conditions like arthritic and rheumatoid conditions. It has been reported that yuca has the ability to break up mineral and inorganic deposits. What does this mean? It helps to break down or prevent the built up of calcification of kidney stones, gall bladder stones or calcification of joints. And due to its anti-inflammatory properties it can also help conditions like an inflamed prostate. However, no one plant should be seen as the be all and end all - it should be consumed along with a whole host of other plants.

    Yuca has a positive affect on encouraging the action of the 'good guys' the friendly intestinal bacteria, which in turn aids the proper digestion of food and prevents the 'bad guys' from flourishing. In research it has been shown that the high content of saponins in this plant when ingested stay in the intestines and act on the intestinal flora helping to regulate the balance, stimulating the friendly normal flora and inhibiting others.
    In the US much research is being carried out on the use of saponins from the yuca on its use in sewage treatment plants to breakdown organic waste faster, also on farm and factory waste.

    When we eat foods (beans and lentils) or herbs (alfalfa, fenugreek, garlic or tribulus) that are high in saponins they stimulate better absorption of vitamins and minerals and decrease the amount of toxins we absorb. This helps to put less of a strain on our already over worked detoxification organs. So with more nutrients absorbed, an increased action of anti-inflammation, improved immune system, better functioning organs - conditions like arthritis and other degenerative diseases improve. The saponins provide a more alkaline environment (most people's systems are too acidic these days) aiding the digestive tract improving digestion, reducing incomplete digestion and decomposition in the colon which causes unpleasant smelling gases.

    The common potato has the opposite effect to yuca, the potato is part of the Solanaceae family, and contains plant compounds that encourages pain and inflammation, another main member of this infamous family is the tomato! Many people have found their aches and pains have improved by eliminating tomatoes, a long with eating healthier. The other attribute yuca has, is its rich source of absorb-able manganese, this helps in the process of repairing joints. Researchers have looked closely at this plants action and its affect on joints and cartilage, the amazing steroid like saponins strengthen the bowel flora of the intestines, breaking down organic body wastes like uric acid (which causes pain) and cleansing mineral deposits that might exist in the joints.

    Native Americans used the soapy leaves from yuca for numerous conditions. Poultices or baths were used for skin sores and other diseases as well as for sprains. Certainly used in all sorts of inflammatory conditions.

    Other uses - it acts as an astringent so will help to reduce bleeding. Some people find it extremely helpful as a mild laxative, encouraging bowel movements.

    How to use yuca? Any recipe that calls for potatoes you can be substituted with yucca, just needs more cooking. First, peel of the rough brown skin, cut open and remove the hard core.

    Boquete Bash
    2lbs fresh yuca
    Milk or you can use rice or soy milk
    1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
    ½ cup of chopped cilantro

    A squeeze of lemon
    Salt and pepper to taste

    A little extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil (optional)

    Peel the yuca, cut into thick chunks. Cooking time is longer than for potatoes - cover with water and boil until soft. Drain completely (save the boiled water for soups etc) and add milk, garlic, cilantro, the squeeze of lemon, oil (optional), pepper, and salt. Mash and combine all the ingredients, add more milk if you need to, and serve with your favorite meat stew.

    Juvenille Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that attacks the joints in the body, causing inflammation and pain. It can affect anyone at any age. Children are no exception to rheumatoid arthritis. In children, this chronic disease is called as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and it also causes inflamed and stiff joints.

    Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis mostly affects children below the age of 16. Unlike the rheumatoid arthritis of adults, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a group of several diseases. The only common characteristic of the adult and child rheumatoid arthritis is the "inflammation of joints and pain".

    Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a collective disease. The three identified forms are pauciarticular, polyarticular and systemic. In pouciarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a child may suffer from inflammation in few joints such as the knee and shoulder. If it is polyarticular, then many joints get inflamed simultaneously, for example knees, wrists, elbows, and so on. Polyarticular rheumatoid arthritis attacks symmetrically; for example, the joints of the left and right hand become inflammation at the same time.

    Unlike pauciarticular and polyarticular, in systemic cases, parts of the body become affected along with the inflammation of some organs. Skin rashes, fever, inflammation of the joints and internal organs such as the spleen and liver may accompany systemic disease.

    The cause of the disease is unknown, even in the case of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The child complaining of joint pain is often examined to confirm for rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms include difficulty to get up after sitting down, pain in the mornings while waking up--everything that is caused by the stiffness and swelling of the joints. They are also asked for a family history of rheumatoid arthritis. Once the disease is suspected, preliminary tests are conducted to understand the intensity of the disease. On the basis of the test results, the child is given treatment and medication. While some have an easy recovery, others suffer from more complicated symptoms. Sometimes, in some children, the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis remain dormant for a period of time. It may suddenly emerge or "flare up" when the child least expects it.

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Arthritis Treatment: How to Treat Pain in the Top of the Foot

    Foot pain is ubiquitous in society since most people get around by walking.

    The foot consists of 26 bones which are held together with a complex arrangement of ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

    In addition, multiple nerves and blood vessels traverse the foot.

    While much attention is placed on disorders of the arch of the foot and the heel, the top of the foot is often the site of discomfort.

    The reason this area is susceptible to pain is because of the anatomy. In addition to being an area where many of the small bones of the foot interact, it is also a location where many of the critical nerves and blood vessels traverse.

    The most common cause of pain in the top of the foot is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a disorder due to derangement in cartilage metabolism. Cartilage is the gristle that provides the cushioning between bones.

    It consists of a matrix made up of collagen and proteoglycans. Proteoglycans are complexes of proteins and sugars. Within this matrix are cells called chondrocytes which help manufacture and nourish the matrix. When a trigger such as trauma occurs, there is a change in the complexion of cartilage. The chondrocytes begin to make destructive enzymes and the cartilage begins to wear away. The underlying bone starts to react by forming bony spurs. These spurs, particularly in the top of the foot, impinge upon nerves and blood vessels. The spurs also rub against each other leading to pain.

    Anything that magnifies this problem will also magnify the pain. For example, wearing shoes that compress the top of the foot can make pain in the top of the foot worse. The treatment here is, at least early on, to reduce the amount of pressure, use anti-inflammatory medicines either by mouth or topically, and possibly injections of glucocorticoid. Since this is an area where the joints are narrow and many blood vessels and nerves are located, it is best to use ultrasound guidance for injections.

    Since some spurs will continue to irritate nerves, sometimes the best treatment is to remove the spurs using a technique called tenotomy where a sharpened needle bevel is used to "chisel" the spurs, and then platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is used to heal the area. In our hands, this technique, again using ultrasound guidance, has been very successful.

    Another cause of pain in the top of the foot is gout. Gout is a metabolic disease due to the excessive accumulation of monosodium urate crystals. The treatment is to reduce the uric acid load in the body. This is best accomplished with a combination of dietary as medicine therapies.

    Tendonitis can also occur in the top of the foot. This is sometimes seen in people who have walked or run a long distance wearing tight shoes or other footwear that irritates the top of the foot.

    Dog Arthritis: Prevention, Treatment, And Prognosis

    Seeing your canine pal struggling to walk is difficult for any pet owner. You'll likely have a lot of questions: it is hip dysplasia? Is it ever going to go away? In many canines, the answer is quite different. Dog arthritis is a common problem, one that strikes young and old alike, causing painful movement due to inflammation in the joints.

    What Causes It?

    Veterinarians are not entirely sure what creates the problem in the first place. It can appear very differently, and often without warning. It can be slow-onset and grow worse over time in gradual increments, or it can suddenly appear in full force. It can occur in young dogs and old alike. Injuries to legs/joints are common predictors, but don't guarantee that it will appear.

    Dog arthritis occurs when, for whatever reason, the natural covering which prevents two bones from rubbing together at the joint begins to erode. This stops smooth functioning, and causes the bones to grate against each other. In normal situations, the covering would regenerate itself, but in some dogs (particularly those who are old or injured) it doesn't work. In fact, it tends to be a degenerative condition, meaning that once a pup is diagnosed they are likely to continue wearing down the covering and causing themselves even more pain.

    Examining Symptoms

    The most obvious symptoms are lameness or discomfort around a joint. The pain caused by the condition is typically exacerbated by movement, especially placing weight on the affected area. If your normally active pup becomes lethargic or refuses to get up, go up/down stairs, or jump for balls and toys, you should consider dog arthritis as a potential cause of the symptoms.

    Can It Be Reversed?

    Left completely untreated, dog arthritis will almost always degenerate. If your pup isn't replenishing the covering already, he's unlikely to do so in the future. However, there are several treatment options which can help restore this natural replenishment. Pet vitamins are one of the most popular because they don't involve giving your pup any drugs, have no side effects, and are less expensive than common vet medicines. Pet vitamins help support the immune system and encourage the body to return to health, which can re-start production of elements such as the joint covering.


    As with all conditions, your pup's individual medical history and current situation will determine his or her individual outlook. However, in general, dog arthritis is not fatal. However, without proper treatment, it is likely to continue degenerating and causing a lot of pain. Ultimately, your pup may become unable to walk on the leg where the pain is concentrated. It can become quite extreme if not addressed, but with proper pet vitamins and the potential for intervention by your veterinarian to help make your canine pal more comfortable, it is very possible to have your pet live a long and happy life even with arthritis.

    Yoga Can Help Ease the Pain and Discomfort of Arthritis

    The condition, which hinders movement in the joints of the body and the connecting tissues of the muscles, can cause pain and stiffness in those who are afflicted. Arthritis can affect job performance, relaxation and the overall quality of life.

    The Center for Disease Control reports that arthritis has been diagnosed in more than 46 million people in the U.S., affecting people of all race and ethnic categories. The risk of arthritis increases as we get older and affects more women than men.

    All of us probably know someone who suffers from a form of arthritis, or you may suffer from it yourself. But according to research, there may be an easy way to ease the discomfort and pain connected with arthritis: yoga.

    Although testing in this area is not extensive, yoga has still been found to have some positive effects, both psychological and physical, for the sufferers of arthritis. A report by the John Hopkins University Arthritis Center states that while research is minimal regarding yoga and its effect on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, the research that has been conducted is "promising" and shows "improvement in joint health, physical functioning and mental/emotional well being...Perhaps most importantly, yoga has an important positive effect on quality of life. People with arthritis may also enjoy yoga more than traditional forms of exercise...." The John Hopkins Arthritis Center goes on to say more than 75 scientific studies have been published on the effects of yoga, with all of them showing that yoga is a "safe and effective" way to increase muscle strength and improve flexibility, two areas that that should be of great interest to anyone suffering from arthritis.

    Regular physical activity, doctors agree, is an important part of the treatment of arthritis and may promote joint health. However, demanding exercise such as weight training and running, which put a great deal of stress on joints and muscles, may actually make the condition worse. Which makes an activity such as yoga the perfect solution to the quest for a physical exercise that is beneficial but not stressful to the body. Reports also state that arthritis patients who take up yoga quite often keep practicing it far longer than other forms of exercise, which is important to note when you consider studies that show approximately 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out within the first six months.

    Physicians also point to the mental benefits of practicing yoga with regards to arthritis. Faced with a condition that can greatly decrease mobility and activity, people afflicted with arthritis, particularly younger people, can develop feelings of depression. For people suffering from depression associated with the condition, doctors say, yoga can help them mentally as well as physically.

    Doctors report that yoga can give arthritis sufferers a mental clarity that can help them to develop positive energy and keep feelings of depression low. Yoga has also been proven to aid the immune system as well, which is a great benefit since some types of arthritis can affect the immune as well. Yoga, the doctors conclude, has a positive effect on the overall quality of a patient's life.

    Doctors and yoga instructors point out that there are certain poses and movements that arthritis sufferers should avoid. Arthritis patients should restrict backbends to small movements and be mindful not to hyperextend their neck by keeping their head in line with their spinal column. Arthritis sufferers should use caution when performing hip-related poses (hip openers), including those poses that call for extreme external rotation of the hips. In short, doctors and yoga instructors recommend that if you are experiencing pain, stop. Those who suffer from arthritis should use restraint during their first yoga session and be aware of any pain or discomfort they may feel the next day; it's not uncommon to not feel pain until the day after a yoga session. If an arthritis patient feels no pain after their first yoga session, they may choose to slowly increase the depth and intensity of the movement.

    If you are an arthritis sufferer, consult with your doctor about how yoga can benefit you in alleviating the pain and discomfort of your condition.

    Discover The Best Supplement for Joint Pain

    Millions of people all over the world suffer from joint pain. Trying to find the best supplement for joint pain will take some research and trial and error. However, there are natural supplements that will work to ease your arthritis pain quite easily.

    Arthritis pain develops when the sac found in the joint areas become filled with fluid. Arthritis pain is directly related to inflammation of the joints, so it is essential to find the right treatment to ease the pain.

    Fish oil is a good supplement for joint pain. Fish oils high in DHA fatty acids help relieve the pain in your joints because of the process of conversion it goes through in the body. DHA is converted in the body to a very powerful anti-inflammatory chemical which is known as Resolving D2. Due to the fact that arthritis is strongly associated with inflammation, any supplement containing anti-inflammatory properties will provide great benefit to alleviate arthritis pain.

    Multivitamins are great for helping alleviate the pain in your joints. Vitamins such as the following help reduce swelling and pain caused by inflammation.

    Vitamins B3 and B6 help reduce tissue swelling. They work very well together to alleviate pain in the joints. They also help improve blood circulation.

    Vitamin C act as an anti-inflammatory and helps relieve joint pain.

    Vitamin E works to improve flexibility in the joint and protects joints from destructive free radicals.

    Due to the many negative side effects of prescription medications many people are turning to natural supplements as a means of relieving pain and other types of illnesses. There are many different types of arthritis, the most common of which are Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. These can be extremely painful, causing anyone suffering from arthritis to be unable to perform their normal daily functions.

    Another supplement that is great for joint pain is cherry. Naturally juiced cherries contains lots of magnesium and potassium which act as pain reliever and diuretic to help lower inflammation by getting rid of fluid buildup in the tissues.

    Molasses has been used for centuries to cure aches and pains. Dissolve molasses in water and drink a small glass each morning. Molasses is a great source of potassium, minerals, magnesium and iron which works extremely well in eliminating joint pain.

    Dandelion leaves are also a well-known source for easing pain in the joint. It contains a high-level of Vitamins A and C. It also helps the body repair tissues which have become damaged. Dandelion leaves can be eaten in salads when picked fresh or can be saut矇ed or steamed. Dandelion leaves can also be used as a tea. Just add a few leaves in boiling water and let it brew.

    Finding the best supplement for joint pain is not difficult if you know what to look for. Look for Vitamins such as Vitamins B5, C, K and E to reduce inflammation of the joint. Taking the daily recommended dosage of these Vitamin supplements will help not only with joint pain, but will keep you healthy and living a life free from pain. Along with the best supplement for joint pain it is also important to eat healthy meals and exercise. Keeping your body healthy and free from pain is something we can all strive for.

    Signs You Need a Knee Replacement

    What are the signs you may need knee replacement surgery? Knee replacement surgery has a long recovery process and the physiotherapy can be extremely painful at times. Although, if the quality of life has deteriorated due to a lack of mobility, knee arthritis or knee pain, it may be time to consider surgery. The National Institutes of Health reported knee replacement improves the quality of life and mobility in over 90% of the patients. Knee joint replacement is the most performed joint replacement surgery done today. Many people continue to suffer knee arthritis because it is difficult to know if surgery is needed.

    There are simple signs that may mean you need a knee replaced. One indication is if the pain in the knee keeps you awake at night, or causes you to wake up when you roll over. If the problem persists for more than a couple of days you should consult your doctor. The knee arthritis pain in your knee may limit your activities, particularly if walking half a mile can be too painful to bear. If the pain persists, even after other forms of treatment, then you speak to your doctor. Just stiffness in the knees or the occasional sharp pain does not mean you need full or partial knee joint replacement surgery. Try doing some light stretches and walking. If the symptoms ease than you probably just need some recovery time.

    If you have knee arthritis, surgery might be a viable option. Arthritis is actually an inflamed joint. People think of arthritis as an abnormal growth of cartilage or when the cartilage has worn away, causing inflammation around the joint. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. This results in the cartilage wearing away until the bare bone is exposed. This type of arthritis in the knee can definitely benefit from knee replacement.

    The conditions that can be treated with full or partial knee replacement surgery are: severe osteoarthritis, Ligament damage, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, crystal deposition diseases, avascular necrosis and bone dysplasias. Some of these can be resolved with partial knee replacement, which is much less invasive and provides for a faster recovery. In the case of arthritis, crystal deposition, avascular necrosis and bone dysplasias, partial replacement would only be a stopgap measure. If you have any of the above-mentioned signs it may be time to speak to your doctor.

    Osteoarthritis-Management With Yoga

    According to Ayurveda, an integrated system of living, the imbalance of Vata dosha is the chief cause of Osteoarthritis (Sandhigata) which gives raise to inflammation and pain in the joints.

    Accumulated negative toxins called ama (undigested waste) in the colon which occurs due to the emotional and physical disturbances when settled in the joints give rise to OA.

    Yoga tries to the manage this degenerative disease by including all spheres viz., physical-mental-moral-spiritual in the following manner.

    ** Stressed life, worries, tiredness, disturbed sleep leads to a state of improper digestion and yoga helps one to overcome all these.

    ** The mild body movements and gentle pressures of the yogic postures keeps the affected joints mobile and prevents further damage and reduces pain. Stretching postures done with rhythming breathing techniques helps one to relax and release the muscles that are crumpled around the joints.

    ** When the patient experience pain due to inflammation in the joints, pranayama (breathing technique) is to be practiced as it removes the accumulated toxins leading to reduction in pain, after which one can do sun salutation. First do the warm up exercises then hold a posture that helps in building strength and flexibility of the body and finally do the Shavasana (relaxation pose).

    ** Strength building asanas build muscles around the joints and helps in nourishing it. Flexibility yielding asanas open up the joints and increase the blood, oxygen and energy circulation. Shavasana done after the above two asanas is used to rejunevate to heal the body based on the energy one has acquired from above postures.

    ** Energizing and warming pranayama like Kapalabhati pranayama and Ujjayi Pranayam are highly recommended. Asanas for hip OA are Virabhadrasana, Parsvottanasana, Vrkasana Utthita Trikonasana etc.,

    ** Cyclic yoga exercises based on Suryanamaskara, burn extra calories. Abdominal exercises improves digestion. Yogic postures along with breathing exercises makes an physiological and psychological impact. Then do Shavasana which helps in regulating the mind. This sequence in doing asanas helps one to restore the balance of vata dosha thereby treating OA at its origin.

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Apple Cider Vinegar and Arthritis

    As well as being traditionally used as a weight loss supplement, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has many properties that are valuable to the relief of arthritis. The goody bag of minerals and vitamins that naturally make ACV special include:

    •vitamin C
    •vitamin A
    •vitamin E
    •vitamin B1
    •vitamin B2
    •vitamin B6

    Of the above list of 17 ingredients, no fewer than 10 are specifically beneficial to arthritis. They are:

    •Potassium (KBr) Aids tissue repair and helps to ease stiff joints.

    •Calcium (Ca) Helps to maintain healthy bones and is beneficial in the prevention of Osteoporosis.

    •Phosphorus (P) Plays an important role in the repair of cells and tissues.

    •Copper (Cu) Strengthens the musculatory system and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system.

    •Iron (Fe) Iron deficiency is a common factor in restless leg syndrome, a side effect of Fibromyalgia. It provides strength to the immune system, and is useful in the treatment of insomnia, a common side-effect of all forms of arthritis.

    •Silicon (Sn) Aids flexibility of joints in the production of collagen. It also improves the quality of nails which is an important factor of Psoriatic Arthritis.
    •Vitamin C Aids cellular repair and helps the body to absorb iron.

    •Vitamin A Also known as Beta Carotene helps the function of the immune system.

    •Vitamin B1 Also known as Thiamine, promotes good cognitive function, this is beneficial to Fibromyalgia and Lupus sufferers. Thiamine deficiency can lead to depression.

    •Vitamin B6 Also known as Pyridoxine is valuable for the nerves which is excellent news for sufferers of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It is also valuable to the function of the immune system.

    As well as the usual joint pain and bone damage arthritis carries many forms and attacks its victims in many different ways. This can be anything from anaemia, which is common to rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to migraine in lupus sufferers and uveitis (a painful eye condition) in ankylosing spondylitis.

    Below are listed a few forms of arthritis that benefit from the use of apple cider vinegar, and a very brief description of each condition. More information can be gained from

    Ankylosing Spondylitis - is a genetic autoimmune disease that mainly affects younger men usually in the spine.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - the nerves in the wrist become compressed and cause inflammation and pain.

    Fibromyalgia - is a chronic condition that causes widespread joint pain throughout the body.

    Gout - caused by uric acid building up and entering the bloodstream where it is deposited as crystals in the extremities, usually the big toe causing extreme pain.

    Lupus - is an auto-immune disease that has genetic links and has many symptoms.

    Psoriatic Arthritis - associated with the skin condition psoriasis, is a chronic and painful form of widespread erosive arthritis.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis - is a genetic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain in joints.

    It is important when buying ACV that the 'mother' of the vinegar is present. The 'mother' is actually the aceatobactors in the vinegar that are relevant to the vinegar making process. It is full of living bacteria and active enzymes and nutrients that are vital to the restorative properties of the vinegar. It rests as a sediment in the bottom of the bottle and looks like tiny brown cob-webs when held up to the light. Don't let this put you off! It's the best bit and when shaken the vinegar should look murky and browny-yellow coloured. The clear vinegars are only good for putting onto chips.

    There are several ways to take ACV. It is important to know that you should NEVER DRINK NEAT ACV. For a start it tastes as bad as it smells, plus it can burn your throat and take the enamel off your teeth!

    The easiest and manly way is to add to water 4:1, that's 4 parts water and 1 part ACV. The nicest way is to add a little honey to sweeten the mix a little. As the saying goes a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine to go down! The good news is it's also available in tablet and capsule form; I can't vouch for their effectiveness without the 'mother' though.

    Hippocrates, the 'Father of Medicine' was said to have taken cider vinegar with honey for its health benefits way back in 400 BC. So if it was good enough for him...

    Orthovisc: Stop Osteoarthritis Without Surgery

    Knee osteoarthritis is the progressive deterioration of the joints and cartilage brought about by the daily grinding and friction of bones. A normal joint have adequate supply of synovial fluid that cushions the cartilage and allows the bones to smoothly slide. Old age decreases the amount of synovial fluid in between the bones and it eventually results to osteoarthritis. There are other options on how to treat and manage osteoarthritis other than weight management (diet and low impact exercise), physical therapy and taking of mild pain relievers.

    Some patients take nutritional supplements such as glucosamine (animo acids that repair the cartilage), chondroitin (a form of natural sugar that helps strengthens the cartilage) and methylsulfonylmethane (natural sulfur that is anti-inflammatory found in plants). They take these supplements in conjunction with their lifestyle change program. If the ailment continues to worsen health providers will generally recommend surgery (arthroscopy, osteotomy and knee replacement). For those who are not yet ready or do not want to have knee surgery they opt to have viscosupplementary shots such as Orthovisc or Anika Orthovisc.

    Viscossupplementary shots work by supplementing the synovial fluids present in between the knee joints to reduce pain on the knees; for the patient to be mobile and be able to resume normal activities.

    Orthovisc: A Review

    There are other viscosupplementation drugs available such as Synvisc, Eufexxa and Halgan, but Orthovisc is the most preferred because it contains high molecular weight hyaluran that did not come from avian sources (birds). Therefore, it is safe to use for those who have allergies to eggs and chicken. It was approved by the FDA in February 2, 2005. Its effects will last for six months. There are no serious side effects reported about this drug except for slight pain on the injected area and inflammation which will go away in few days naturally. The shots will be given for 3-4 weeks with 7 days interval. Gradually the knee pain will diminish and patient would be able to walk around with no more pain for 6 months.

    It is possible to buy Orthovisc online at the lowest discounted rate. is an online wholesaler of orthopedic and cosmetic medicines. This company sells Orthovisc from Canada and other brand name quality prescription at the lowest wholesale prices to licensed medical practitioners only. Buying Orthovisc online is very quick and easy. Just visit any online website selling drugs made from Canada.

    Arthritis Relief with Homeopathy

    Homeopathy dynamically empowers the chiropractor with a comprehensive therapeutic armamentarium to help the majority of chronic degenerative health problems plaguing our society, including the many forms of arthritis.

    Arthritis affects over 37,000,000 Americans. The broad spectrum of arthritis includes osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and related conditions, such as Ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia, gout, Juvenile arthritis, lupus, Lyme disease, psoriatic arthritis, and Reiter's syndrome.

    Homeopathy equips the chiropractor to not only help the multiple symptoms of arthritis; it works deep within the body to correct the underlining causes in many cases. This powerful ability of homeopathy corrects the genetic predispositions we have acquired through a thousand years of our family tree. This remarkably in-depth correction comes through an incredible discovery in homeopathy called miasms. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann originally developed the concept of miasms as the "obstacle to the cure of disease". Homeopathy can clear these miasms from our body - thus correcting the genetic predispositions we have to disease.

    This phenomenally powerful therapy can not only correct the individual 's predisposition to a disease such as arthritis, but also help the offspring of that individual born after the deeper correction has been made!
    Homeopathy uses minute doses of pure extracts from all realms of nature and activates the body to heal itself by correcting underlying causes of diseases rather than merely suppressing symptoms. There are many homeopathic ingredients that have stood the test of time - as they have been researched, tested and proven to provide relief from many of the painful associations with arthritis. An abridged summary of some of the most beneficial ones (as researched by William Boericke, MD, Pocket Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory, 9th Edition) are as follows:

    Actaea Spicata: (Baneberry) A rheumatic remedy, especially for small joints, e.g. wrist, fingers, knees, ankles and toes. Relieves spasmodic and throbbing pains in head, face, stomach, abdomen and extremities.

    Arnica Montana: (Mountain Arnica) Muscular tonic for limbs, body aches and strained joints, with a tendency to tissue degeneration. Gout.

    Bellis Perennis: (Daisy) Excellent remedy for sprains, bruises, rheumatic symptoms, sore joints and muscles, varicose veins.

    Bryonia Alba: (White Bryony) Relieves soreness, weakness, stiffness, dizziness, rheumatic pains, swellings, irritability, physical weakness, and apathy.

    Calcarea Carbonia: (Carbonate of Lime) Great remedy for impaired nutrition for glands, skin and bones. Relieves rheumatoid pains, rheumatism in lumbar region, swelling of joints (especially knees), and cramps in calves.

    Calcarea Fluorica: (Fluoride of Lime) Powerful tissue remedy for hard, stony glands, varicose and enlarged veins and malnutrition of bones. For chronic lumbago, gouty enlargement of finger joints, depression and groundless fears.

    Causticum: (Tinctura acris sine Kali) Action mainly in chronic rheumatic, arthritic and paralytic affections, indicated by pains in the muscular and fibrous tissues with deformities about the joints. For progressive loss of muscular strength, and relief of heaviness, weakness and unsteadiness of muscles.

    Cimicifuga Racemosa: (Black Snake-Root) Especially useful in rheumatic, nervous subjects. For restless feeling and aching or jerking in limbs and muscular soreness. Also for depression and for nausea and vomiting caused by pressure on spine and cervical region.

    Formicum Acidum: (Formic Acid) For arthritis, articular rheumatism, chronic gout and stiffness in joints. For weakness of lower extremities, pain in hips, nodes around joints, complaints of over lifting.

    Hypericum Perforatum: (St. John's Wort) Great remedy for nerve injuries. Relieves pain after operations, cramps in calves, pain in toes and fingers (especially in tips), joints that feel bruised, jerking and twitching of muscles. Useful for puncture wounds.

    Ledum Palustre: (Wild Rosemary) Relieves throbbing in shoulder, cracking in joints, swollen ankles, rheumatism, gouty pains shooting through feet, limbs and joints.

    Magnesia Phosphorica: (Magnesium Phosphate) Anti-spasmodic remedy. For neuralgic pains, cramps in calves and sciatica, weakness in arms and hands, and general muscular weakness. Especially suited for languid, exhausted subjects.

    Phytolacca Decandra: (Poke-root) For aching, soreness, restlessness and prostration, rheumatic pains, pain in under side of thighs; pain in legs, ankles, feet. Relief of stiff back.

    Pulsatilla: (Wind Flower) For intense pain in thighs, hips, knees and legs with restlessness, sleeplessness and chilliness. Relieves numbness around elbow.

    Rhododendron Chrysanthum: (Snow Rose) Relieves rheumatic and gouty symptoms with swollen joints, rheumatic tearing in limbs, stiffness of neck, pain in shoulders, arms, wrists, toe joints, and pain involving dental nerves.

    Rhus Toxicodendron: (Poison Ivy) For rheumatic pains spread over a large surface. Relieves swelling of joints, tingling in feet, pains in tendons and ligaments, pain and stiffness in small of back, loss of power in forearm and fingers, and state of being listless and sad.

    Ruta Graveolens: (Rue) Relieves pain in small of back and loins, bones of feet and ankles, pain and stiffness in wrists and hands, contraction of fingers, and great restlessness.

    Salicylicum Acidum: (Salicylic Acid) Useful for swollen, painful knees and acute rheumatism. For sciatica and vertigo.

    Symphytum Officinale: (Comfrey Root) For injuries to sinews, tendons and the periosteum. Acts on joints, neuralgia of knee, perineum and bones.

    Needless to say, arthritis is a painful and often debilitating disease. However, with application of the appropriate homeopathic remedies, many patients can find relief that allows them to live their lives filled with more happiness and contentment than they ever imagined.
    Although these are some of the more common remedies for arthritis, there are over a hundred other remedies to consider when uncovering the various underlining causes associated with arthritis. I recommend using homeopathic formulas designed to address the many possible causes and predispositions to arthritis.

    Yoga - The Antidote to Arthritis and a Key to Healthy Aging

    Forty years ago, when I first became interested in yoga and therapeutic exercise, I was assisting an older woman who was immobilized in her wheelchair by arthritis. Long before I understood the degree to which yoga can rehabilitate the body, I was helping people who were unable to dress, bathe or feed themselves independently due to the pain and stiffness in their joints. This has helped me understand the extreme suffering that can be inflicted by arthritis.

    Back then, people with joint pain and swelling were advised by doctors not to move! The thinking was "If it hurts, don't move it." We now know that inactivity is one of the worst responses for someone with arthritis.

    As Loren Fishman, MD, points out in his book, Yoga for Arthritis, "Arthritis restricts movement, yoga increases range of motion-these two were made for each other."

    Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in this country, limiting everyday activities for millions of people. Drugs, surgeries, and steroids can alleviate some of the discomforts, but study after study has shown that exercise is most beneficial to most forms of arthritis, specifically low-impact, flexibility-enhancing exercises such as yoga.

    Osteoarthritis, a painful and often debilitating condition caused by decades of wear and tear on the joints, is considered to be one the side effects of living longer. By the time we reach age sixty-five, X-rays for at last a third of us will show some signs of osteoarthritis, the most common of a group of diseases collectively referred to as arthritis.

    Arthritis in its many forms affects more than seventy million (or one in three) American adults, according to estimates by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Arthritis is so common in our culture that most people consider the pain and discomfort it brings to be a normal part of aging. Arthritis makes normal activities increasingly painful and difficult and diminishes or destroys the quality of life.

    An Overview of Arthritis

    The word arthritis means "joint inflammation." Modern medicine recognizes more than a hundred varieties of conditions that produce deterioration in joint structures. The common thread among these conditions is that they all affect the joints-those nearly 150 ingeniously designed structures located where two or more bones come together.

    Arthritis-related joint problems may include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joints. Joint weakness, instability and visible deformities may occur, depending on the location of the joint involved.

    Arthritis is classified into two main types. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder, resulting in stiffness in the joints and muscles, joint erosion and pain. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder that erodes the cartilage in joints, which leads to bones rubbing together. Osteoarthritis frequently occurs in people who are overweight or whose joints are painful from extreme overuse.

    In spite of the prevalence of arthritis, be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your achy joints are necessarily due to it. Overuse and injuries can also result in tendonitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other fairly common conditions that are unrelated to arthritis.

    Arthritis and Exercise

    To remain healthy, muscles and joints must move and bear weight or they will lose strength. This weakness, coupled with joint swelling, will make the joints unstable. Joints in this condition are vulnerable to dislocation, increased injury and pain. Thus, regular gentle movement helps to reduce pain and to maintain mobility.

    Physical movement promotes health in many systems of the body. It increases circulation, which in turn reduces swelling and promotes delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. With immobilization, a cycle of deterioration begins.

    Because movement is crucial to so many physiological processes, the arthritic person's overall health tends to deteriorate without it. The normal functioning of the immune system declines, infections and illnesses occur, and the person often becomes frustrated and depressed. This cycle is self-perpetuating.

    When someone comes to me with arthritis, I teach them how to practice yoga safely with the support of yoga props. For those who are new to yoga, the term "yoga props," simply refers to any object, such as a wall, a sturdy table or a chair, a folded blanket, a firm pillow, a strap or other item that makes practicing yoga safer and easier. Yoga props are especially helpful for older beginners who may have balance problems and are coping with common health issues such as arthritis and osteoporosis. In addition to common household objects that can be used as yoga props, there are professional yoga props such as a sturdy wooden bar known as the "yoga horse," yoga wall ropes, yoga bolsters in many shapes and sizes, yoga straps, special yoga chairs, yoga blocks, firm yoga blankets and more elaborate props like yoga backbenders that give people with arthritis and other common health conditions new hope and confidence.

    Physicians are increasingly advising regular gentle exercise for people with arthritis because it tones muscles and reduces stiffness in joints. Yoga is an ideal form of exercise for this because its movements are fluid and adaptable. Yoga loosens muscles that have been tightened by inactivity, stress and tension. In yoga we progress gradually, beginning with simple stretches and strengthening poses and advancing to more difficult postures only as we become stronger and more flexible.

    If necessary, you can begin with gentle movements while sitting in a chair or lying on the floor. You can gradually add weight-bearing standing postures, with the support of a wall, counter or table, wall ropes, chairs, blocks, and other props.

    The weight-bearing yoga standing poses are among the key poses for safely increasing range of motion in all the joints as well as increasing strength and flexibility.

    It's important to note that weak muscles are considered a risk factor for osteoarthritis. Be especially aware of weakness in the quadriceps, the large frontal thigh muscles: The weaker the quadriceps, the higher the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knee. Yoga standing poses are valuable for strengthening the quadriceps without wear and tear on the hip and knee joints.

    Practicing yoga can help improve respiration throughout the day. Calm, slow, rhythmic breathing helps to release both physical and emotional tension by flooding the body and brain with oxygen. The regular, daily practice of deep relaxation is restorative to every cell of the body.

    I encourage those of you with arthritis to seek the help of an experienced teacher who can help you learn to distinguish between good pain and bad pain and to make yoga part of your daily life.

    The positive effects yoga can have on mood and overall outlook are especially important to someone with arthritis. A yoga class offers positive support and the opportunity to connect with people who are health-minded and have experienced the benefits of yoga. Numerous studies emphasize the value of group support in coping with health challenges such as arthritis.

    With arthritis, as with any injury or disease, listen to your body with focused attention to avoid injury and determine which movements are most healing. Take classes with a teacher who is knowledgeable about arthritis. If you are new to yoga, I recommend a few private lessons, if possible, or start in a small group class with individualized instruction, where you can practice at your own pace.

    Guidelines for Practicing Yoga in Class and at Home

    1. Respect pain. All yoga students, but especially those with arthritis, must learn the difference between the beneficial feeling of muscles stretching and the pain that signals harm. Learn to distinguish between the normal discomfort of moving stiff joints through range of motion, and the pain caused by a destructive movement or an excessive demand on a joint. Sudden or severe pain is a warning. Continuing an activity after such a warning may cause joint damage.

    In general, if pain and discomfort persists more than two hours after a yoga session, ask a knowledgeable teacher to check your alignment and help you modify the pose. Try moving more slowly, practicing more regularly and experiment with how long to stay in a pose. There is no set answer to the perennial question "How long should I stay in the pose?" Stay long enough so that a healthy change has been made but not so long that your body stiffens from staying in a position too long.

    2. Balance work and rest. Balancing activity and rest applies to yoga as well as to other daily activities. Do not exercise to the point of fatigue. Stop before you are exhausted! Weakened, fatigued muscles set the stage for joint instability and injury. Balance your active yoga session with yoga's deeply relaxing restorative poses. Restorative poses are passive poses that help your internal healing processes to work. If you are fatigued, practice restorative poses first. You will benefit more from active, more challenging poses, if you are well rested.

    3. Practice with focus and awareness (pay attention to how you feel) and breathe properly. Avoid mechanical repetitions and counting while exercising. Watch the flow of your breath and your body's response to a particular pose or exercise. Without fully expanding your lungs, the muscles you are exercising cannot be adequately supplied with oxygen. Holding your breath while stretching inhibits relaxation. Smooth, peaceful, rhythmic breathing through the nose reduces pain and tension and increases the feeling of deep relaxation that follows a yoga session. Learn to tune into what your body is telling you.

    4. Learn to use yoga props. People with arthritis may already be quite stiff by the time they start yoga. The use of props helps improve blood circulation and breathing capacity. By supporting the body in a yoga posture, props allow the muscles to lengthen in a passive, non-strenuous way. Props help conserve energy and allow people to practice more strenuous poses without hurting or over exerting themselves.

    Yoga for Arthritic Hips and Knees

    The areas most commonly affected by arthritis are the hips, knees and hands. With decreased movement, the muscles and soft tissues around the hip shorten, putting additional wear and tear on the gliding surfaces. If a person becomes more sedentary in an effort to minimize pain, bones and cartilage receive less weight-bearing stimulation. Bone spurs may even develop to further limit movement.

    Lack of exercise also weakens the thigh and calf muscles. Their strength provides stability and support for the knee. When the soft tissues of the joint swell, this causes compression and reduces space in the joint even further.

    Standing poses are crucial for stretching and building supportive strength in the hips, buttocks and thighs. Moving the head of the femur in the hip socket helps distribute synovial fluid, thus lubricating the joint and all points of contact.

    The same standing poses recommended for hips are also critical for knee rehabilitation. They create more space in the knee joint for synovial fluid circulation and develop the strength of the thigh and calf muscles for better support.

    Sit on the Floor Every Day!

    I encourage all my students, especially those with osteoarthritis of the knees, to sit on the floor every day, in various cross-legged and other bent knee positions, as part of their daily life routine. This helps assure that you do not lose the ability to sit comfortably on the floor. Sitting with the legs crossed loosely is a simple, natural position that helps remove stiffness in the hips and knees. To help you sit comfortably on the floor with your back straight, sit on one or more folded blankets, a firm bolster, large dictionary or other height. Avoiding sitting on the floor will only make your hips and knees stiffer with the passage of time.

    Hint: If there is pain in the knees, try increasing the height under the buttock so that your pelvis is higher than the knees, and place folded blankets or yoga blocks under the knees. A knowledgeable yoga teacher can help you adjust your props so that sitting on the floor becomes easy and comfortable. Increase the length of time you sit gradually, and be sure to cross your legs the opposite way (opposite leg in front).

    Caution: Do not strain your knees by attempting to sit prematurely in more advanced, bent-knee positions such as the classic Lotus Pose. Forcing your body into any position can result in serious injury. STOP if you feel pain, and consult a knowledgeable teacher.