Saturday, July 27, 2013

Arthritis - Facts and Helpful Tips

The colder months of the year can be miserable for sufferers of Arthritis. The cold and damp can play havoc with joint mobility, causing inflammation and pain. If you suffer from this condition you are far from alone. The information that follows will hopefully provide you with some useful tips to help you get through the winter months with less pain.

The Statistics

  • Arthritis and Rheumatic disease affect around 8 million people in the UK

  • More than 3 million people have a significant disability

  • Osteoarthritis - the most common joint disorder in the UK affects more than one million people.

  • It affects 10 - 25% of people aged over 65

  • Around 600,000 people have Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Arthritis and rheumatic disease are the most common causes of long-standing illness, and account for one fifth of all visits to the doctor.

The Facts

The term "Arthritis" means damage or swelling of joints. Joints are the points where 2 bones meet. The ends of bones are covered by a thin layer of gristle or cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber when you put weight on a joint.

Cartilage is the tough, rubbery coating you can see on the ends of chicken thigh bones. It cushions the joints and ensures a smooth motion.

Joints are surrounded by a membrane called the Synovium, which produces a small amount of thick fluid called Synovial Fluid. This nourishes the cartilage and keeps it slippery. The Synovium has a tough outer layer called the Capsule, which stops the bones moving too much. Ligaments on both sides keep bones firmly in place. These are thick, strong bands usually just outside the Capsule. Tendons are also on both sides and attach muscles to bones. They keep the joint in place and help to move it.


Osteoarthritis is the end result of a number of different episodes of damage to the joint over a period of time. Genetic inheritance may play a part with some people. Being overweight, injury to the joint and repeated minor pressures on the joint, e.g. some sports or occupations involving repeated kneeling or lifting, can also cause this condition.
Osteoarthritis usually occurs at the knee (more common in women), the hip (equally common in men and women), the spine, and in the hands, especially at the base of the thumb and in the fingers. Osteoarthritis can produce a mild ache to crippling pain, when Total Hip Replacement or Knee Replacement may be indicated.

In severe osteoarthritis, the cartilage can become so thin that it no longer covers the bone ends. The bone ends touch and start to wear away. The loss of cartilage, the wearing of the bone, and the bony spurs at the edges can change the shape of the joint. This forces the bones out of their normal position and causes deformity.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory, auto-immune disease where the body turns against itself. Normally, inflammation is our immune system's response to fighting bacteria, viruses etc. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis the tissues and joints are attacked, which damages the cartilage, bones and sometimes the ligaments and tendons, too. When this happens the joints become unstable and deformities can occur.

Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women and usually occurs between the ages of 40 to 60 but can appear earlier. It can also be hereditary in some families.

With rheumatoid arthritis the symptoms can come and go unpredictably. Sometimes physical exertion, an illness, or an emotional experience may trigger a 'flare up' but other times there may be no obvious cause.

Helpful Tips

Information and education - knowing how and why arthritis occurs can help to slow down or prevent further deterioration.

Weight management - being overweight puts further stresses on the joints, particularly the knees and hips. A reduction in weight can make a significant difference.

Exercise - aerobic exercise where the individual raises their heartbeat, sweats and becomes breathless is good for the whole body and can help in the management of weight. It may also increase general well being. Local strengthening exercise is particularly useful in arthritis of the knee. By strengthening the quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh, pain can be reduced and balance and stability can be improved, therefore lessening disability. A physiotherapist can teach the exercises.

Frequent breaks in activities - it is sensible to have frequent breaks when gardening or doing housework to avoid mechanical stress.

Sensible footwear - a good training shoe for arthritis of the hip or knee is designed to absorb any impact when walking. Shoes should have a thick sole, no raised heel, a broad forefoot and soft uppers.

Drug therapy - no drugs are totally safe but Paracetamol is usually the first painkiller to try. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen may be the next choice but they have the potential to cause side effects, especially stomach problems, and may interact with other drugs. NSAIDs can inhibit repair of the joint.

Natraflex - a natural, herbal balm containing Boswellia, Capsaicin and MSM has been shown in trials to be effective in over 75% of people with arthritis and is available from Health Food Shops or the internet.

Diet - Nutritionists recommend that we eat a diet which is 80% alkaline and 20% acid. Instead, most people eat the opposite. Acidic bodies also cause calcium to be leached out from the joints, making the condition worse.

Foods that should be avoided

  • Alcoholic drinks

  • Caffeine-Coffee, Tea, & Chocolate

  • Packaged or processed food with artificial additives

  • Chinese food (contains Monosodium glutamate)

  • Dairy products

  • Eggs

  • Refined flour

  • White sugar

  • Salted foods

  • Fried foods

  • Burnt, charred or rancid food

  • Animal proteins-red meat

  • Foods containing nitrates

  • Citrus fruits

  • Aubergines

  • Tomatoes

Foods that may help Arthritis sufferers

  • Yams

  • Celery

  • Sea vegetables e.g. seaweed, kelp

  • Garlic and onions

  • Pineapple -contains the enzyme Bromelain

  • Bananas

  • Apples, pears and paw paws

  • Water - at least 2 litres of filtered water each day

  • Herbal tea

  • Rice milk

  • Oats, oatcake biscuits

  • Rice cakes (with no added salt)

  • Brown rice

  • Millet

  • Flax seed or linseeds

  • Linseed oil

  • Cider vinegar

  • Tuna, mackerel and sardines

  • Nuts and seeds (make sure they are not mouldy) - Brazil nuts, almonds, hazel nuts, cashew nuts (not peanuts), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (Tahini paste)

  • Dried fruits

  • Pulses -lentils and beans

  • White meat -chicken, lamb, and game

  • Herbs -basil, coriander, and ginseng

Any allergens or food intolerances should be identified to reduce the load on the immune system, particularly with Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Milk, yeast, eggs, grains and citrus fruits are the common foods that cause intolerance (see list of foods to avoid, above).

Fish oils are recommended to help lubricate the joints and therefore reduce the damage. MSM (methylsulphonylmethane) has also been found to reduce degeneration of the joints and can be taken orally or as a skin cream. Glucosamine is also recommended by Rheumatologists as it speeds up joint repair.

Doctors practising in nutrition recommend taking a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement each day, which provides the daily values of all essential vitamins and minerals.

By understanding the facts about arthritis and following these simple diet and lifestyle recommendations, you can help to control or even reduce the symptoms of this common disease.

Coffee Causes Arthritis?

There are unfounded statements on the internet today that says, "coffee are bad for arthritis", or worse so, "coffee induces arthritis" or "coffee worsens the prognosis of arthritis" or something else along those lines. So, is a cup of coffee so dreadful for arthritis patients? The answer is NO. When it comes to adverse effects of coffee it is very much a matter of quantity, usually, for an average person, drinking less than 6 cups of coffee per day has no known adverse effects or what so ever, caffeine intoxication or long term side effect due to any other chemical substances in coffee only occur when large quantity of coffee is consumed.

Is there any solid scientific basis to support the fact that coffee isn't the culprit in occurrence of arthritis? The answer is yes, and it lies in the nature of arthritis disease itself. Take for example Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it is obligatory for both predisposing and triggering factors present at the same time for the disease to occur in a person, predisposing factor is in this case, gene that codes for HLA, while the triggering factors are up to date not clearly understood. Triggering factors can be stress, viral infections other co-morbid diseases, certain food and seasons. Coffee, is being accused by many, as one of the triggering factors, a statement mostly agreed by most sufferers of RA. But do patients themselves understand the mechanism of the disease? Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Journal. The research study says that people drinking more that 4 cups of coffee daily are at a higher risk of developing RA, but the research is not a scientific research in a true sense, it is simply a survey conducted on a small number of RA patients. So, is this study result reliable?

Consider another research result and judge by yourself the role of coffee in arthritis development. 19000 coffee drinkers picked up randomly from a general population, observed carefully for 15 years, and at the end of 15 years, none of them show any signs of Arthritis. Researchers that initially back the statement - "5 cups of coffee per day double the risk of RA" later withdraw their support, because they found that most of their patients have other triggering factors such as smoking age and high protein diets.

So in conclusion, we can say that, drinking coffee doesn't necessary lead to Arthritis, but as in any other food and drinks, practice moderation.

The Causes Of Arthritis - Understanding This Condition Helps You Find Effective Treatment

Arthritis seems to affect so many people, and not always the elderly. A lot of people, both young and old, suffer routinely with bone or joint pain and inflammation. Sometimes this is the result of an injury and soon heals, but for many the prognosis is somewhat more dire.

Nobody wants to be told that they have rheumatoid arthritis. It is seen as an old person's condition and is often debilitating. We imagine inflamed and sore joints, bone deformities, and immobility upon receiving the diagnosis. Without a doubt, arthritis has caused a considerable number of people a considerable amount of discomfort.

Before we continue on with the causes of this very common skeletal condition, we need to define our terms. What most people do not know is that arthritis refers to any type of condition that leads to inflammation, pain, and stiffness of the joints. This means that it is more of a category of conditions than a condition in and of itself.

Further points to ponder:

* There are more than one hundred different conditions that fall under the heading of arthritis.

* The most common conditions include: gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

* When a joint is inflamed, stiff, and/or sore this is known as arthritis.

* Other types of arthritic conditions include: infectious arthritis and lupus. These can produce the customary joint problems but also a range of other symptoms such as: rashes, chills, fever, heart complications, and pain.

So what are the causes of arthritis?

Interestingly, the main cause of most of the types of conditions that fall under the heading of arthritis is nutritional in nature. Nutritional deficiencies are a prime cause but this is good news, because nutritional deficiencies can be addressed and rectified.

What can be done?

Your first duty is to review your diet. Make the changes that are necessary such as omitting what should not be part of your diet, and including what should. The quality of the food that we purchase today is not what it should be. Most of us do not get the proper nutrition that our bodies need in order to be healthy and function at its optimum level. This is why dietary supplements should be included in your diet.

Supplements high in fatty acids, fish oils, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants will aid your body so that it is able to heal itself and repair damage where it has occurred. Coupled with enough regular exercise and weight resistance training, your joint pains and stiffness can become a thing of the past.

The fallacy that so many believe.

Remarkable achievements have been made with regards to natural remedies, such as those that contain the New Zealand Mussel, for instance. Discover how this ingredient can greatly benefit anyone suffering with arthritis.

"Nutritional deficiencies are a major cause of joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation".

Discover The Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis And Learn About Remedies

Here we look at the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as the similarities. The exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, but it often accompanies aging. Likewise, the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, although there are several theories.

Most people over the age of 60 have some degree of osteoarthritis, but the severity of the condition varies greatly. Rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age, but there may be periods of remission when no symptoms are felt.

In both diseases and other less common forms of arthritis, joint pain is the primary symptom. The difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis joint pain is one of the factors that doctors use for diagnosis. In osteoarthritis, there may be pain in only one joint -- for instance, the left knee. In rheumatoid arthritis, pain occurs in the same joint on both sides of the body; in other words, both knees would be painful.

The cause of osteoarthritis pain is a gradual wearing away or thinning of the cartilage cushions that prevent the bones of a joint from rubbing together and acts as a kind of shock absorber. Injury or over use can cause damage to the cartilage and may lead to osteoarthritis. As the cartilage wears away, inflammation or swelling can occur.

In rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation and pain occurs before the cartilage cushions are damaged. In fact, chronic inflammation in the joints can lead to damage of the cartilage and increased pain.

Looking for the cause of osteoarthritis, researchers have identified several factors that increase a person's risk of developing the condition. They are obesity, heredity and joint injury or overuse. One difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is that, other than heredity, no risk factors have been identified.

Being overweight or obese increases the stress on the joints in the knees, hips and ankles and so increases the likelihood of osteoarthritis. In a similar fashion, being overweight may aggravate rheumatoid arthritis, but does not increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

Joint injury or overuse does not play a role in rheumatoid arthritis, although some activities are more likely to increase pain, while others, such as swimming may improve joint mobility.

Heredity or genetics is likely to play a role in many diseases. As a cause of osteoarthritis, genetic abnormalities of the joints often lead to osteoarthritis in later life. For example, those people with scoliosis of the spine often develop osteoarthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, the role of genetics is unknown, but it does seem to "run in families".

One major difference between osteoarthrits and rheumatoid arthritis is that RA can affect other parts of the body, while osteoarthritis only affects the joints. In rheumatoid arthritis, something triggers the immune system to attack otherwise healthy joints. In some cases, the immune system also attacks the skin, eyes, lungs, blood vessels, heart or nerves.

There also may be a difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis treatment. For example, drugs that suppress the immune system are sometimes prescribed for RA, but would not be helpful in osteoarthritis. On the other hand, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for both conditions.

Natural products with anti-inflammatory activity, such as fish oil or omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to relieve pain in many people and are not accompanied by the negative side effects associated with long term use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Pubmed, a prestigious service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health has a study published from the Department of Immunology and Rheumatology, Instituto Nacional de la Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, in Mexico City, Mexico, in which they conclude: "Treatment with omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with improvement in some outcome measures in rheumatoid arthritis."

Although fish oil should be a top choice for someone looking for a potent natural anti-inflammatory, most people in the Western world have never heard of another one known as the New Zealand green lipped mussel. On the University of Maryland's Medical Website they reveal:

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

In addition, since the cause of osteoarthrits pain, and to a certain extent the cause of rheumatoid arthritis pain, is deterioration of the cartilage cushions, supplements that are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids are now the chosen remedy for many people with arthritis, regardless if it's rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.

Omega 3 fatty acids also come with the added benefit of improving heart and brain health.

However, people already using other blood thinners need to tell their doctor if they wish to add omega 3 oils to their diet.

Diet For Rheumatoid Arthritis - What Foods Help to Relieve Joint Pain?

Researchers have determined that your diet for rheumatoid arthritis is directly linked to the severity of the disease. A poor diet can greatly aggravate pain and other symptoms, so it is important to have a clear understanding of proper nutrition, especially as it relates to RA.

First of all, it is incredibly important that you integrate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet, while greatly reducing or eliminating red meat and dairy. Dark green leafy vegetables are always the best, and you can gain lots of antioxidants from eating fruit. However, your diet for rheumatoid arthritis should avoid overly acidic fruit like oranges and lemons.

Many people have greatly benefited from becoming vegetarian or vegan. You may or may not want to go down this route, but if you're desperate, there's no harm in trying for a while to see if your symptoms alleviate.

Eat plenty of cold water fish like salmon and cod, as these contain high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which act as anti-inflammatory agents in the body. If fish isn't your thing or you're worried about mercury, you can also get Omega-3 fatty acids from almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, and avocados.

Make sure you drink plenty of fluids. You should be drinking at least 8 cups of water per day. In addition, soups, broth, herbal teas, and unsweetened fruit juices are also fantastic. Just make sure that the tea is decaf and there isn't much salt in the soups and broth.

A diet for rheumatoid arthritis should be rich in vitamins and minerals, and while taking supplements will definitely help, it simply doesn't compare to getting the nutrients straight from the source. So don't think that you can counter your bad eating habits by taking supplements, because it simply doesn't work that way.

Rash on Legs With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Often when women feel the onset of rheumatoid arthritis - more excruciatingly the joint pain, a rash on the leg or both legs may appear and it can be extremely difficult to find the right solution or supplement to put it to rest.

Psoriatic arthritis tends to be ones first suspicion as to the cause, but what is clear though is that rashes appear at many different times and should not be strictly associated with the ailment you are suffering from at that time, although it's perfectly acceptable to draw a correlation between the two.

So, if you are using NSAID's to treat the swelling around the joints then these themselves could be the culprit as the effects of these are well documented today.

Common prescription medicines for rheumatoid arthritis include Plaquenil, Norco and Ibuprofen, and aside from such treatment affects as liver damage, heart disease and heart palpitations or arrhythmia which can lead to cardiac arrest, they can also give you a rash.

If you are using more than one prescribed NSAID then don't be afraid to chop and change between the two.

NSAID's are just one way to treat joint pain and you shouldn't feel they are the only means you can seek pain relief.

In fact prescription drugs do nothing to stop the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, rather they just numb the pain so if you are using these solely to treat rheumatoid arthritis, in no way are you helping the remission process.

If you want to keep using NSAID's but resorting to just one supplement still doesn't help, then you should seriously start thinking about changing your lifestyle habits so you can incorporate different therapies to treat the pain.

Exercise is the best form of treatment, specifically swimming. By increasing your muscle strength you immediately provide support to the joint and an almost instant lift in your health and how you feel.

Low impact sports are best so as to avoid stress on the joints, and don't be afraid to use natural supplements which include omega 3, 6, 9 proteins, ingredients like reishi and capsaicin, and supplements like vitamin D and magnesium, which is the only element which has been proven to increase bone density by some 11% over the course of 9 months, as was carried out by the Journal Medicine in 2009.

Once you're off the NSAID's and in to a more proactive and positive lifestyle, it's highly unlikely that any rash on the legs will remain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment - How a Deer Can Help Rebuild Cartilage and Cure Arthritis

Did you know that rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most debilitating forms of arthritis because symptoms make everyday tasks nearly impossible? Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition which causes the joints to throb and eventually become disfigured. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) include: inflammation; pain; little movement; and joint disfigurement.

Though the cause of RA is unknown, there is an effective arthritis natural treatment which allows arthritis suffers to reduce the pain, reduce the inflammation and rebuild the cartilage between the joints. If you suffer from arthritis, you should immediately begin simple remedies to reduce the symptoms and rebuild the cartilage.

Why You Shouldn't Choose Prescription Medications

It might be important to consider why you want to rebuild the cartilage between the joints. Normally, arthritis sufferers take some form of medication reducing the inflammation and eliminating the pain. However, the problem with this remains that the joint is still aching but the brain is not registering the pain. Therefore, the unaware arthritic patient goes on hurting the joints and cartilage more and more while severely damaging the joints and existing cartilage.

The equivalent of this would be putting a piece of tape over the car's 'check engine oil' light and hoping you can finish the road trip. Though you might make it back to your house, the engine will eventually blow up without oil. You must put oil in your engine and you must rebuild cartilage if you wish to use your joints the rest of your life.

And above all that, you might want to safe your liver from the harsh drugs?

How to Reduce Arthritis Pain and Rebuild Cartilage

If you have ever been around deer you might notice something miraculously astounding about bucks (male deer). The male deer can naturally regenerate its antlers in months! In fact, a deer will grind its antlers on a tree, and completely strip the velvet off. However, months later, the deer antler velvet regenerates itself completely.

This isn't the end of our science lesson though. Russian scientists discovered after isolating compounds in deer antler velvet; they could use the compounds to rebuild cartilage between human joints. In fact, this natural remedy has been used for hundreds of years first starting with Asian countries.

How does this relate to you? This is one simple natural treatment to cure arthritis and not only hide the pain!

Other Simple Cures for Arthritis

Did you know that you can treat and cure arthritis with other simple cures? In fact, by eating a proper diet, drinking the correct fluids (water), doing the correct breathing exercises daily, getting an adequate amount of low-impact exercise, reducing stress and taking the correct vitamins and natural supplements you can actually eliminate almost 100% of arthritis NATURALLY (No Drugs and No Surgery Needed)! To discover what thousands of arthritis sufferers already have, please visit our Natural Cure for Arthritis Website.

Naturally Cure for Arthritis

Friday, July 26, 2013

Joint Pain Relief For the Obese

How much do you know about rheumatism?

You probably know it's related to pain in the joints. Yes, joints are only one affected area. Therefore, rheumatism is a broad term that also includes inflammation of bones, muscles, tendons and even internal organs. But let's focus only on joint pain with you here.

What Causes Joint Pain?

The two most common causes of joint pain are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Other factors can be sprain, fracture, gout in the big toes, septic arthritis or polyarthritis.

Let's take a closer look at osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

It's a condition where spurs grow and cartilage degenerates in the joints, leading to joint pain. It's also known as "wear-and-tear" arthritis. Some symptoms are:

-- The stiffness in the joints disappears within 30 minutes from the time the patient wakes up but aggravates later in the day after repetitive use or after a prolonged inactivity.

-- Starts with one joint.

-- Often happens in large joints or joints related to knee and hip.

-- An affected joint tends to look a little larger than normal. This is due to abnormal growth of the bone next to damaged cartilage.

-- More common than rheumatoid arthritis.

-- Slow and gradual pain.

-- Usually affects older people.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

This is an autoimmune disorder due to the malfunction of certain immune cells in the patient's body which attacks the joints. Hence, he'll encounter the following symptoms:

-- Morning stiffness lasts more than 30 minutes.

-- Warmth, swelling and pain often begins with the small joints of hands and wrists near the palm or the small joints of toes.

-- Affected joints are usually symmetrical such as the same joints on both hands.

-- Can also trigger fever, fatigue, depression, loss of appetite, dry eyes and chest pain.

-- Can lead to joint deformities.

How does Obesity Worsen the Condition?

Although doctors have yet to prove if obesity causes rheumatism, they believe excess weight certainly doesn't help the patients. In fact, they believe obesity will increase the risk of both OA and RA.

That's because the excess weight will add more pressure on the inflamed joints, aggravating the pain, especially in the affected joint areas around knees, spinal cord and hip.

Currently, there are no cures for OA and RA but the treatments can help to relieve pain and improve joint movement so that patients can still go about their daily tasks.

The treatment often comes as a program - medications, physical and occupational therapy, reduction of joint stress and sometimes surgery. But if a patient is also obese, weight loss will inevitably become part of the program.

Right Exercise can Help Obese OA / RA Patient

1. Flexibility exercises help to maintain or improve the flexibility in affected joints and surrounding muscles. This contributes to better posture, reduced risk of injuries and improved function.

2. Strengthening exercises are more vigorous to work muscles a bit harder. Stronger muscles can better support the joints and cushion the shock impact to the painful joint. They also assist in better function and reduce bone loss due to inactivity, inflammatory arthritis and use of certain medications such as corticosteroids.

3. Aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming are good for weight control as they work off the excess fats and replace with useful muscles. For even better fat-burning results, you can engage in anaerobic exercises like strength training. But you must consult your doctor and make sure to have a certified trainer to guide you along such high-intensity exercises that can cause injuries pretty easily.

4. Body awareness exercises improve posture, balance, joint position awareness, coordination and relaxation. This is especially important as the patient's sense of balance and coordination may be impaired due to the illness.

Natural Arthritis Diet for Pain Relief

Stay away from acidic stuff like coffee, tea, sugar and alcohol. You should also cut down on intake of meat and seafood since these are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, salt and toxins. For best results, I suggest you include these natural vegetarian foods as a significant part of your diet:

a) Fruits - avocado

b) Vegetables - spirulina, wheat grass products, carrots, seaweeds, sprouts

c) Whole grains - millet, wheat, brown rice, barley and oats

d) Nuts - pecans

e) Soy and seeds - flaxseed, pumpkin and sesame

This natural diet serves to help you maintain a healthy weight. According to the Arthritis Foundation, for every pound of weight lost, there is a four-pound reduction in the load exerted on the knee for each step taken. Simply put, the less heavy you are, the less pain you suffer.

Last but not least, whether you're suffering from rheumatism or not, sticking to a healthy diet and regular exercise regime are always essential.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Occupational Therapy Implication For Promotion Of Mobility 1

As an occupational therapist, whatever I do, I supplement and complement whatever the physiotherapist/physical therapist does, that there be no repetition of clinical care, or clash in ideas in treatment. This is done for all aspects of rehabilitation, but here we will discuss first in the area of mobility. The prescription of a walking aid, be it a walking stick, quadstick or walking frame may be given to a patient for reasons of safety and function.

All therapists must take note that the correct height is of upmost importance - too high or too low and it will create an imbalance of the muscles and joint structures involved, causing unnecessary compensatory movements that will tax the involved muscles and tissues. To get the correct length or height, we need to get the patient to be wearing their normal attire and shoes, stand straight as how they would normally stand, and then measure the length from the ground to the patient's greater trochanter. This would be the most accurate data.

An alternative to the measurement, the walking stick can be placed on the ground and the its height should be at the wrist crease for the length to be of an appropriate length. Any additional length should be collapsed upon (they are collapsible now, but they used to saw the additional lengths off). The rubber at the bottom should be changed regularly, as they can wear out relatively fast. The walking stick is used at the opposite hand of the affected leg, so as to transfer the weight of the body through the arm and stick. We do not encourage the use of double sided walking stick, as they are more unstable that way. If necessary, we can encourage the use of walking frames or crutches.

If crutches are deemed necessary, the physiotherapist will assess the patients for the use of the crutches and teach them how to use it, but the occupational therapist's role would then to monitor their correct and adequate use of the walking aid when carrying out their roles in the rehabilitation program. Axillary crutches (the kind that rests under the arm pits) are not often recommended, as they have a risk or a contra indication of use - the tisk is the danger of damage to the gleno humeral joint and axillary region in the case of a fall or a near fall that can dislocate the joint.

What Other Diseases Masquerade as Rheumatoid Arthritis? Part 2 - The Infectious Group

While rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, the diagnosis is not always easy to make. The reason is that there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. Most of them involve inflammation. When a patient goes to a rheumatologist to get a diagnosis, there is a process of elimination in order to arrive at the proper diagnosis. This process of elimination is called "differential diagnosis."

Differential diagnosis can be a difficult undertaking because so many forms of arthritis, particularly inflammatory forms of arthritis look alike. Generally it is helpful to divide the differential diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis into two groups. The first group are the non-infectious diseases to consider and the second group are the infection-related conditions.

In part 1 of this article, I discussed the non-infectious causes of arthritis that need to be considered when assessing a patient with possible rheumatoid arthritis. In this article I will discuss those types of arthritis that are directly or indirectly due to infections.

Many infections can present with arthritis due to either direct inoculation of a joint (either from the outside or from a bloodstream infection) or due to autoimmune reactions. In many instances, infections lead to acute single joint arthritis; however, in some cases, chronic single or multiple joint arthritis can be present.

Missed infections can lead to significant complications; therefore, it is important to have a high index of suspicion for infection in any patient presenting with acute or chronic arthritis.

Here are some examples:

Gonococcal arthritis is an infection due to the organism that causes gonorrhea (N. gonorrhea). It usually affects a single joint (in 90% to 95% of cases). Symptoms include:

o Joint pain that migrates (jumps around) for 1 to 4 days;

o Pain in the hands/wrists due to inflammation of tendons;

o Sometimes a single joint can be inflamed;

o Fevers;

o Skin rash;

o Burning on urination;

o Lower abdominal pain.

The diagnosis of gonorrhea is made by taking the history and by culture or DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of areas of possible infection, including the throat, genitals, and anus. Since the organism that causes gonorrhea is difficult to grow, it can often be missed on culture. Gonococcal arthritis can usually be distinguished from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by clinical presentation, blood tests, and cultures.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection due to the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. It presents with a skin rash, swollen joints and flu-like symptoms, caused by the bite of an infected tick. Symptoms may include:

o A skin rash, often resembling a bulls-eye; the rash may be more widespread, though;

o Fever;

o Headache;

o Muscle pain;

o Stiff neck;

o Numbness and tingling

o Bell's palsy

o Swelling of knees and other large joints.

The diagnosis of Lyme disease is typically made by blood tests. Standardization of Lyme tests has improved greatly in the last few years. If chronic single joint arthritis develops, joint fluid analysis or joint tissue biopsy may be necessary for diagnosis. Lyme arthritis can usually be distinguished from RA by clinical presentation and blood testing.

Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is an inflammatory disease that may develop after an infection with Streptococcus, the bacteria that causes strep throat and scarlet fever. The disease can affect the heart, joints, skin, and brain. Symptoms include:

o Fever;

o Arthritis (mainly affecting the knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists);

o Skin rash and skin nodules;

o A peculiar movement disorder, called Sydenham's chorea;

o Epistaxis (nosebleeds);

o Heart problems;

o Abdominal pain;

ARF is diagnosed by history, physical exam, and blood testing for antibodies against streptococcus. ARF and RA can have similar clinical features including arthritis and nodules. But, ARF can usually be distinguished from RA. For instance, rash and migratory arthritis (arthritis that moves from joint to joint) are unusual in RA. Blood tests are also useful for making the distinction.

Bacterial endocarditis (BE) happesn when bacteria from the skin, mouth or intestines enter the bloodstream and infect the heart valves and heart lining. Symptoms include fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms as well as unexplained weight loss and weakness. Diagnosis is made by blood cultures and ultrasound imaging of heart valves. Rheumatoid factor can be elevated in endocarditis, so it is not useful for distinguishing BE from RA.

Arthritis may be a symptom of many viral illnesses. The duration is usually short. Clinical features in adults include:

Joint symptoms occur in up to 60%. Joint pains are more common than true joint inflammation. The joint pains usually don't last long. They are symmetric, and affect small joints of the hands, wrists, knees, and ankle joints. Morning stiffness and swelling can be present. A rash may be present

The most common cause of viral arthritis is probably Parvovirus B19.

Diagnosis of viral arthritis is usually made by blood testing.

RF testing is not helpful in distinguishing between hepatitis C infection and RA because RF levels can be elevated in patients with hepatitis C. However, in these situations, testing for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) can be useful since these antibodies are not significantly elevated in hepatitis C infections.

Natural Cure For Arthritis - Prevention Is Still The Best Option

Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joints. Annually, millions of Americans are affected by this malady especially those in their fifties. But recent surveys revealed that some persons in their twenties already have arthritis. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which is a result of erosion and destruction of the cartilage. The cartilage is a tissue that absorbs shocks to the joints caused by injuries, wear and tear, stress, improper nutrition, genetics, metabolic and endocrine factors. Usual symptoms are pain aggravated by movement, stiffness and in worsening cases, sufferers start to have limitations of movement that may lead to disability.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disease: it means that the person's immune system attacks certain tissues in the body particularly the joints and the synovium. Symptoms are red, stiff painful joints and in some cases fever, weight loss and anemia. The triggers are usually infections or injuries.

Arthritis is usually treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the more recent Celecoxibs. Use of these drugs should be minimized because of some controversies involving these drugs and their many side effects, hence more and more patients seek alternative and natural cure.

Proper Diet and Exercise

Most helpful are low impact exercises like walking, swimming and stretching - you can also ask your physical therapist or physician to make a program of exercise designed for your type of arthritis. Healthy diet is important, so try to eat a balanced diet, take lots of vegetables, fruits, fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins C, E and folic acid. Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, coffee and tea.

Ultrasound Heat Therapy

This uses an ultrasound machine that produces high energy sound waves directed to the affected joints and muscles. It relieves pain and its effect is medium to short term.

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

This is a portable battery operated device that works by sending electrical currents to affected parts of the body. Electrodes are attached to the affected surface and are set in desired duration and intensity of stimulation. Many claim a significant reduction of symptoms and improvement of general well being.

PST (Pulsed Signal Therapy)

When joint tissues are stressed, this creates an electrical signal that causes the body to repair itself. PST works this way - it produces electromagnetic electrical signals at repeated and specific intervals that will in turn activate the body to repair or regenerate. This is usually done at a frequency of nine one-hour sessions.


Diathermy uses electromagnetic heat which is applied to the injured tissues and muscles. Temperature is raised by a high frequency current. It is believed that heat speeds up healing process by increasing blood flow to the injury. Precautions are necessary - for example, it should not be used on wet areas or those with metal objects to avoid risk of burn injury.

Intake of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

These substances are called amino sugars which give elasticity to the cartilage. The recommended amount is 1500mg of glucosamine and 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate per day for at least 6 to 8 weeks to achieve benefits. Precautions are given to children, pregnant women, diabetics, those taking blood thinners and those with allergies.

An Ounce of Prevention is Better than a Pound of Cure

Of course, nothing beats preventive measures to avoid developing crippling Arthritis. One of the most important is to lose weight if you are overweight because extra weight will put more stress to your joints. Intake of antioxidants like Vitamins C and E is recommended because they attack free radicals. There are also studies on the importance of oily fish like salmon, tuna and swordfish.

Regular exercise helps strengthen and make the muscles and joints more flexible to protect them from wear and tear. Simple practical measures include good posture, usage of big joints when lifting and carrying, use of supportive and comfortable shoes, use of protective gears for those in injury prone sports. Minimize job-related induced arthritis like improperly positioned tables and computers.

To de-stress is also a key factor if you are looking for a natural cure for arthritis, as evidence suggests that stress plays an important role in its development, so go on vacation, do some Yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi - and lastly, always have a regular check up with your physician.

Doctor...What Are The Effects Of Alcohol On Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Could a glass of wine at dinner time be the next major arthritis breakthrough?

Possibly... according to a recent Swedish study. A diet of 10% ethanol had a protective effect on mice that would otherwise have developed collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), Swedish researchers report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. CIA is often used as an animal model of human rheumatoid arthritis (RA.)

Andrej Tarkowski, MD, the senior author and a faculty member in the department of rheumatology and inflammation research, Goteborg University, in Sweden, stated that the primary finding was that, in male mice, long term consumption of 10% ethanol delayed the onset and progression of CIA.

The underlying mechanism appears to be a reduction in inflammation due to decreased NF-kB activation (a primary inflammatory pathway) caused by upregulation- or increased production -of testosterone secretion.

The research team fused a CIA model in mice by immunizing male DBA/1 mice with collagen type II (CII). To determine whether drinking ethanol has any impact on the development of CIA, the mice were provided with either 10% ethanol or water alone to drink. Mice were sacrificed after 5 to 6 weeks. All four paws from DBA/1 mice were sectioned, stained, and examined for inflammation of the joint including damage to the joint lining and erosion of bone and cartilage.

The investigators report that development of arthritis due to inflammation was markedly reduced in the ethanol-drinking mice. Ethanol had no such effect on mice with arthritis induced by injection with a mixture of four monoclonal anti-CII antibodies. "These data suggest that ethanol affects the start or initiation rather than the perpetuation of immune responsiveness during CIA," mentioned the researchers.

Joints from the water-drinking mice developed frequent bone and cartilage erosions. Those from the ethanol-drinking mice were "histologically ...intact," meaning no significant damage occurred. In addition, ethanol prevented the arthritis-induced loss of bone mineral density associated with CIA.
"The major surprise in this study was the outstanding effect of ethanol on saving cartilage and bone, suggesting that apart from regulation of inflammatory mediators, matrix metalloproteinases (i.e., tissue destroying enzymes) might be a direct target for ethanol," commented Dr. Tarkowski.

Dr. Tarkowski cautions, "This dose of ethanol was chosen for mice with an exact knowledge regarding the toxicity. This was further confirmed by intact liver function at the end of experiments. In contrast, exchanging water for 10% ethanol in humans eventually will lead to liver disease (cirrhosis). Thus, the optimal dose of ethanol in the human setting to prevent/delay RA is presently unknown. For practical purposes, one could speculate on the use of doses of ethanol similar to those sometimes suggested for prevention of cardiovascular diseases--i.e., something in the range of 1 to 2 glasses of wine per day," he suggested.

"We are presently analyzing whether female mice with arthritis have the same effect from ethanol.
The investigators also compared castrated to intact male mice and found that mice drinking 10% ethanol had significantly elevated levels of testosterone and decreased levels of IGF1 and cortisol. "These observations, considered together with the cellular anti-inflammatory properties of testosterone that lead to a decrease of NF-kB activation, point to testosterone as a potential link mediating the anti-inflammatory effects of ethanol."

So... what are the implications for patients with RA?

The first is that perhaps, a prescription of a glass or two of wine a day is not necessarily bad.

However, there are cautions. The first is that patients who are taking methotrexate need to absolutely limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages because of the danger of developing cirrhosis. Second, patients taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are at increased risk for developing stomach ulcers and alcohol increases that risk.

(Jonsson I-M, Verdrengh M, Brissiert M, et al. Ethanol prevents development of destructive arthritis. PNAS. 2007;104:258-263)

Rhumatol Review - Is it Legitimate?

Rhumatol claims to reverse Rheumatoid arthritis by restoring balance to the immune system at the cellular level. This is achieved by using a proprietary blend of all natural ingredients that restore nutrient deficiencies and restore the body's ability to heal. This is done naturally and without side effects.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that affects millions. If left unchecked it can lead to severe deterioration of joints that may require surgical replacement. RA sufferers experience severe and debilitating joint pain that can affect their ability to perform everyday tasks. As the condition worsens, RA sufferers are often unable to perform beneficial physical activities like exercise. Their energy levels drop and their whole quality of life is impacted. The prescription drugs that are prescribed by doctors often carry severe side effects that Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers are not willing to endure. Many of them turn to natural supplements to complement or replace their treatments. Rhumatol is one such natural supplement that is very popular with RA patients.

Rhumatol claims to be an all natural blend of arthritis fighting ingredients. It also claims that it can be taken safely with no side effects. Let us look at some of the listed ingredients:

1. Mannose: This is a sugar found in fruits like Cranberries. It has antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties.

2. Glucosamine Sulfate: Comes from Shelfish and has been proven to be as effective as, if not more than, common NSAIDS prescribed for joint pain. It is also a major contributor to joint and cartilage health.

3. Xylose: Is a sugar that improves nutrient absorption.

This is a partial list of ingredients but it validates the claim that Rhumatol is indeed all natural. A quick search online for these three ingredients found no side effects or drug interaction warnings.

Available testimonials along with a strong base of faithful followers, indicates that people taking Rhumatol are satisfied with the results. Over 70 % of customers are from word of mouth according to the Rhumatol homepage. This is a very positive indicator that this supplement works.

One thing that was missing was a scientific test that would give concrete results as to the efficacy of Rhumatol. Clearly, a study should be commissioned to validate all the positive effects that this supplement can have on RA sufferers.

This quick review has pointed out certain things to look for when considering Rhumatol as a natural supplement for fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis. Based on the information above, Rhumatol appears to be effective and legitimate.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Arthritis Treatment: What to Do About Wrist Arthritis

The wrist is a complicated joint. Rather than just two bones that interact, the wrist consists of eight small bones all of which interact with each other as well as the two arm bones- the radius and ulna- as well as the bones of the hand.

The wrist bones- called "carpals" are arranged in two rows and are held in place with an intricate system of ligaments.

The wrist has a number of functions. It moves the hand, stabilizes the hand, and enhances the mechanics of the hand in relation to the forearm.

Wrist arthritis results in both severe pain and restriction of movement. Swelling and deformity are other features of wrist arthritis.

A number of conditions can cause wrist arthritis. The most common is rheumatoid arthritis. However, crustal induced arthritis such as gout and pseudogout, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis can also be implicated.

Since the wrist is supposed to stabilize the hand, the resultant pain and deformity from arthritis may result in loss of function with weakness of hand grip.

History and physical exam start the process of diagnosis. Laboratory tests are also useful. While x-rays can detect damage, the findings are late. Magnetic resonance imaging is better for finding early changes.

The general axiom is that initiation of treatment for the underlying disease is needed along with local treatment for the wrist.

Non-surgical measures for wrist arthritis are aimed at pain relief. Splinting can be instituted during acute flares. However, prolonged can lead to wrist stiffness and weakness.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can help reduce swelling and pain.

Steroid injection may be beneficial. Injection should be accompanied by temporary splinting. The results can vary depending on the severity of the underlying problem.

In patients who don't respond to conservative measures, surgery may need to be considered. A number of considerations enter into the decision making process. These include: type of arthritis, the extent of involvement, functional requirements, and patient expectations.

Surgical options include:

Arthroscopy (using a small telescope to examine the inside of the wrist and perform minor surgical procedures such as repairs of ligament tears)
Synovectomy (removal of inflamed joint tissue; particularly useful for rheumatoid arthritis)
Ulnar resection (removing the end of the ulna bone which helps stabilize the wrist biomechanically)
Arthrodesis (fusion)

All of these treatments have their place depending on the extent of disease. Wrist replacements are improving all the time but are still inadequate.

Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Cured Through Stem Cell Treatment? Find the Answer!

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is known as a painful disease which is potential to lead to crippling. Arthritis can be varied such as stiffness, painful joint, swelling, and also limited movement. The parts of the body which are potential to be attacked by the arthritis include the skin, the joints, blood vessels, and some other organs in the body.

Recent studies show that this kind of disease can be healed by using stem cells. These cells are able to keep on growing and dividing as long as the individual is alive. In addition, they are able to turn into any specific cell types. In this case, these cells are claimed to be able to replace the damaged cells due to arthritis. Thus, they are able to provide healthy cells for healing the disease.

If this kind of disease is abandoned, it is potential to cause the heart disease and even death. However, long life treatment is not able to completely cure this disease. Based on the research from Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands showed that patients with arthritis who were treated with stem cells gained improvement.

This study is supported by another study from an Austrian study. This study took longer time with three patients. This study showed that the significant improvement. All studies found that stem cells are safe and effective to use for this disease treatment.

Umbilical cord contains Messenchymal stem cells which are able to form into another type of cells. These cells are then able to replace the damage cells so that they are able to heal the disease. To use as the treatment, these cells are injected to the affected joints or around it. The most benefits the patents can take are that they don't need to take immune suppression drugs.

Another benefit the patients can take is that they are able to provide them long term remission so that the rheumatoid arthritis can be cured. Unlike the medicine, this kind of therapy is able to replace and stop the damage cells from continuing.

Alkaline Arthritis - How to Avoid and Cure Arthritis by Alkalizing Your Body

Having arthritis is not very easy to handle, because it affects the way you move and thereby it affects your everyday work. The worse scenario is that you would not be able to work in the office or anywhere because of the aches and pains that you experience in your joints. Alkaline arthritis diet is a key to avoid and cure this illness.

Do you know that accumulation of too much acid forming foods in the body aggravates arthritis? It is because too much intake of red meat and alcohols lead to large production of uric acid which is a key to promoting gout that is an evidence of arthritis.

Therefore, to be able to prevent and cure it, the best way to do is to eat alkaline forming foods. These foods are the ones that we know that are good for our health. It includes fresh fruits and vegetables. Alkaline arthritis diet is really the best thing to follow.

Lemons are ones among the many alkaline fruits which are proven to be beneficial for arthritic people. It is due to the citric acid that they contain which dissolves uric acid, and this way, curing the unwanted illness.

Raw juices are also proven to be affective in curing arthritis. These juices are made from green leafy vegetables, which are known to be alkaline foods. Because they have alkaline effect on the body, these juices dissolve the accumulation of deposits around the joints and other tissues.

A fresh pineapple juice is also advisable to an arthritic patient because it contains bromelain which reduces swelling and inflammation in ostehoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, banana can be eaten in order to treat arthritis. It contains Vitamin B6 which helps treat the illness. Green gram soup and garlic are also other alternatives to be considered to cure it. These all fall under alkaline diet.

Alkaline water is also a great help to live a life free of aching joints. We should take half an ounce of water for every pound of body weight every day. This way, we will be able to easily and naturally diminish our cravings for junks, sweets and other acid forming foods.

Some of acid forming foods that are not good to arthritic person are red meat, dairy products, alcohol, coffee, frizzy drinks, highly processed food and junk foods. Some of the alkaline foods that can be taken in by our body to avoid and cure arthritis are mineral water, green tea, fruits, vegetables, raw oils and almonds.

Arthritis Sufferer's Should Definitely Treat These Foods With Caution

Arthritis is sometimes referred to as the 'cooked food disease'.

A high combined intake of cooked, sweet, processed and fatty food can be  characteristic in the development of arthritis.

Arthritis along with certain other serious diseases are more prevalent in western society.

Research shows that diseases such as arthritis, cancer, heart conditions are far less common in remote or more primitive areas of the world, the reason for this is not hard to see, our industrialised, modern environment is slowly killing us all.

The foods which cause the most confusion amongst nutritionists and arthritis professionals are those referred to as from the 'nightshade family',

The group of foods known as nightshade contain a substance called alkaloid which is known to have an impact on nerve and digestive function in humans and animals.

I personally use less of these foods than I used too and I would advise you to do the same. I found it beneficial to completely remove all nightshade foods to begin with and added them back into my diet slowly and one at a time.

If you add one of these caution foods at a time, it will become far more obvious which if any, are your personal triggers.

Potatoes (especially when green and sprouting),Tomatoes (especially when green), Hot peppers, Sweet peppers, Paprika, Eggplant,  Cayenne, Tobacco.

The amount of alkaloids contained in these foods is minimal, health problems arising from nightshade foods are rare and tend to only occur in individuals who are especially sensitive to these alkaloid substances, highly sensitive people are very likely to include arthritics.

While it is obvious that a healthy and nutritious food intake will indeed help the body repair itself, I also believe that for any arthritic to gain their best chance of reversing or curing their arthritis, they must tackle all elements of the disease at the earliest point.

Having said that diet could be a good place to start.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Herbal Medicine Treatment


Juniper was a popular diuretic in the 17th century. At the time a Dutch physician created a medicinal alcoholic extract of the berry, which eventually became the basis for gin. It has been suggested that some of the benefit attributed to the gin and raisins remedy comes from the residue of juniper.

American Indians used juniper for arthritic conditions, and German physicians continue to prescribe it for this purpose as well as for indigestion. The German Commission E, the federal authority that regulates herbal medicines in Germany, suggests a dose of 2 to 10 grams of the dried fruit per day.

An alternative is to bruise a teaspoon of juniper berries, place them in a cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes, and drink this infusion. One to two cups of teas a day are recommended, but you shouldn't take it for longer than 6 weeks.

Turmeric and Frankincense

These 2 are ayurvedic herbs. Ayurvedic herbs have a reputation for successful treatment of arthritic conditions that stretches back centuries. Two of the most respected are turmeric (curcumin) and frankincense (boswellin). They have been used individually and together for both esteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.

Turmeric has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity and therefore would be expected to provide relief from a variety of arthritic conditions.

Turmeric appears quite safe since it is a principal ingredient in curries and has been used by Indian cooks for thousands of years. People taking anticoagulants like Coumadin (warfarin) should probably avoid this remedy, however, as turmeric may add to the anticlotting effect.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Treatment

Whilst many people take medication for rheumatoid arthritis natural treatment is often a very effective solution. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of this disease, and is where the lining of the joints becomes inflamed. The condition can become very painful, and lead to the sufferer being unable to perform certain functions. It can also become severely debilitating as the condition worsens.

There are a number of medications that are available on prescription to ease the symptoms of this type of arthritis, and these are taken to bring down inflammation so that the joints are more flexible. However, there are also natural treatments that can be used for the treatment of this problem, and these can be effective because they also offer anti-inflammatory benefits, but often without the side effects of prescription medication.

Some natural and herbal treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

There are a number of natural and herbal remedies that can help to ease the symptoms and pain that is associated with this problem, and without causing the variety of side effects that traditional medication can cause. This is why many people think that in order to treat rheumatoid arthritis natural treatment is the best option.

Some of the herbs that are used in natural remedies for the treatment of this form of arthritis include:

Celery seeds: These can help to clear uric acid from around the joints of sufferers

Chinese Skullcap: Rich in antioxidants, Chinese Skullcap is said to offer valuable anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory benefits, similar to those offered by some prescription drugs. However, this comes without the toxic side effects that prescribed medication can cause.

Dandelion: This is a valuable natural remedy that can help sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis in a number of ways. This includes dispelling uric acid, strengthening connective tissue, and reducing the level and frequency of pain.

Devil's Claw: This root is used to reduce inflammation and it does this through effectively dispelling uric acid in sufferers.

Ginger: Ginger is something that many people use regularly in their diets due to its health benefits. Studies have shown that ginger can effectively help to reduce both pain and swelling, and can be taken in different forms including as a drink (such as ginger tea) or even as a compress.

Turmeric: It is claimed that the yellow pigment in turmeric offers valuable anti-inflammatory benefits, and is also said to benefit the function of the liver.

How stretching can assist sufferers of this arthritis

It is not just herbs and plants that can help to ease the symptoms of this form of arthritis. Stretching is something that sufferers can do to help themselves. Whilst joints that are acutely inflamed should be rested, it is possible to help maintain increased mobility in non-inflamed joints through stretching.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

You Can Cure Arthritis Naturally

More than fifty million Americans suffer from arthritis, the inflammation of one or more joints. This condition affects the body's movable joints, or synovial, joints. Joints of the body are found at the knees, wrists, elbows, fingers, toes, hips, and shoulders. The neck and back also have joints between the bones of the spine. Osteoarthritis is usually caused by a number an injury or defect in the protein that makes up the cartilage surrounding the ends of the bones. It is associated with the wear and tear of aging. This form of arthritis usually occurs in people 40 years of age or older. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body improperly identifies the synovial membrane and attacks it, replacing the damaged tissue with scar tissue. This form of arthritis frequently occurs in people under forty, including young children. While Osteoarthritis affects individual joints, Rheumatoid Arthritis affects all of the joints in the body. Infectious Arthritis can be caused bacterial/viral/fungal infection of a joint. Usually, the infecting organism travels through the bloodstream to the joint from an infection elsewhere in the body.

Symptoms include: redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness in the affected joint accompanied by systemic symptoms of infection such as fever, chills, and body aches. High protein foods (Animal Foods- meat and dairy) are generally high in purines, which are the primary building blocks of our genetic code material , DNA and RNA. Proteins break down to form uric acid (not urea). Too much protein intake (60 grams or above daily) leads to the collection of uric acid in the joints which leads to arthritis. Also, if the blood is too acidic, this may cause the cartilage in the joints to dissolve, the joints lose their normal smooth sliding motion, the bones rub together, the joints become inflamed and this causes pain. Blood acidity is most often caused by excess protein from animal foods.


  • Eat more sulfur containing foods such as asparagus, garlic and onions. Sulfur is needed for the repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage, connective tissue and aids in the absorption of calcium.

  • Boron can be of great benefit; supplementation of boron led to significatnt improvements inpatients suffering from arthritis. Envirn Health Perspect, 102 (Suppl 7), Novemember 1994, p.83-85.

  • Consume organic (if available), unrefined primrose oil to supply essential fatty acids that increase the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

  • Get regular, moderate exercise as this is essential for reducing pain and retarding joint deterioration. Bicycle riding, walking and water exercise are good choices.

  • Vitamin D is needed for proper bone formation. Spend time outdoors for fresh air and sunshine and take VITAFORCE daily.

  • The treatment with a daily dose of 150 mg of Vitamin C over a period of 20 days reduced arthritic swelling, increased pain tolerance... Journal of American Podiatry Medical Association, 80(8), August 1990, p. 414-418.) For an all natural whole food source of Vitamin C, take two servings of VITAFORCE daily.

Things to Avoid:

  • All animal foods (dairy, meat, fish, etc...) as this may cause the cartilage in the joints to dissolve, the joints lose their normal smooth sliding motion, the bones rub together, the joints become inflamed and this causes pain.

  • Caffeine, salt, tobacco, fried foods, junk foods, and sugar.

  • Do not take iron supplements or a multi-vitamin containing iron. Iron is supected of being involved in pain, swelling, and joint destruction. Good sources of iron include blackstrap molasses, dark leafy greens, wheatgrass, broccoli, and peas.

References: 1) James F. Balch, M.D, Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C, "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," (1997)

2) (R.H. Davis, et al., "Vitamin C influence on Localized Adjuvant Arthritis," Journal of American Podiatry Medical Association, 80(8), August 1990, p. 414-418.)

3) R.E. Newnham, "Essential of Boron for healthy Bones and Joints," Envirn Health Perspect, 102 (Suppl 7), Novemember 1994, p.83-85

4) E. Bien, "The Relation of Dietary Nitrogen Consumption to the Rate of Uric Acid Synthesis in the Normal and Gouty Men," Journal of Clinicaal Invest (1953):778

Stem Cell Treatment For Osteoarthritis - What is it All About?

While many new and amazing therapies for rheumatoid arthritis have been developed in recent years, very little progress has been made in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and affects approximately 30 million Americans. OA is a disease of articular cartilage, the gristle that caps the ends of long bones. Cartilage has both gliding as well as shock absorbing properties.

It is this flexibility of function that enables a joint to work properly.

Normal cartilage is composed of cells called chondrocytes that sit inside a matrix consisting of collagen and glycosaminoglycans... much like grapes inside Jello.

Osteoarthritis develops when the chondrocyte begins to malfunction and starts to produce destructive enzymes. At the same time water content inside the matrix changes making it more susceptible to stress. Small cracks, called "fissures" develop. Also, local inflammation involving the lining of the joint- called the synovium- begins. The end result is a gradual and premature wearing away of cartilage.

This process is most apparent in weight-bearing areas such as the neck, low back, hips, and knees.

Current approaches to the treatment of OA involve the use of analgesics (pain-relieving medicines), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), physical therapy, proper weight management, exercises, injections of steroids, injections of viscosupplements (lubricants), and surgery.

While many of the above treatments help relieve pain, they do nothing to prevent cartilage loss... and more importantly, they do nothing to restore cartilage.

Orthopedic techniques such as chondrocyte transplantation and cartilage plug surgery are helpful for discrete, relatively small areas of cartilage loss but are generally reserved for younger people who have had traumatic injuries to cartilage. But what about the older person who suffers from osteoarthritis?

In recent years there has been much interest in the role of regenerative techniques to rebuild cartilage.

The topic of much study are stem cells. Stem cells are pluripotential cells, meaning they are cells that can become any kind of tissue, given the right stimulus. Stem cells can be obtained from embryonic tissue, which is a source of much controversy. Or they can be obtained from adults. The adult body has a small number of stem cells in many tissues. They are activated by injury or illness. Adult stem cells, as a rule, do not have the ability to differentiate as well as embryonic stem cells.

However, in recent years, techniques have been developed to harvest mesenchymal stem cells- stem cells found in the bone marrow. These mesenchymal stem cells cells, when properly prepared and concentrated, have the ability to differentiate into cartilage and bone.

Stem cells are harvested from the the patient's iliac crest bone marrow using local anesthetic and a special type of biopsy needle. The stem cells are then specially concentrated.

After the stem cells are prepared, the physician, using ultrasound guidance and local anesthetic, finds the area of arthritis involvement and irritates the area using a special large needle. This irritation is important because it initiates an inflammatory reaction which is the prelude to healing and regeneration. The areas that are irritated include the capsule, tendon insertions, pericapsular soft tissue, as well as cartilage.

Blood is drawn from the patient and spun in a special centrifuge in order to obtain platelet rich plasma. Platelets are blood cells that contain multiple growth and healing factors.

Once the irritation has been completed, stem cells as well as the platelet rich plasma are injected into the prepared area.

The growth factors within the platelet rich plasma act on receptors found on the surface of stem cells and cause the stem cells to differentiate and multiply.

The end result is cartilage regeneration as well as lessening of pain. While the data is preliminary, the early results appear to be very promising.

Can A Diet Or Specific Food List Help Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis?

There is a discussion going on for years now, doctors against patients, scientist against believers in alternative health and so on. Because it is never been scientifically proven that a diet or a list of foods that you should or should not eat can help against rheumatoid arthritis, doctors will almost never advise this. But many patients believe that there are certain known foods that help with there rheumatoid arthritis. So who should you believe?

There are many kinds of illnesses where a diet can help. Diets seem to be part of a healthy life, you need proper nourishment before you can function. For the many years this discussion is going on there is in fact no prove for either of the sides. It can't be proved and it can't be denied.

There has been done research that suggest that oranges, fish oils and green tea are some of the foods that can help with this disease but it hasn't been proven, yet. You can also eliminate all kinds of foods that might worsen it in your body, but you need to be aware that this can result in an unbalanced diet. It is better to remove specific foods that you have experienced to be a trigger for your pain than eradicating everything that is under that same type of food.

A diet or food that help with your rheumatoid arthritis can probably give you relief but it is no cure, but the regular medical treatments for it is also almost never a cure, so the best thing you can do in our opinion is to try it for yourself, if you can reduce the amount of pain killers it is already worth the trouble. When you look for this kind of alternative treatment online you will find out that there are lists available with foods that could be helpful or should be avoided, just try one tip at a time for a couple of weeks, if it works keep it, if it doesn't put it aside.

In general, most lists recommend more fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing your daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) and a reduction of coffee, alcohol, processed foods, and fried foods. And whatever it does for your rheumatoid arthritis this advise can't do any harm. You probably will lose some weight and this is also a good thing to relief the pain from this disease. There are many studies that have shown that even a small amount of extra weight can have a dramatic effect on it.

We now know that a diet or a list of foods will not cure you from rheumatoid arthritis but it is also clear that it can help you to live a healthier life and that is always a first step to a better condition. And when you do experience less pain and less stiffness in your joints take note of your diet and try it again and again and share it with others online.

Monoclonal Antibodies - For The Treatment Of Various Diseases

Monoclonal antibodies are widely used for the treatment of various types of cancers. They are mainly involved in immunotherapy. Clinical study is conducting on various monoclonal antibodies and other related proteins. Many of these antibodies are being approved for diseases like inflammation and cancer. A lot of researches are conducting to create monoclonal antibodies that are able to cure various diseases.

Some of the diseases cured by these antibodies include:

Various types of cancers
Rheumatoid arthritis
Multiple sclerosis

What Is Antibody Screening and Phage Display?

Antibody screening is the process used for identifying productive cell lines. This will help to minimize the cost of downstream processing steps. Early identification of productive cell lines will enhance the success in scale up activities. Phage display screening process is mainly used for the identifying high affinity antibodies or peptides. Following are some of the important uses of phage display:

Used for screening protein interaction
Help to analyze the mechanism or functioning of a protein
One of the important techniques used in protein engineering.
Considered as a tool in medicine or drug discovery
Help to determine tumor antigens

Function of Antibodies

The immune system of our body is capable of generating certain antibodies. These antibodies will attach foreign substances called antigens and neutralize or destroy them. If our body is exposed to a bacteria or virus, then it will get rid of infection by producing antibodies. Antibodies are considered as the natural defensive substances. They are generally produced by the B cell of the immune system. They help in the recognition of foreign antibodies and then stimulate immune response to them. Antigen presenting cells are involved in adaptive immune response.

Important Medications Using Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies can be used in different forms of therapy. They are used for blocking certain cell receptors and also for destroying malignant tumor cells. There are also variations within the treatment procedures. These types of treatment mainly include medications like Bexxar, Herceptin and Rituxan. Bexxar contains a radioactive iodine molecule and so it does not have a naked form. This medicine has some negative effects like fever, shakes or chills. Medication involving Herceptin is specific for destroying cancer cells in the breast. Treatment procedure that involves Rituxan is very much effective in treating various types of lymphomas, especially Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Various Aspects of Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

Monoclonal antibody therapy is quite effective and safe for certain patients. This treatment is not suitable for routine clinical setting because it have to be tailored to each individual patient. This technology is effective in creating antibodies against certain antigens present on the tumor surfaces. These are laboratory produced substances which are able to produce anti-tumor effects. They have been used with radioactive particles or toxins for killing cells. They are mainly used for binding molecule called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). TNF is the main cause of inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis. Monoclonal proteins called Remicade and Humira are TNF inhibitors.

Is Arthritis Hip Pain Grinding You Into Submission? Discover What's Behind it and End Your Pain Now

Do you know if you are experiencing arthritis hip pain? Many people don't understand the very symptoms of arthritis hip pain; consequently, they may blow the symptoms off as "just some nagging injury that will heal up" or "I must have twisted my hip a little, I'll be alright in a few days".

But if you really are experiencing arthritis hip pain, not the effects of an injury, you can't treat that pain in your hip the way you might have always treated it before. If you've got pain in your hip due to arthritis, it is probably a form of rheumatoid arthritis. And while men can and do certainly get rheumatoid arthritis in their hips and elsewhere in their bodies, it is a fact that about 75% of "rheumatism" sufferers are women--especially when it comes to the hips. Why this is so is essentially a mystery, but we know that it's a fact. Therefore, the first hint that the pain in your hips might be arthritis is your being female.

Rheumatoid arthritis, as doctors will tell you, is possibly a conglomeration of several diseases all at once, for while it is based in inflammation it also directly affects the immune system--and affects it for worse, not better. When you get this disease in your joints, such as your hip joints, you may experience limitations on your hips' range of mobility as well as tenderness and the obvious pain caused by inflammation. If you suspect that you are experiencing arthritis hip pain, you should go to your doctor immediately. X-rays can determine if there is wear and tear on the joints because of damage done in that area to tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and bone. Once this damage is done, arthritis hip pain can arise because of circumstances similar to what happens when the break pads on your car wear out and suddenly the metal bar is pressing directly against the inner part of your tires. Your pain is like that "squeal" sound or, if things get really bad, just like your breaking bar pressing metal-to-metal--wearing out your tires quickly and causing you to be unable to stop properly. This is why your range of motion is compromised--and, it's the source of the intense pain that you feel.

Rheumatoid arthritis is so sinister because it can come on without any warning. There are people suffering from arthritis who have gone to bed fine one night and woken up in the morning with sudden aches and pains, loss of mobility in the joints, low-level fevers (a possible arthritic symptom), and fatigue (another possible symptom). Arthritis in the hips can cause the hip joints to become destabilized and even deformed. This could clearly lead to loss of walking speed, diminished ability to balance which could be especially dangerous in certain places such as when taking a shower, and perhaps, eventually, the need to use a cane or be in a wheelchair.

If you have pain or tenderness in your hips and you suddenly cannot move your hips as you usually could, first consider if you've done something to injure yourself. But, if you cannot rationally figure out how you did this, then you must get to your doctor right away and check for it being arthritis hip pain. Remember, this condition can come on literally overnight, although of course it has built up to that point over time. There are steps you can take to diminish the pain and perhaps even keep it at bay. But arthritis hip pain is nothing to be taken lightly or ignored

Is Migratory Rheumatoid Arthritis Caused by Other Medical Conditions?

Painful, rigid joints are the main symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, the actual cause is still unknown although there are many theories about the possible causes. There are many types of arthritis and migratory rheumatoid arthritis is one of them. The symptoms differ little from the normal type, the condition seems to move from joint to joint but not in the same way as with normal Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)which has a typical symmetrical pattern. This type does not move from the right to the left but goes from joint to joint in the same body side. So there is a distinct difference in symptoms.

Do we know the migratory rheumatoid arthritis causes?

That question is not easy to answer because the are many different theories about the actual causes but if you look closer they all add up in the same way. There is a list of different medical conditions that seem to trigger migratory rheumatoid arthritis or are at least in some way connected to this illness. One of those medical conditions is enough to be the trigger it is not necessary to have all of them, one is nor than enough. Most of these medical conditions have in some way to do with the body's immune system.

The most common conditions are:

- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Rheumatic fever
- Other forms of arthritis
- Lyme disease
- Whipples disease

There are many more and some of these conditions are illnesses that are quite uncommon in the western world these days. Vaccinations, inoculation an education have helped to eliminate the risk of getting these diseases. In countries where this is not the case the risks of catching these kind of condition is much higher.

From one joint to the other

Most of the symptoms of migratory RA are the same as with common arthritis these symptoms include pain in the joint area, stiffness in the joint, swelling ore other signs of inflammation. The most common is off course in all cases of arthritis that the pain is concentrated in and around the joints that are effected, there is just one very distinct difference between the common type of RA and the migratory variety and that is that it can spread from joint to joint and causing the symptoms there also.

Cure and Treatment

As with all other types of arthritis there is no cure, there are many different treatments both regular remedies as natural remedies that can help you to deal with the symptoms but an actual cure is still not in sight yet. Most of the time you can divide the treatment in to types, the painkillers and the ones that help the joint from getting stiff. Most regular medication can have severe side effects and this is a reason for more and more people to make the move to natural and homeopathic remedies. These work on a totally different level and the side effects are non existing or very temporally. Also the use of a diet is something that more people are trying. But remember with everything you do in both regular as natural treatment, you need to keep your doctor informed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Benefits of Aloe in Pain Relief For Arthritis

Although arthritis won't really kill you, it can literally cripple you. Arthritis causes a lot of limitations and cuts back even the most undemanding activities such as bathing, walking or dressing up. Because of intense pain in the joints, arthritis can be quite debilitating. Added to that, it's also a recurring disease.

Arthritis affects many thousands of people every year and statistics show that one in every three adults over 40 suffer or will suffer from arthritis as they age. Arthritis has no specified age or gender parameter since arthritis can develop even in infants, but most sufferers begin to experience symptoms when they near their fifties, with more than 50% occurring before the age of 65. The sad thing about arthritis is that it can be debilitating both to the body and to one's finances. It is estimated that arthritis can cost a single person a whopping $150,000 in medical or support treatment and lost wages during his or her lifetime.

The two most common types of arthritis that afflict the greater percentage of the population are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition that results from normal wear and tear of the knees, hips, or ankles since they bear much of the weight in the body. Arthritis also invades the shoulders and other highly mobile joints in the cervical and lumbar spinal regions. Like grease on joints and gears in a mechanical structure, synovial fluid maintains lubrication and ease of movement within our joints. It is also responsible for the overall health of the cartilage surrounding the bone interface. Synovial fluid inevitably shrinks with age and cartilage undergoes wear and tear with heavy use, eventually causing the bones to grind against each other. This grinding action is what causes arthritis pain and the difficulty in movements.

Rheumatoid Arthritis on the other hand is a condition brought about by the assault of anti-bodies on the synovial lining of the joints. Although these anti-bodies are produced by our own immune system, genetics, certain infections or environmental factors can trigger immune system upsets and cause destruction of the synovial membrane and the cartilage. Inflammatory conditions such as swelling, stiffness and pain manifest as a result of this. Rheumatoid Arthritis affects any age group, and this type of immunologically induced arthritis is also prevalent in other systemic illnesses such as Lupus and Scleroderma.

Symptoms of arthritis are not permanent - the disease is said to be active when inflammation is present and that period is known as a "flare". When the symptoms go away, it is said that the disease is "in remission". Remission can be accomplished through treatment or may occur spontaneously and may last for months or even years.

Conventional treatments for arthritis include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids to relieve its painful effects. Typically, these come in the form of cortisone injections or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or what is commonly known as NSAIDs. These types of treatment bring pain relief, unfortunately they don't repair the damaged tissues - hence relief is said to be merely symptomatic.

NSAIDs and steroids are also known to produce adverse effects. Most prominent of these are osteoporosis and some thinning of the skin. NSAIDs are also observed to increase the incidence of stomach ulcers.

No cure for arthritis has been discovered yet, but there is growing evidence that tissue repair and replacement can delay disease progression. In fact, this has been the focus of controversial stem cell replacement studies over the years. Whether or not stem cell replacement will eventually emerge as the cure for arthritis, it is a welcome relief to know that natural substances are available to relieve arthritis pain and discomfort, and slow progression of the disease - without the side effects.

One of the best known natural substances for its anti-inflammatory properties is Aloe Vera. Aloe generally provides analgesic relief and it has demonstrated positive results at immune system stimulation to speed up cell replacement and growth. Aloe Vera contains basic sugars which are also found in every cell of the body - it is rich in nutrients that include vitamins E, C, and the B series, as well as iron, manganese, calcium and zinc. Aloe Vera also contains essential amino and fatty acids needed by the body.

Possibly more than its nutritional benefits is the ability of Aloe Vera to help the body regenerate cells and repair damaged tissue. A breakthrough formulation combines aloe with glucosamine and chondroitin, two joint supplements that are building blocks of cartilage found within joints. Glucosamine increases fluid maintenance in the cartilage, while chondroitin, an ingredient of cartilage tissue, takes charge of drawing in fluids and nutrients. As we age, the body's capacity to produce these natural elements of healthy cartilage is diminished, thus leading to painful joint conditions. Combined with Aloe Vera which aids in tissue repair and cell regeneration, natural relief for arthritis without the side effects may simply be found in a glass of naturally occurring substances!

Rheumatoid Arthritis - There Is Still Hope

Back in February 2009, I came down with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had no idea what was happening. I just woke up one morning and my feet and knees were stinging and burning. They just hurt, more than they had ever hurt before. I tried to put my feet on the floor, but the sharp stinging pain became intense as they touched the floor. As I looked at my feet and knees they were red, swollen and quite warm to the touch, and just touching them was quite painful.

I called my work to let them know I wouldn't be in that day. I then called my doctor and made an appointment for that afternoon. As the day went on, the pain became worse. By that afternoon I was forced to use crutches to get myself to the car. By the time I had reached the car, I was in tears, from the sharp stabbing pain each time my feet touched the ground.

My wife drove me to the doctor's and brought out a wheelchair for me. Again I had to stand to get into the wheelchair. I couldn't remember ever having such intense sharp stabbing pains. As my doctor evaluated my swollen feet and knees he ordered x-rays and sonograms and set up an appointment with a podiatric specialist within a few days. In the meantime, he gave me a prescription for pain medication, Hydrocodone.

Again, a few days later, I made my way to the car in tears and to the Podiatrist's Office. She went over my x-rays and scans and examined my feet and knees and told me that I should see a Rheumatologist. She suggested one about an hour away, saying he was one of the best in the area. After returning home and regaining my composure, I called to make an appointment with the Rheumatologist. The soonest they could get me in was six weeks. I couldn't believe they couldn't work me in sooner, but they insist that was the soonest available date. They did say they would put me on their cancellation list and if there were any cancellation they would get me in sooner, but there were already eight others on that list ahead of me.

For the next six weeks, I worked out the least painful routines, as far as bathing, going to the bathroom, pillow positions so I could sleep, and keeping anything from touching my feet. My feet were swollen so tight I couldn't even wiggle my ankles, more less my toes. My knees were so tender that any side pressure was extremely painful. So just trying to roll over in bed was a major painful ordeal. Those six weeks would have been totally unbearable if it wasn't for the TV and my laptop. The TV was a great distraction from the pain and the laptop kept me in touch with what was happening at work, in town or any where else. This was a lot better than just popping pain pills. In fact, I was able to stop taking the pain pills except when I was trying to get to sleep. I would take two about an hour before turning out the lights and I would sleep fairly well.

When I finally got in to see the Rheumatologist, he knew what was going on within a few minutes of examination. He took a few blood tests to confirm his assessment and check for any other problems. Then he wrote me a couple of prescriptions for Gabapentin and Plaquenil. The Gabapentin is used for nerve or neuralgia pain relief and Plaquenil which is a Hydroxychloroquine, is used for aggressive treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, but it has serious side effects such as: It can cause blurred vision and light flashes; Can cause neurological problems, headaches, weakness in muscles, dizziness; May change your blood chemistry, white blood cell count, low platelets, anemia...; Hearing problems, even possible hearing loss; And even Liver and Kidney damage. He wanted me on Plaquenil because of the severity of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and wanted me back in 4 weeks to run more blood tests to check for any possible side effects. He also told me even with this aggressive medication, it would take 10 - 12 weeks before I would notice any changes or improvements. Now that was down right discouraging, and yes, it did take a full 12 weeks before I started noticing an easing of pain and reduction in swelling. One morning I woke up and I could roll my ankles a bit and wiggle my toes ever so slightly, and I was excited. It was more than I could have done in the past several months.

For the next three months I was able to get back to work in a wheelchair. I kept my feet propped up on a box under my desk to help to keep the swelling down. It was still very painful to stand just long enough to move from the car to the wheelchair or when going to the bathroom, especially that first month back at work.

As time went on, I was able to drive myself to work and get the wheelchair out of the back seat by myself. I had to practice this several times before I was able to do it without falling over. Have you ever seen a turtle on his back, well, that was me. Luckily I had the wheelchair out of the car when I lost my balance and went over. I was able to open the wheelchair and use it to pull myself up.

Each time I was able to do something new and/or better, it gave me a feeling of accomplishing something worth while. I kept trying to do new things, to do things better, and as I kept seeing improvements, it encouraged me to do more.

After three months in the wheelchair, I started getting around at home with a cane. My legs were getting stronger and I was becoming more stable as I regained strength back to my legs and ankles. I finally started using my cane at work and leaving the wheelchair home.

After about six months on Gabapentin and Plaquenil, the doctor took me off the Plaquenil and put me on Sulfasalazine, with the Gabapentin. The Sulfasalazine is used for milder cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis and has very few side effects. Now that my Rheumatoid Arthritis was under control, he felt the Sulfasalazine would be sufficient to control my joint inflammation and also it has fewer side effects; Temporary nausea and upset stomach. I only have one kidney, so I am very protective of it and I expressed that concern to my doctor on our second visit.

It has been a couple of years now and I am doing quite well. I have not been able to run laps, and my joints are a bit stiff in the morning, or after sitting for a while, but other than that, I'm happy to be able to just get around again.

Life is good when you are mobile. I hope this information is of some benefit to you and provides the encouragement you are in need of.

Thank you

Natural Cures For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease estimated to affect approximately 1-2% of people worldwide. It is believed that the body is attacking the synovial fluid, a fluid that surrounds and cushions your joints. This results in painful inflammations and joint stiffness.

Many people have sought treatment from doctors and while there is no sure-fire cure, many people have has success with natural cures for rheumatoid arthritis. These cures provide a safe and effective to reduce inflammation naturally, without the side effects of drugs or the painful stomach ulcers from continually taking Advil. As with any treatment for a medical condition, and especially with rheumatoid arthritis, it's important to keep track of when you start a treatment, how you feel during the treatment and if there are any side effects associated with the treatment. It may be helpful to keep a food journal just to remind yourself when you started which treatment.

Some of these natural treatments people have tried include taking natural food supplements (such as vitamins and minerals) as well as altering diet to try to modify their bodies intakes of certain foods (such as omega 6 fatty acids or dairy) as well as increase their intake of other foods (such as omega 3 fatty acids, or glucosamine chondroitin). It's important to realize that it takes time for a chemical to build up in the blood stream and joints and that it may take a while before you start to see any effects. This can often lead to the belief that these cures for arthritis are old-wives tales. Typically, you'll need to wait at least 12 weeks before you'll see any results.

With a little bit of patience and perseverance you'll be able to find the natural cure for rheumatoid arthritis that works for you.

What Is Crippling Arthritis and How Can You Deal With It?

Starting at the beginning is always the best way to tackle a complex subject, I reckon. So, if you bear with me, I'll tell this one by breaking it into its two parts: (a) describing the condition and (b) sharing tried and tested ways of dealing with it.

1. What it is:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory disease, considered to be an auto-immune disorder, in which the body's defence system mistakenly attacks its own cells as if they were foreign invaders. Areas most commonly affected are the connective tissues that act as 'shock absorbers' in the joints. Over time, these can include the jaws, spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, knees, ankles and toes. As a systemic disorder, R.A. can also damage the organs, including heart, lungs, eyes and skin.

You can see why someone like me - having lived through forty years with RA - calls it 'The Beast.'

  • It is the second most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common. Other types include gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. In the 2007-09 period, about 50 million adults in the United States were diagnosed with one of the many forms of arthritis. Of these, an estimated 1.5 million adults had rheumatoid arthritis. In the same period, 400,000 Australians were affected by the disease. RA is three times more likely to occur in females and can have its onset at any age, even in toddlers, but most often starts in the 35-64 year age groups.

When my specialist asked, a few years ago, if I'd attend a presentation to students at the local university campus, he told me: 'These new graduates will never see hands like yours in the course of their medical careers.'

2. History of RA

Because the first medical description of the condition dates to 1864, it has been thought of as a modern disease. But in 1483, the Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli made a painting known as 'Portrait of a Youth' in which the young male subject shows the distinctive deformities of RA in his hand. Some may say there is room for doubt since the portrayal is 'only a painting.'

From a personal viewpoint, I can add my recollection of embarrassment about a similar 'mistake.' After moving to my State capital, I entered an Art contest in which a painting of mine was awarded First Prize. The judge was tactful enough to wait until after the presentation to express his surprise at a blunder I'd made. In my picture, the main figure held an umbrella by a painted hand with the same deformed index finger of my own left hand. In absence of the model, I'd used my own hand's reflection in my studio mirror, painting what I'd become so used to that it no longer registered with me as abnormal.

Botticelli is famed for his draughtsmanship, his drawing cannot be faulted, so his depiction of the young R.A. sufferer must be taken as evidence of a much earlier origin than previously accepted for this wretched condition.

3. Diagnosis:

The first signs will differ in every person but the most usual are: morning stiffness and or pain in the wrists or hands on waking. Typically, the fingers will be swollen and may be resistant to uncurling from the palms. Both sides of the body are usually involved.

The first step is, of course, a visit to your GP. She or he may order blood tests that will show if you need to consult a specialist. If the results are bad news, your doctor will refer you to a rheumatologist. The good news is: really effective disease-modifying-anti-rheumatic-drugs, known as DMARDs, are making the lives of those newly diagnosed with this disorder far more comfortable than in the past. Because I have to type this with two 'fingers' made from rubber-tipped pencils held in my 'fists,' I will have to stop here. But I promise that in the next article I will share many tips on overcoming the obstacles thrown up by RA that I've discovered during my long acquaintance with 'The Beast.' (c)Dorothy Gauvin