Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wrist Arthritis - What Could it Be?

Arthritis of the wrist may not sound like a big deal... until you need to open a door, type on your computer, or shake hands. Then you realize how much a role your wrist plays in these simple activities.

The wrist is like many other joints. It's enclosed in a synovial membrane. It consists of the ends of the radius and ulna- two long bones- that articulate with a row of eight carpal bones. The carpal bones in the wrist also articulate with the metacarpal bones of the hand. The entire wrist complex is stabilized by tendons and ligaments and encased in a synovial membrane.

When arthritis develops, the wrist complex is affected by inflammation of the synovial membrane as well as by any other problem that causes the cartilage that surrounds all the bones in the wrist to wear away.

While wrist pain may occur as the first sign of a problem, the inability to perform simple activities of daily living follows shortly.

The pain may be dull initially but then becomes sharper and more constant.

Grip strength diminishes. Inflammation progresses, then there may be pressure on the other structures that pass through the wrist such as the median nerve. This leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.

The treatment of wrist arthritis is dependent on the cause. Forms of arthritis that commonly affect the wrist include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and pseudogout. When inflammatory forms of arthritis affect the wrist, there is wearing away of cartilage as well as damage to the supporting structures. Wearing away of the cartilage leads to misalignment and deformity as well as wrist dysfunction. Swelling and fluid accumulation may occur.

When wrist arthritis occurs, there is a benefit in that wrist involvement by arthritis generally is often a tip off to diagnosis. For instance, rheumatoid arthritis is one of the more common forms of arthritis that affect the wrist. By allowing an earlier diagnosis, early intervention can lead to remission.

Physical therapy and specific exercise may be beneficial as are splinting and anti-inflammatory medicines. Sometimes, injection with glucocorticoids may be necessary.

In advanced cases, surgery may be necessary. Surgical procedures include excision arthroplasty where the end of the ulna bone is removed. This often helps with some forms of arthritis since it allows more freedom of movement.

Joint fusion and joint replacement may be called for in extreme cases. Wrist replacement currently lasts about ten to fifteen years depending on the amount of activity.

Hand Arthritis - Symptoms and Treatment

Arthritis in the hand or wrists is common, but can be very debilitating. We use our hands for the vast majority of our daily living activities, from washing and dressing to more intricate tasks such as typing or threading a needle. When the joints in the hand and the digits are affected by arthritis, day to day living can be very difficult.

What causes hand arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is one of the main causes of hand arthritis. The hands and wrists are made up of many small bones and joints, which interact with each other to provide the range of motion needed. The joints are protected by a layer of cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber and provides a smooth surface for the bones of the joints to glide over easily. However, over time cartilage can become worn or damaged due to disease or injury. As we age, our cartilage is less able to repair itself, and eventually the smooth, pain free motion of the joint is lost. As the bones begin to rub against the rough surfaces of the worn cartilage and eventually against each other, they can lose their normal shape and become disfigured.

Synoval fluid is naturally produced by the body as lubrication for the joints, but when cartilage becomes damaged, the body will often produce more synoval fluid in an attempt to cushion the joint. However, this can cause swelling within the joint, and reduce motion.

An injury to the hand or wrist, such as a fracture or dislocation, can make the joints more susceptible to arthritis, especially if the surface or the joint has been damaged.

Hand arthritis can also occur as the result of disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which affects the whole body, so it is likely that other joints will also be affected, and other symptoms, such as fever, fatigue and general stiffness, may also be experienced.


The first symptoms of hand arthritis are general joint pain or a burning sensation in the affected area. This is likely to occur after repeated use, such as heavy lifting or prolonged typing. Stiffness of the affected area, particularly first thing in the morning, is also a common symptom.

These symptoms will increase in severity as the disease progresses. Sensations of pain may be present constantly, not just when the hands are in use. Swelling of the affected joints is likely to occur, which can make them appear larger, and the area may be red and appear warm to the touch. The motion and use of the joints is likely to be affected, and daily living tasks will become increasingly more difficult.

Crepitus may be experienced; crepitus is the grating or clicking sensation experienced by the damaged cartilage surfaces rubbing against each other. If the end finger joints are affected, small cysts can develop.

If rheumatoid arthritis is the cause, subcutaneous nodules can develop under the skin and can be accompanied by joint damage and deformity.

Arthritis caused by osteoarthritis can be diagnosed by X-ray or bone scans if the disease is in the early stages. Rheumatoid arthritis can generally be detected by blood tests.


There are a range of treatments available for hand arthritis, consisting of non surgical or surgical options.

Non surgical treatments work by relieving pain and inflammation, and preventing further deterioration of the joints. Anti-inflammatory medications are likely to be prescribed.

Cortisone Injections may also be used, which contain a long lasting anesthetic to reduce pain. Although these injections can provide pain relief for several weeks, their use should be limited as they can cause side effects such as infection and tendon and ligament weakness.

Some patients experience relief by using heat and ice packs on the affected areas, and gently exercising or massaging the joints and fingers can help to maintain joint mobility.

A splint can also be applied to affected joints to support the area during times of use. A splint should only be worn when stress is likely to be placed on the affected area or when pain is experienced, as prolonged use can cause muscle wasting.

If non surgical treatment does not relieve symptoms, or if the condition is advanced, then surgical treatment may be considered. There are several different options for surgery, including joint fusions, joint reconstruction or joint replacement. Your doctor should be able to advise on which option would be best for you based on the progression of the arthritis, your age and your lifestyle.

Although hand arthritis cannot be cured, the range of treatments now available can minimize your symptoms and help you to continue to live a full and active life.

Is it Possible to Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis?

One of the reasons why it is difficult to prevent rheumatoid arthritis is that the medical community does not know what causes it. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic degeneration of the cartilage in the joints. It is caused by an autoimmune response that turns the body's white blood cells against that cartilage. It is characterized by swollen, tender joints that are stiff and painful to move. This is more so after periods of inactivity such as first thing in the morning. There is no known cure for this disease and only limited treatments.

It is believed that rheumatoid arthritis is a genetic disorder. The only known risk factors are being female and being between 40 and 60 years old. This is the group most likely to develop symptoms of RA. It does also affect men, though only about 1/3 as many as women and it has been seen to develop at earlier ages. It is also sometimes seen in children. Smoking may have a casual link to the onset of symptoms, but this is not entirely certain. If it is linked to the disease somehow, this would be the only risk factor over which a person can have any control.

While we can not prevent rheumatoid arthritis, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent joint damage. All of the current treatments are symptomatic and include anti -inflammatory medications, pain relievers, and in some cases the use of corticosteroids. Unfortunately, there is a balancing act that must take place. The goal is to slow or halt the progress of the disease while providing as much relief from pain as possible. These two goals often run counter to one another. The medications that reduce swelling and pain have side effects that can lead to more damage to the joints. The medications to prevent damaging the joint further can aggravate the pain level.

Untreated, rheumatoid arthritis is a highly degenerative disease that can progress to a point that leaves a person bedridden in later life. In addition to the medical treatments listed above, occupational and physical therapy is prescribed to improve or maintain range of motion and flexibility. Therapy can consist of exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joints. Other exercises will push the limits of mobility. The goal is to maintain the ability to function in daily life. This is literally a case of use it or lose it as allowing the joints to stiffen can lead to permanent and total disability.

Medical science is progressing rapidly with discoveries of new genetic markers for certain disorders and therapies designed to change certain genetic conditions. At the present time, there is no cure and no known method to prevent rheumatoid arthritis. The best one can hope for is to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms early and seek medical help to limit or prevent a portion of the joint damage caused by RA. Physical or occupational therapy and a mix of anti-inflammatory and pain medications are the best means available to treat the symptoms at this time.

Curing Rheumatoid Arthritis - Simple Ways That Work

RA is one of the most common types of arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation of the joint characterized by joint pains and stiffness which get more severe as one gets older.

There are several ways in which to treat arthritis ranging from natural healing techniques to use of biological drugs. Both have shown relative success in treating the symptoms of arthritis.

Nonetheless, it is important for one to understand the habits that influence inflammatory processes that result in arthritis.

It is one of the autoimmune diseases that can occur at any age and is very challenging for the human body system to naturally handle.

The symptoms can sometimes be very debilitating and it important to talk to a qualified medical professional before starting a new treatment plan.

Natural Cures for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs primarily as a result of antibodies within the body attacking the body itself. It is not a simple disease and even when you choose to work with the natural methods it is still important to consult with a specialist on what you need to do.

Combination of hot and cold presses to reduce pain in muscle joint is one of the natural methods that can be used to cure rheumatoid arthritis. Most people with arthritis suffer swallow and pain in muscle joints.

To reduce the pain one can use a combination of cold and hot compresses for about 15 minutes each. Use ice cold water for 15 minutes then hot water for another 15 minutes and the pain will be reduced.

Acupuncture, Exercise and Diet plan

Acupuncture is a great natural choice in curing rheumatoid arthritis. This traditional Chinese method helps in boosting the immune system; with an excellent immune system the body gets the power to fight off the disease.

Doing proper exercises and having a good diet can also help reduce pain associated with RA. It is recommended that you consult your physician on what kind exercises and diet plan can help in improving the condition.

Drugs Used to Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also known as NSAIDs are used in arthritis treatment strictly for pain relief and to reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids are also used to manage short term flare ups in reducing pain and inflammation.

They also help prevent joint damage. It is a rapid relief drug which is usually given to NSAID patients when NSAID is ineffective.

It is also one of the most effective treatments that were originally designed for illnesses such as cancer, though used in much less amounts to cure arthritis.

Biologics are the emerging new rheumatoid treatment. They are used when all medication cannot deliver relief. It is developed from human gene protein and works by inhibiting immune response to inflammation.

Focus on Body Immunity

In curing rheumatoid arthritis, there is one most important thing to focus on; building body immunity.

If the body immunity is weak then it becomes almost impossible to cure rheumatoid arthritis. It is advisable to build body immunity even as you try other treatments.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment - Non-Dairy Sources of Probiotics Supplements

Rheumatoid Arthritis is not inevitable, no matter the particulars of your family history or genetics. Some people have genetics that make them more susceptible, but something must still trigger the disease process. Likewise, it is usually possible, even after the rheumatoid arthritis has been triggered, to "untrigger" it by reversing its underlying causes.

One underlying causes of rheumatoid arthritis is a disruption of healthy gut bacteria. This can happen because of any number of stressors: taking antibiotics, losing a job, losing a loved one, having a loved one seriously ill or injured, divorce, your home going into foreclosure, surgery, taking a board exam, traveling in a third world country, getting some other illness, working long hours without enough rest and more. Even joyful events like the birth or a child, a job promotion or, moving to a new house can cause stress that can trigger RA.

This is because for most people stress has a strong impact on the gut. Once gut flora gets out of balance it can stay that way for years and years, until something helps it to rebalance itself.

This rebalancing of gut flora is one way to help "untrigger" rheumatoid arthritis.

One way to do this is by reintroducing healthy bacteria everyday through your diet.

Most people know about the benefits of eating live culture yogurt because of the healthy bacteria it contains. Most people don't realize the almost infinite number of other sources of probiotics. Many can be made in your own kitchen without much effort and easily incorporated into your everyday diet.

If you can eat dairy, it is easy to get probiotics through yogurt, kefir, and the many commercial probiotics supplements grown on a dairy base.

If you can't eat dairy, you may not realize how easy it is to still get enough probiotics.

Here is partial list of the many non-dairy probiotics-containing foods you can eat and drink:

  1. Commercially available cultured coconut milk

  2. Homemade cultured coconut milk, soymilk, rice milk or fruit juice made using kefir grains

  3. Unpasteurized sauerkraut

  4. Unpasteurized kim chee

  5. Sour pickles

  6. Other vegetable ferments, such as sour beets, sour turnips, fermented radishes, etc.

  7. "Potato cheese" - cooked potato fermented with brine from live sauerkraut culture

  8. Brine from ferments used as a digestive tonic and Soup Stock

  9. Fermented chutney

  10. Miso

  11. Miso Pickles

  12. Tempeh-soy

  13. Ferments made from other beans such as pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, etc.

  14. Rejuvenac-made from sprouted grain

  15. Kombucha-a tea fermented with a special kombucha culture

  16. Porridge-fermented overnight before cooking to increase digestibility

These probiotics-containing foods start with either an already established culture which you can buy or someone can gift you (yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh and other bean ferments and kombutcha) or capture wild bacteria from the air (sauerkraut, kim chee, sour pickles, other vegetable ferments, brines, rejuvenac and porridge.)

Natural Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

About 2 million people wake up in the morning with red, swollen, stiff joints. The pain persists on into the day making it hard if not impossible to take care of the activities of daily living, or hobbies that make your life rich; washing the dishes, making bread, sewing, gardening, playing with the children or grandchildren; are no longer enjoyable, your mood suffers and desperation sets in as you try to find something; a magic pill, a diet, anything that will take this pain away. This is the life of a person suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA.

RA is an inflammatory autoimmune disease, if which the cause is unknown. What is known about the disease is that it affects women more than men and Caucasian's more than any other race. Rheumatoid Arthritis can strike at any age but is most commonly diagnosed from the ages of 20 to 40.

The onset of RA is usually marked with fatigue, weakness and sometimes fever. Some report a loss of appetite and, subsequently, weight. The hallmark of RA is joint stiffness in the morning that gradually improves throughout the day and that is symmetrical, in that it affects both sides of the body. For example both of your hands will be stiff, red and swollen, not just one hand or one joint as is typical in osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is so painful that many people seek unproven and sometimes unsafe methods of dealing with the pain. There is no cure for RA. So many sufferers will risk addiction to opioid analgesics, or risk damage to other systems just to gain some relief from the pain. While the outlook is bleak for these individuals, there are some lifestyles and diet modifications that can reduce, if not temporarily eliminate, the pain of RA.

Some physicians suggest a monitored fast. This should be done under the supervision of a physician and should be done at a reputable facility. The reasoning behind the fast is to cleanse the body. Think of it as starting from scratch. The next step is to gradually add foods back, but the diet will be different from before. For instance; the sufferer should follow a low animal protein, high carbohydrate diet - in addition to leaving out milk and milk products and products made with polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated oils and fats. The diet should be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish and walnuts. In addition to omega-3, the diet should consist of fresh vegetables; especially green leafy vegetables that contain vitamin K. Also include asparagus, eggs, garlic and onions, which contain sulfur that is needed for the rebuilding and repair of bone and cartilage. Although acidic fruits are not recommended fresh pineapple which contains an enzyme known to reduce inflammation may be consumed, along with whole grains. Iron supplements or multi vitamins containing iron should be avoided. Substitute foods rich in iron instead; like blackstrap molasses, or broccoli.

Supplements associated with easing the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis are very popular, but should be taken with caution and under the supervision of your physician or homoeopathist. One of the most common supplements for overall joint health is chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine; these work together to form and strengthen joints, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is usually combined with the aforementioned, due to its anti-inflammatory and joint repair properties. Some other supplements to include in the list are bromelain, found in fresh pineapple; sea cucumber, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium plus copper, vitamin D3 and zinc.

Herbs associated with joint and bone health are; alfalfa, kelp, boswellia, cat's claw, feverfew, cayenne, nettle leaf, turmeric willow bark and yucca. These can be used in combination, as poultices and rubs. A very effective combination is a mixture of wintergreen oil and capsaicin the mixture might sting at first, but most people report a lessening of pain and more flexibility.

There is no need to suffer from the pain of RA. All that is needed is knowledge and a willingness to modify the lifestyle to include healthy, natural foods that aid the body in defending itself against inflammation and pain. There may not be a "cure" for RA, but management of the symptoms can increase the quality of life.

Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Increase the Risk of Cancer?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common inflammatory form of arthritis, affecting more than 2 million Americans. It is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune disease which has no known cure, but which is capable of being put into remission.

A major evolution in therapy has occurred in the last fifteen years with the advent of what are known as biologic therapies.

These treatments are designed to act as laser-guided bullets, using proteins to knock out or intercept the abnormal messengers produced by inflammatory cells that cause rheumatoid arthritis to exist.

The obvious question raised by both patients as well as rheumatologists is this: What are the risks associated with "toying" with the immune system?

The answers appear to be the following: there is an increased risk of opportunistic infection, indicating the need to warn patients about exposure to different bacteria and fungi. Tuberculosis is a particularly dangerous "bug" to keep patients away from. Regular testing for tuberculosis is recommended.

Immunologic side effects such as neurologic disorders are also a potential threat. A multiple-sclerosis-like disorder has been seen in some patients.

Nonetheless, biologics, so far, seem to have an acceptable risk benefit ratio.

One question that has been posed by many is... "What about an increased risk for cancer?"

A recent study sheds some sobering light on this... but not in the way one might think. The conclusions reached by a study looking at data from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register showed a 50 per cent increase in the risk of getting cancer in RA patients not treated with biologic therapy!

There has been a well-established link between RA and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. However, the Registry data indicates the risk for RA and contracting cancer is increased about 50 per cent. The population assessed was patients with the disease who were being treated with methotrexate alone. The study included 3,727 patients enrolled in the registry between 2002 and 2008.

Among the 148 malignancies, there were melanoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. In addition, there were 20 patients who developed either non-Hodgkins lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease.

Another smaller British study looked at the risk of cancer in patients treated with anti-TNF therapies. What they found were numbers similar to patients not treated with biologics. There was an increased risk of lymphoma and an increased risk of skin cancers in general. What was different was that in this group, there was also an increased risk of malignant melanoma. This latter was the major differentiating feature between the two groups.

So bottom line: It appears that anti-TNF therapy for rheumatoid arthritis carries the same risk for cancer as does the underlying disease. One exception is the increased risk of malignant melanoma.

Osteoarthritis Treatment With Homeopathy

In simplest terms, osteoarthritis is nothing but failure of joint pattern. It is certainly a degenerative joint disease, characterized by degeneration of articular cartilage and proliferation of new bone, cartilage, and connective tissue at the same time. Often secondary inflammatory changes are observed in the synovium.
Sadly the incidence of osteoarthritis seems to be on rise according to global surveys. The age onset of OA is reducing drastically over the period of last few years. Now the incidence is stated to start at the age of 30 years and by the age of 65, more than 80% people have degenerative changes in their joints. Older women are peculiarly affected more and certain geological variations are found too.
Causative and Risk Factors of Osteoarthirits-
(1) The primary etiology of OA is termed as idiopathic where no known cause can be determined.
(2) Secondary OA results due to some or the other systemic or local factors as below-
- intra-articular fracture
- trauma of any type
- occupational (elbows in pneumatic drill operators)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Gout
- Tabes dorsalis
- Diabetes mellitus
- Peripheral nerve lesions
- Metabolic diseases like Wilson's disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Paget's disease etc
(3) Sedentary habits, improper diet habits, sports injuries, absolute lack of exercise or overt exercise regimes, etc can be called as some of the modifiable risk factors of OA
Signs and Symptoms of OA-

  1. In most cases, joints of spine, hands, knees, and hips are involved

  2. At least initially, only one or a few joints are affected

  3. Knee and hand involvement is peculiar

  4. Characteristically the first few joints to be involved are distal and proximal interphalangeal joints, carpo-metacarpal joints of thumb, etc.

  5. Gradual onset of symptoms

  6. Intermittent pain and aching in joints typically is aggravated by movement of that joint and is better by resting it

  7. With the advancement of the disease process, limited movement of joints is noticed. Initially this restriction of movement is attributed to pain and spasm of muscles but later capsular fibrosis, osteophyte formation, and remodeling of bone set in.

  8. After minor sprains or twists, there are usually effusions into the joints when crepitus may be felt or even heard.

  9. Associated muscular wasting is noted, because of which there is loss of muscle control over the joint, resulting in recurrent injury.

  10. Due to hyperaemia of subchondral bone, there is usually nocturnal aching in bones

  11. Deformities like Heberden's or Bouchard's node formation, and finally osteoarthritis deformans may set in.
How Homeopathy Can Help in the Patients of Osteoarthritis?
Homeopathy is not a magic. It is a full-proof science and art of applying the nature's principle while treating any disease with the natural drug substances aptly potentized to extract their curative properties. Therefore homeopathic principle is the most important one to be considered while treating any disease condition or the patient (more aptly).
The most important thing to remember while treating a case of OA homeopathically is that "Pay ample attention to characteristic symptoms of the disease and not to the common ones!"
It happens many times that a homeopath puts a common symptom of the disease as his priority while choosing the drug and as can be well judged, it leads to failure. Also paying good attention to the mental picture of the patient prior to catching the disease, during the disease process, and while on regime is one of the topmost priority while treating OA. You will observe that the "mind" is the organ that gives you good hint for appropriate remedial diagnosis in osteoarthritis patient.
Here we are listing top 10 remedies that may be of use during acute treatment phase of chronic osteoarthritis. Remember again that there is no alternative to constitutional therapy to be formulated individually for every patient, to help him find relief on all planes, while reducing his OA successfully.
Homeopathic Remedies for OA-
(1)Calcarea fluor-
- Indurated feeling of joints with stiffness
- Stony hardness of joints
- Nodal swelling in fingers that are hard on palpation
- Chronic synovitis and bursitis affecting hip and knee joint
- Sluggish temperament
- Coldness about wrists and ankles
- May be associated with varicose veins
- Pain usually begins on left side
- Worse in cold wet weather and while beginning to move
- Acute attack of pain in joint usually sets after a sprain
- Stiff, rheumatic diathesis
- Rheumatism usually beginning in upper extremities
- Diagonal pains
- Soreness and stiffness in joints of neck extending to shoulders
- Old-maid's OA of knee
- Red spot on the affected joint
- Associated with restlessness of hands and feet and profuse sweats on hands
- Bursitis with cold moist limbs
- Incessant talking
- Worse by change in temperature, movement, night
- Better in open air
- Bruised sore aching in all bones
- Nodal osteoarthritis
- Paralytic rigidity of joints
- Weak paretic feeling in the mornings in hip, small of back, lower limbs etc
- Deep felt pains in long bones
- Osteoporotic changes in bones in elderly women with frequent bone fractures attributed to brittleness of bones
- Affections of wrists and ankles
- Feeling of heat on skin face etc
- Sometimes burning neuralgic pains about the joints
- Worse by over-exertion, sprains, cold wind
- Better by motion, lying on back and warmth
- Right-sided complaints
- Slowly advancing osteoarthritis
- Stitching pains in joints
- Irritable constitutions
- Inflammatory joint diseases affecting knee, shoulder, hips, etc
- Associated with absolute constipation, no desire
- Dry heat aggravates all complaints including joint pathology
- Congestive synovitis
- Worse by motion, stooping, exertion, morning
- Better by rest, cool open air, bandaging, damp days, lying on painful part
- Acute inflammation of joints
- Marked redness and heat over the affected joint
- Congestive constrictive pain in joints
- Excessive restlessness with incessant talking
- Joint pains with spasms of muscles
- OA starting at young age
- Worse by heat, checked sweats, pressure, touch, movement
- Better by light covering, rest in bed
(6)Rhus tox-
- Paretic weakness in and around joints
- Recurrent sensation of dislocation of joints
- Sore, bruised or stiff pains about joints
- Swelling in joints with burning pains
- Principally left side is affected or the pain goes from left to right
- OA set after recurrent sprain of a joint or after overexertion
- Paralytic pains in elbows and knees
- Legs feel as if made of wood
- Wakes up with pain in limbs
- Edematous swelling of limbs
- Worse by wet, cold, beginning motion, rest, sprains, etc
- Better by continued motion, wrapping the joint, rubbing, and fomentation
- Fibrous tissues are affected
- Small joints of hands are principally affected, also those of forearm and lower limbs
- Extreme sensitivity to windy stormy and wet weather
- Rapidly changing pains, zigzag variety
- Descending pains
- Confused stupid feeling prevails
- Affections of wrists
- Worse before storms, rough windy weather, night, rest
- Better by heat, in sun, motion, wrapping up
- Venous constitutions
- Swollen joints with dull aching
- Associated with numbness of extremities
- Acute periostitis
- Pains down the limbs alternate sides, with heaviness of legs
- Sticking pains in tibia with heaviness and cold sweat on legs
- Associated with foul foot sweat
- Chilly patient, yet averse to heat in any form
- Associated with digestive disturbances
- Worse by warmth, rest, beginning motion, evening, lying down, in bed
- Better by moving about slowly, cold, open air, after a good cry
(9)Ledum pal-
- Affection of small joints
- Tendons, ankles affected
- Left-sided affection of joints
- Ascending type of arthritis
- Purple, swollen (puffy) joints
- Shifting tearing pains
- Cold and edematous joints
- Gout
- OA resulting from recurrent sprains, especially of ankle joint
- Pain associated with coldness of joints
- Profuse night sweats
- Worse by injury, motion, night
- Better by cool air, cold bathing
(10)Actea spicata-
- Affection of small joints, especially wrist and finger joints
- Tingling pains with numbness and weakness
- Paralytic weakness in all joints
- OA set in old age, in people with debilitated states
- Swollen joints that cannot be moved
- Deformed joints
- Extremely sensitive joints to cold in any form
- Worse by cold, slight exertion, night, and touch
Auxiliary Line of Treatment-
In any case of osteoarthritis, one must suggest certain exercise regimen for early recovery. Rather, any regime without it is of no use in the long run. Also it is stressed that unless the pain is lessened, one should not exert the affected joint beyond certain limits. Therefore, seeking professional advice before you embark on any exercise regime is must!

Arthritis - Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal

Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

People suffering with osteoarthritis should avoid or cut down on highly refined and processed foods, sugar, salt and saturated animal fats. A healthier diet would be to include wholegrain cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables. By eating a more healthy diet sufferers can boost their immune system and provide them with extra energy they need to fight the disease.

Through scientific research, it has been shown that fish oils are beneficial to people suffering from arthritis. Oily fish such as salmon, mullet, sardines and trout provide the omega-3 fatty acids that can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation is the natural body's reaction to arthritis resulting in pain, swelling, redness and heat. For people who cannot eat fish, fish oil capsules or liquid taken in the prescribed dose can help in managing the disease.

Seafood provides omega-3 fats which help to regulate the body producing inflammatory chemicals known as eicosanoids. As well as seafood, canola oil, soy oil, flaxseed and walnut also provide omega-3 fats which help to suppress the inflammatory chemicals.

Some studies have found that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have benefited from a vegetarian diet. Celery and ginger contain an anti-inflammatory agent and celery and bananas are a good source of potassium. Green vegetables should be included in the diet as they are a good source of beta carotene, calcium, iron, folate and vitamins.

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that is effective in breaking down protein. Researchers have been looking into the medicinal properties of bromelain since the mid 1950's. It has been used in treating the inflammatory symptoms of both Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis and it thought to aid in tissue repair.

Healthy eating habits essential for our total wellbeing, but when diseases such as arthritis are evident, what you eat can be extremely important for your immune system, blood circulation, weight control and of course nutrition. The following dietary guidelines may help with choosing foods that assist the body to repair itself.

o Maintain an ideal weight by eating a variety of foods. Include foods from the 4 basic food groups (fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, breads and cereals) to ensure the intake of the more than forty essential nutrients to maintain good health.

o Include adequate amounts of starch and fiber. Starches such as potatoes, rice, bread, beans and pasta provide the body with energy. Fiber, the undigested portion of the plants we eat, adds bulk and helps with the elimination process.

In some cases of rheumatoid arthritis, it is thought that food intolerance and allergies may contribute to the disease. It can be extremely difficult discovering what, if any, food could be the culprit and an exclusion diet may be the best way to identify the allergy source. For anyone considering following this type of diet, they should first consult their medical professional or qualified dietician.

A number of foods that are believed to exacerbate arthritis or are associated with arthritis "flare ups" are -

o Caffeine

o Red Meat

o Dairy products

o Processed foods

o Sugar

o Salt

o Vegetables of the nightshade group (tomatoes, peppers, etc.)

o Preservatives and additives

o Chocolate

As with many allergy triggers the effects are not always consistent with everyone, what triggers a flare up or allergy on one person may have no affect on another.

o Avoid too much sugar. Sugar provides calories but little nutrition and too much will contribute to excess weight gain.

o Avoid too much sodium. Excess salt can contribute to water retention and also lead to high blood pressure.

o Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can deplete the body of vitamins and minerals besides being high in calories. It also potentially can interact with medications for arthritis and in some cases can be extremely harmful when mixed with prescribed and non prescribed medications.

The overall aim is to reduce the causes of arthritis pain and discomfort by ensuring the foods you eat are right for your condition and are not harming your body further.

Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Your doctor just diagnosed the pain in your knees as arthritis and prescribed some over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, and rest. After leaving the office, several questions may come to mind.

  • What does this diagnosis mean?

  • Is the arthritis just temporary, or is it going to be chronic?

  • How will it impact your life going forward?

  • Will you still be able to jog, ride your bicycle, or continue gardening?

  • Will you have to give up your job and go on disability?

The word arthritis means "acute or chronic inflammation of a joint" according to Dictionary.com, and can be accompanied by pain or changes in the joint. But this simple definition does not tell the entire story. There are many types of arthritis-type illnesses, and further diagnosis by your doctor may be necessary to establish an effective treatment plan. The purpose of this article is to give you some basic information on two types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is an illness that is characterized by cartilage wearing away in a joint. It is quite common and usually diagnosed in the older members of the population. The person can have osteoarthritis in a single joint (such as a knee or elbow) or multiple joints (such as the finger joints in a hand). As the osteoarthritis progresses, the joint may not fit together correctly and develop bone spurs, thereby causing the person pain when they use the joint. If pain is in the knee or hip joints, the person may have difficulty walking or when they use the stairs. If the arm or shoulder joint is affected, there may be difficulty getting dressed or other routine activities.

Rheumatoid arthritis (also called RA) is less common, but it also causes pain and inflammation of a joint. The cause is not worn out cartilage. It is caused by a change in the immune system that causes the person's body to attack the tissue lining the joint, which is called synovium. The attacks cause a fluid build up in the joint space and produces pain. The joints are usually affected in pairs, meaning that it could be in two knees or ankles at the same time. RA is a chronic illness, and may come and go over time. Many people feel fatigued when the illness is active, and experience flu-like symptoms. Over time the person can have damage to the joints and, in very rare, severe cases, damage to internal organs.

There are many web sites that have a great deal of information on these two types of arthritis. Two good sites are the Arthritis Foundation at http://www.arthritis.org/index.php and WebMD at http://www.webmd.com/. Check out these sites out to become more informed on arthritis, and work with your doctor to set up an effective treatment. It is the best way to preserve your joints and continue leading a good life.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

5 Tips for Dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Do you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and have had to quit taking your prescription pain medication because of harmful side effects? Are you looking for natural alternatives to help you deal with the pain that you face doing everyday tasks? If the answers to these questions are yes, then the following tips for relieving rheumatoid arthritis are just what you have been waiting for.

1- The most important thing that anyone can do for their bodies is to exercise. This includes those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis as well. However, not every exercise is suitable for sufferers of arthritis pain. The exercises that are done need to be good for the muscle, while not being damaging for the joints. A great exercise for those who are living with rheumatoid arthritis, in fact for everyone, is walking. Walking is a good low impact activity that does not put unneeded pressure on the joints. Other alternatives to walking are biking or walking in a pool.

2- The topic of exercising as a way to relieve the pain of arthritis leads into another tip. It is very important to incorporate balancing exercises into your daily routine. For example, water aerobics and Tai Chi are two types of balancing exercises. The reason for these types of activities is that balancing is a very effective way of strengthening without undue pressure on the joints. However, if the joints do begin to hurt, the activity should be stopped. If the pain continues more than a couple of days, it would be wise to consult your physician.

3- If you are suffering from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, it is a good idea to concentrate on your overall body weight. If this is an issue for you, speak with your doctor about ways that are suitable for you to take it off. When you are dealing with any type of arthritis pain, the extra weight makes it worse. Consider this; there is about 30 pound of force placed on the knees for each ten pounds of weight that is being carried. Therefore, the ability to lose ten pounds will effectively result in 30 pounds of force being lifted from the knee.

4- Some rheumatoid arthritis sufferers find that applying hot or cold compresses can help to alleviate some of the pain that is associated with their condition. When using this method of pain relief, there is a simple rule to remember, ice reduces pain while the heat will loosen the joints and boost blood flow.

5- This next tip, while not an actual treatment option, is very important to your emotional well-being. Educate yourself regarding your condition, this will improve your attitude as well as eliminate the element of surprise. Many people are afraid to ask questions when they are faced with a debilitating illness, they just wait for the bad stuff to start happening and many end up depressed. Don't be one of those people, ask your doctor, ask friends, do research, learn as much as you can about rheumatoid arthritis so that you can better deal with it.

How to Detect and Be Treated For Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are many types of arthritis, but the one we most commonly think of is rheumatoid arthritis. White blood cells usually spend their days attacking bacteria and fighting off viruses, but with this type of arthritis, the white blood cells move from the bloodstream (where they belong) into the membranes surrounding your joints.

As a result, there is an inflammation and the release of proteins. Over months or years, the membrane thickens and the released proteins cause damage to neighboring cartilage, ligaments, bones and tendons. Joints can become disfigured, knocked out of alignment or even destroyed.

Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include: joint pain, joint swelling and joints that are tender to the touch. Whether you have red puffy hands, firm bumps of tissue beneath the skin on your arms, or morning stiffness that lasts at least thirty minutes, you may have some level of the disease.

Often, sufferers feel tired, lose weight and sense changes in wrists, hands, ankles and feet at first. In later stages, the elbows, shoulders, knees, hips and the jaw and neck can also be affected. Signs and symptoms of pain may flare up and then alternate with periods of relative remission.

Your doctor will perform a physical exam to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. He or she will ask you about signs and symptoms, then usually perform a blood test to check for an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which will reveal an inflammatory process in the body.

Other blood tests check for the rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies, which cause joint damage. Additionally, by using a needle, a joint fluid analysis can pinpoint the disease and help rule out other disorders that mimic the symptoms of arthritis. Once diagnosed, X-rays can help track the progression of the disease in your joints.

Surgery options for people with rheumatoid arthritis include total joint replacement (arthroplasty), tendon repair, or removal of the joint lining (synovectomy). These procedures can help restore joint mobility, correct deformities and reduce pain. Additionally, pain management is key to preventing long term joint damage.

Arthritis sufferers should perform low impact exercises regularly, such as swimming, for example. They should eat healthy diets with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Devices that can assist you with daily tasks, such as gripping tools, non-skid mats, canes and other products, can reduce stress on the body.

Hot packs, heating pads and hot baths have also been known to reduce arthritis pain. Lastly, keeping a positive attitude and relaxing are some of the best techniques to practice.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Implications For Physiotherapy And Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists and physiotherapists must provide complementing therapy to and for the patient(s) with the rheumatoid arthritis disease. They need to complement each others therapy and education, that the patients will not be confused and can manage the disease effectively and efficiently. The biggest contribution that both the occupational therapist and physiotherapist for the patient with this disease is with pain relief, improving mobility and functional ability, as well as managing the mental and cognitive perspective to pain and perceived impairment.

Objectives Of The Physiotherapist And Occupational Therapist

1. educate and assure patient about the disease, its process, prognosis, and what to expect
2. educate, instruct and demonstrate methods of energy conservation and its benefits
3. how to manage the maintenance of joint range of motion using exercise, heat modality and protection
4. how to bolster strength and stamina through exercise, mental imagery and perception
5. prevent or slow the disease using approaches such as splinting, adaptive and protective approaches
6. how to maintain or improve mobility and function, enabling and encouraging the patient with the disease to be as participative as possible in activities of daily living and mobility. Mental approaches to stress management, motivation and empowerment is frequently used to encourage and empower the patient with rheumatoid arthritis to improve as much and and as often as possible.
7. provide environmental (social and physical) support, advice and modifications to facilitate the patient's cognitive and physical adjustment to the disease
8. re-integrate the patient to their homes, work and social life, with rheumatoid arthritis.

Chemo Brain, Is There a Natural Therapy?

I. Abstract

Chemo brain is a form of cognitive impairment that is found in 25-80% of patients who have received chemotherapy. Studies show that the syndrome is related to an increase in inflammatory cytokines and the problem can last for 10 years or more. No traditional therapies are identified to treat chemo brain. Natural approaches, which are often ignored by medical experts, have known effects in the prevention and treatment of dementia. These include gingko biloba which improves circulation and early dementia by producing anti-inflammatory cytokines and dietary changes. Diets high in fruits and vegetables are known to decrease the risk of dementia while omega-3 fatty acids are known to be anti-inflammatory. These are the keys to prevention and treatment of chemo brain.

II. Introduction

Loss of memory or dementia is one of the greatest fears of aging people. This affliction is by no means limited to the elderly. Cancer survivors can also develop loss of memory. Loss of memory in cancer patients has different names; dementia, cognitive dysfunction, but the most recently coined terms chemo brain and chemo fog suggest chemotherapy may play a major role in its cause. What is chemo brain and how can it be treated? The problem has been recognized for a decade but these important questions have only recently been the focus of experts in the field. Although research into this condition is ongoing and unfortunately many questions remain unanswered and we will discuss that it is not only found in patients who have received chemotherapy.

III. Definition

Chemotherapy causes many acute symptoms such as low blood counts, nausea, hair loss or diarrhea. These often resolve soon after the chemotherapy is stopped. There are however other symptoms that are more chronic. These include fatigue and loss of memory or chemo brain. Common complaints described in studies include not only poor memory but an inability to concentrate at work or juggle multiple tasks. This is very distressing to a patient who has already had to endure a diagnosis of cancer and the physical effects of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Although depression, anxiety, and anemia can contribute to these problems, the symptoms of chemo brain remain after these other problems have been corrected.
Chemo brain is more than a subjective complaint. Measurable abnormalities can be found on formal neuropsychological tests and measures. These tests can evaluate a variety of parameters including attention and concentration, verbal memory, visual memory, visual-spatial and speed of information processing. Published studies have demonstrated a broad range of cognitive deficits thus identifying this as an authentic medical problem.

IV. Incidence

Review articles on chemo brain have demonstrated that this is a common problem. There have been approximately eleven groups that have published reviews on this subject mostly in patients with breast cancer but others are also included. Symptoms of chemo brain can be found in 25% to 80% after their therapy. Interestingly, chemo brain has been found in 35% of patients before chemotherapy is ever given suggesting that there may be a predisposition to the illness in addition to effects produced from the cancer itself and possibly surgery. This appears to be a problem that is more complex but far reaching. Many of the 10 million cancer survivors have received surgery, radiation and chemotherapy and 35% to 80% may exhibit some cognitive dysfunction.

V. Etiology

The cause of chemo brain is thought to be the result of vascular, metabolic, or inflammatory changes in the brain. Sophisticated radiology scans have found interesting and provocative changes in the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has demonstrated widespread decrease in gray matter of the brain suggesting atrophy of the brain related to a toxic effect of chemotherapy. More recently, researchers have measured metabolic activity in the brain with positron emission topography (PET) scanning. Studies utilizing PET scans have demonstrated decreased metabolism in the frontal cortex, prefrontal gyrus, Broca's area and their corresponding contralateral areas in the brain. Interestingly, these areas are responsible for memory and concentration. When patients were given simple memory tests to perform, abnormalities in these areas were again demonstrated whereas there were no abnormalities found in people without cancer.

The cause of the metabolic abnormalities in the brain may very well be the same problem that has been implicated in Alzheimer's Dementia, namely inflammatory cytokines (IC's). Inflammatory cytokines are substances secreted by the immune system to help fight infections. When IC's are chronically elevated they lead to a variety of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, strokes, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis and dementia. Multiple studies in both animal and human models have demonstrated the correlation of chemo brain with inflammatory cytokines. Although inflammatory cytokines do not consistently increase with the administration of chemotherapy, the presence is chemo brain is found when the inflammatory cytokines are elevated. Curiously, fatigue is also a common chronic complaint in cancer patients and inflammatory cytokines are also elevated in these patients.

VI. Therapy

The treatment of chemo brain should target the root causes. Of course, problems such as anemia, depression, infection, anxiety must all be addressed and treated. Methylphenidate or Ritalin has been recommended by some experts but it only treats the symptoms of the disease.
Since inflammatory cytokines seem to be a major contributing factor to the etiology of the disease, therapies aimed at decreasing these should be offered. Steroids such as prednisone or dexamethasone are commonly used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. There is no proof they are useful in chemo brain and some researchers have suggested they might cause chemo brain. Additionally, they have too many side effects to be useful for long term use. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen have been found to be helpful in delaying the onset of dementia in patients with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. This may be a possible therapy for chemo brain but is not likely to be a curative modality.
There are two therapies that are overlooked by modern medicine that can effectively treat dementia and chronic inflammatory cytokines these are gingko biloba and diet.

Gingko biloba has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It has many beneficial effects including improving blood circulation which is helpful in patients with claudication. It has also been found to improve function in early dementia due to either vascular disease or Alzheimer's disease. Gingko improves circulation by increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore it seems reasonable to suppose that gingko would be beneficial to patients with chemo brain since their form of dementia is caused by inflammatory cytokines.

Perhaps the most forgotten therapy to prevent and treat diseases is diet. Too often patients look for a pill to treat their illness when a change in diet can be very beneficial. The typical American diet is high in animal fats, trans-fats, corn oil, refined sugars, and carbohydrates and it lacks fruits and vegetables. This type of diet leads to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. We know that inflammatory cytokines play a major role in the etiology of these diseases. Multiple studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can prevent theses diseases by their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant actions. In many ways, we are causing the very chronic diseases that plague us.

The treatment or prevention of chemo brain is a simple process that focuses on the root cause of the dementia namely inflammation. We already know that certain diets and gingko can treat and prevent certain diseases caused by inflammatory cytokines. The most prudent approach to treating or preventing chemo brain is a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and gingko biloba.

Who Else Wants General Information on Arthritis?

Today there are about 70 million Americans with arthritis...that's one person out of every four who suffer both pain and the expense of this crippling disease. In one year alone, arthritis will be responsible for over half a billion dollars in lost wages. The economic consequences of arthritis are important to review because each year, arthritis takes a devastating financial toll on our society.

Over the course of ten years, arthritis related work loss has been associated with a 37% drop in income for arthritics - all those without arthritis had a 90% rise in income over the same period of time!

If you...a friend...or a relative has arthritis, it's important to know that early treatment can help sufferers continue with their normal daily lives and remain productive members of the community.

The term "arthritis" is derived from the Greek: "arthron" meaning "joint" and "itis" meaning inflammation. Arthritis is a word that describes over 100 different conditions, some involving inflammation and others not.

Arthritis is not a single disease. It encompasses about 100 different conditions, that affect joints and that pose unique problems for diagnosis and treatment.

Some common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, pseudo-gout, ankylosing spondylitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter's disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and fibromyalgia.

Most types of arthritis involve joint inflammation. Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury or infection.

For an example of inflammation, take a simple scratch...your body automatically releases chemicals that cause fluids to accumulate and white blood cells to gather around the area of the scratch. As your body fights foreign substances and bacteria, inflammation...redness...heat...swelling...and pain occur at the sight of the injury.

In arthritis, unfortunately, this natural defense mechanism goes awry. Elements from the blood designed to fight infection and repair injury attack the body instead.

And, unless this inflammatory process is halted, it will continue to attack the body and cause joint destruction.

So you can begin to see how treatments that just relieve the pain associated with arthritis - but that do not reduce inflammation - may not adequately treat this disease.

Getting proper treatment early on is important...because proper care can help arthritis sufferers lead more active and comfortable lives.

Yet many people with arthritis delay going to a physician. Either they have fear about going to a doctor or they feel that nothing can be done for arthritis. Other reasons include the notion that all arthritis medicines are harmful or arthritis is just a normal part of aging.

Some people try unproven remedies which also delay proper diagnosis and treatment.

Since arthritis may evolve gradually, people often ignore its early warning symptoms or signs. These include persistent pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints...symptoms that should not be dismissed as signs of age.

Other warning symptoms are joint pain and stiffness...especially when they appear in the morning.

Low back pain is one of the earliest symptoms of arthritis. For people over the age of 60, arthritis is the most frequent cause of low back pain.

The activity of arthritis varies unpredictably. Symptoms are cyclic in nature and seem to come and go.

Therefore, it is important to remember that any symptoms or signs of arthritis that last for more than six weeks - no matter how mild - should be checked by a physician. And, if symptoms are severe, then even waiting six weeks might be too long.

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Joint inflammation is involved in both.

But, these types of arthritis differ in terms of...age of patients who are affected...the joints involved...the pattern of stiffness...and the potential for disability.

Close to 16 million Americans have osteoarthritis - the most common type of arthritis. Although osteoarthritis can occur at any age, it most often begins in people in their 50's and 60's.

Osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease is a disorder of cartilage - the gristle that covers the ends of long bones. Cartilage is made of cell called chondrocytes which sit inside a framework made up of collagen and proteoglyens. Under normal conditions, chondrocytes make collagen and proteoglycens - in other works - they make the framework they sit inside. With osteoarthritis, chondrocytes behave abnormally and begin to make destructive enzymes such as collagenasese, stromelysin and others. These enzymes degrade cartilage...these enzymes also attract inflammatory cells which secrete substances called cytokines which cause further inflammation and damage to cartilage, underlying bone, and the joint lining.

This process results in progressive pain, stiffness, and loss of function.

Joint pain and stiffness are the most noticeable symptoms of osteoarthritis. Morning stiffness is usually brief lasting less than 15 minutes. Osteoarthritis usually affects weight bearing areas particularly the neck, low back, hips and knees.

It may also affect the fingers and hands and bony knobs may appear at the finger joints. The base of the thumb may also be affected. The typical pattern of osteoarthritis in the hands involves the distal and proximal interphalangeal (DIP and PIP) joints of the fingers, and the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint of the thumb.

Osteoarthritis is considered to be a degenerative joint disease. Along with inflammation, there is wear and tear on the inside of the joint.

This causes damage to the cartilage (the substance that forms the surface of the joints and works as a shock absorber). As the cartilage wears thin, the underlying bone is damaged. This process results in progressive pain, stiffness, and loss of function.

Osteoarthritis does not need to be disabling and with the proper medical care can be managed easily.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the other most common type of arthritis. It is more common in women and affects 7 million Americans...or one out of every five arthritis patients. It may affect any age group, although onset is most common in middle age.

Rheumatoid arthritis is usually characterized by heat, swelling, and pain in multiple joints in both the right and left sides of the body, including the hands, wrists, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Spinal involvement also occurs on occasion.

The typical pattern of rheumatoid arthritis in the hands involves the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints, the metacarpal phalangeal (MCP) joints, the wrists, and the elbows.

Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the entire body. People with this disease may feel sick all over...tire easily...lose their appetite...and lose weight.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the tissue that surrounds and nourishes the joints is attacked by the body's immune system. The body mistakenly perceives its own tissue as foreign, and it reacts by sending special white blood cells and toxic chemicals called cytokines to destroy the foreign material. (The cytokine abnormalities that cause the damage in rheumatoid arthritis are different from the abnormalities seen in osteoarthritis.) This process of white cell migration and cytokine release damages the joint.

Although we do not know the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers are investigating several possibilities.

Another interesting point about rheumatoid arthritis is that this disease can affect the internal organs including the lungs, skin, blood vessels, spleen, heart, and muscles.

If rheumatoid arthritis is not well controlled it can damage the joints irreversibly and cause serious disability.

To diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, the rheumatologist establishes the presence of joint pain and inflammation lasting at least six weeks and then looks for signs of the course of the disease that are characteristic for rheumatoid arthritis.

There are also blood tests that aid in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a series of flare-ups followed by a period where there are mild or no symptoms. Usually, the pain and disability of rheumatoid arthritis progresses gradually.

Morning stiffness generally lasts longer than half an hour and may last several hours depending on the severity of the condition.

Most forms of arthritis persist for the patient's lifetime. Medication cannot usually reverse the bone and soft tissue damage caused by arthritis.

However, new methods of measuring inflammation and its response to medication and other treatments offer valuable information to physicians...and can help to evaluate the arthritis sufferer's discomfort.

Magnetic resonance imaging is one such technique. This method using the effects that strong magnets have on water molecules to provide exquisite images of the interior of the body. MRI has been used to diagnose and also assess the degree of damage within joints of patients suffering from arthritis. It is also helpful for evaluating the effect of new drugs.

Although there is no cure for arthritis, proper treatment can help tremendously. The goal of arthritis treatment is to relieve the pain and stiffness due to the progressive destruction caused by inflammation, and to maintain or increase freedom of movement.

Among the advancements that have taken place in the medical treatment of arthritis are various disease-modifying medications that not only relieve symptoms but also help slow down the progression of disease.

Other advances include various cartilage sparing drugs, cartilage growing drugs, and also biologic remedies. These drugs act by blocking the destructive effects of enzymes such as metalloproteases in osteoarthritis and cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis. By targeting specific processes, relief of symptoms and healing of damage can take place with presumably fewer side effects.

What can you do if you think you have arthritis?

First, you can consult your doctor. This is important because medical issues are complicated and your doctor, who understands your health needs, can prescribe the best treatment for you.

The type of doctor who can best evaluate arthritis is called a rheumatologist. These are physicians who have completed four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine residency, and three years of rheumatology fellowship.

While arthritis can be a serious disease that can progress and cause disability, science has come up with some new answers for arthritis sufferers. It is now up to the arthritis sufferer to recognize early warning signs and symptoms and to see a rheumatologist. With proper medical care, the course of this crippling disease may change and people can help to be returned to fully active lives - without pain and crippling disability.

Magnetic Mattress Pad for Pain Control

Common maladies

Today you find thousands of people suffering from pain in the joints, muscles and soft tissues. If you had such a pain and got great relief from using any of the innumerable magnetic therapy products such as magnetic mattress pads, magnetic bed toppers, magnetic bracelets, insoles etc., you would certainly be recommending them to your friends and family. This is quite natural in the sense that you would not go deep into analysing the pros and cons of the procedure so long as you are sure that it is a non-invasive method of treatment.

This is what has happened with magnetic therapy in the present day. Although users of this therapy are aware that it has not been approved by the FDA and enough medical evidence is not available to prove its efficacy, it has still become very popular among the masses who long to get relief from excruciating pain the natural way.

Let's discuss two painful conditions that people normally suffer from and then see how magnetic therapy products help control this pain and let people carry on with their daily chores without much of a fuss.

Fibromyalgia: People suffering from fibromyalgia have their muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues affected. The sufferers don't get to sleep peacefully at night. They may experience depression and head aches. They may also feel numbness in the limbs and sensitivity to bright lights and noises. About six million Americans are reported to be suffering from this painful condition.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): This is another painful condition that is categorised as an autoimmune disease where the immune cells attack the body's own healthy tissues. Pain, stiffness and inflammation in the joints are the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. There is no cure for this condition. The pain can only be managed or controlled by using various methods of treatment. Early signs of RA should not be ignored and enough precautions should be taken to prevent it from becoming severe as severity of the condition can lead to deformities and crippling. Although men, women and children are likely to be affected by this condition, women tend to suffer more due to RA. About 75 percent of RA patients in the world are women.

How does magnetic therapy help?

Now let us see how magnetic therapy can help reduce the severity caused by the above conditions.

Magnets basically relax the muscles and the capillary walls of the blood vessels and enhance the oxygen supply to the tissues thereby increasing the functionality of these parts by accelerating the healing process in case of pain or injury. So using a magnetic mattress pad to sleep on when you find yourself diagnosed with fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis helps to a great extent in mitigating the pain and lets you sleep peacefully so that you feel fresh and active to face a new day.

No Side-effects

You can be sure of one thing while using magnetic mattress pad- there will be no negative effects. Of course, people going through pregnancy and those with implanted electro-medical devices in their body are forbidden from using magnetic mattress pads because the after-effects of this has not yet been analysed and reported.

About magnetic mattress pad

Magnetic mattress pad goes over your regular mattress and comes in various sizes. The thickness of a pad is about two to 4 inches and the number of magnets embedded or sewn in to the mattress pad depends on its size. The mattress pad may have a maximum of 200 square or spherical magnets. It is said that when your body comes into direct contact with the magnets, the magnetic energy created by the static magnets act on the painful areas in the body and help in alleviating the pain and also facilitates excellent sleep.