One subject we have not covered at The Balance You Need is Arthritis. In this article, we will cover what it is, how it is caused, how to live with the disease, and alternative natural remedies for Arthritis. Our purpose at The Balance You Need is to purely inform people in a non-technical manner and provide possible solutions that are outside the realm of traditional medical treatments.
The word Arthritis comes from the Greek arthron meaning “joint” and the Latin itis meaning “inflammation”. Therefore, in normal terms, it means inflamed joints that can affect the whole musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints. Any part of your body can become inflamed or painful from Arthritis. Some rheumatic conditions can result in debilitating, even life-threatening complications or may affect other parts of the body including the muscles, bones, and internal organs.
The two most common types of Arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, including children. The incidence of Arthritis increases with age, but nearly three out of every five sufferers are under age 65 and if left undiagnosed and untreated, many types of Arthritis can cause irreversible damage to the joints, bones, organs, and skin.
We need to know how the joint works in order to better understand what Arthritis is. A joint is where one bone moves on another bone. Ligaments hold the two bones together. The ligaments are like elastic bands; they keep the bones in place and your muscles relax or contract to make the joint move.
Furthermore, cartilage covers the bone surface to stop the two bones from rubbing directly against each other. The covering of cartilage allows the joint to work smoothly and effortlessly. This is where Glucosamine comes in handy; it actually helps to lubricate this process.
Adding to the cartilage, a capsule like configuration surrounds the joint. In this capsule and the space within the joint, the joint cavity, is synovial fluid. Synovial fluid nourishes the joint and the cartilage. The synovial fluid is produced by the synovium (synovial membrane) which lines the joint cavity.
This is where Arthritis comes in. If you have Arthritis, one part of the joint process is diseased. What goes wrong depends on what type of Arthritis you have. It could be that the cartilage is wearing away, a lack of fluid, autoimmunity (your body attacking itself), infection, or a combination of many factors.
The following is a list of “factors” or “contributors” to the onset of Arthritis;
Age – Cartilage becomes more brittle with age and has less of an ability to repair itself. As people grow older they are more likely to develop Arthritis.
Genetics – Exactly how much heredity or genetics contributes to the cause of Arthritis is not well understood. However, there are likely genetic variations that can contribute to the cause of Arthritis.
Weight – Because joint damage is partly reliant on the weight the joint has to support, excess body weight can lead to Arthritis. This is especially true of the hips and knees that can be worn down quicker in heavier patients.
Prior Injury – Joint damage can cause irregularities in the normal even joint surface. Previous major injuries can be part of the cause of Arthritis. Broken bones, specifically near joint areas, can start the process of Arthritis.
Type of Work – Workers in physical occupations seem to have a higher risk of developing Arthritis than other jobs. These are mainly high demand jobs such as assembly line workers, heavy construction, and athletes.
Professional Sports – Athletes’ training regimes and games can contribute to the development of Arthritis.
Illness or Infection – People who experience a joint infection (septic joint), multiple episodes of gout, or other medical conditions, can develop Arthritis of the joint.
Arthritis Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of Arthritis depend on the type of Arthritis. Therefore, it would be beneficial to break out the major types and the symptoms that go along with them. There are also several disorders that have some of the same symptoms as Arthritis does and are also included in the list below.
-An autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium (cell lining inside the joint)
-Is considered a chronic disease
-The fingers, arms, legs and wrists are most commonly affected and often the same joints in each side of the body are very swollen and inflamed
-Symptoms are usually the worst upon awaking and the pain and inflammation can last for up to 30 minutes
-The joints are tender when touched and the hands may be red and inflamed
-There may be rheumatoid nodules (bumps of tissue under the skin of the patient’s arms)
-Many of the patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis feel exhausted most of the time and weight loss is common among the afflicted
-The smaller joints are usually noticeably affected first and, as the Arthritis progresses, it spreads from the smaller joints in your hands, wrists, ankles and feet to the elbows, knees, hips, neck, shoulders and jaw
-Can be difficult to diagnose early because it can begin gradually with subtle symptoms
-The symptoms of Osteoarthritis develop slowly and get worse as time goes by
-It often starts as pain in a joint, either during or after use, or after a period of inactivity and is usually tender to the touch
-The joint will be stiff, especially first thing in the morning
-The patient may find it harder to use the joint as time passes and slowly loses flexibility
-Some patients experience a grinding sensation when they use the joint, like sand is in the joint
-Hard lumps, or bone spurs may appear around the joint and in some cases the joint might swell
-The most commonly affected joints are in the hips, hands, knees and spine
-Is a form of joint inflammation caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi
-Diagnosis is made by culturing the organism from the joint
-The onset of this sometimes looks like the flu
-The patient has a fever, joint inflammation and swelling and will feel tenderness and/or a sharp pain
-Often these symptoms are linked to a prior injury or another illness
-Most commonly affected areas are the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist and finger
-In the majority of cases, just one joint is affected
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
-Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most prevalent type of Arthritis in children
-Is a general term for all types of Arthritis that occur in children
-Experience intermittent fevers which tend to peak in the evening and then suddenly disappear
-There may be blotchy rashes on the arms and legs
-Appetite will be poor, prompting a loss of weight
-The child may limp or have a sore wrist, finger, or knee
-A joint may suddenly swell and stay larger than it usually is
-The child may experience a stiff neck, hips or some other joint
-Psoriatic Arthritis is similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis
-About 5 percent of people with Psoriasis, a chronic skin disease, also develop psoriatic Arthritis
-There is inflammation of the joints and sometimes the spine
-Muscle pain more often than joint pain
-Type of soft tissue or muscular rheumatism and does not cause joint deformities
-Very painful type of Arthritis
-Causes sudden, severe attacks of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling in the joints, especially the big toe
-The pain and swelling associated with gout are caused by uric acid crystals that precipitate out of the blood and are deposited in the joint
Pseudogout / CPPD
-Also known as Calcium Pyrophosphate Dihydrate Deposition Disease (CPPD)
-Is caused by deposits of calcium phosphate crystals (not uric acid which is Gout) in the joints
-CPPD is often mistaken as gouty Arthritis
-Is a disease of the body’s connective tissue that causes thickening and hardening of the skin
-Can also affect the joints, blood vessels, and internal organs
-There are two types: localized and generalized, one part of the body versus several, respectively
-Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that can involve the skin, kidneys, blood vessels, joints, heart, other internal organs, and nervous system
-Sometimes mistaken for Osteoarthritis
-Symptoms may include a skin rash, Arthritis, fever, anemia, fatigue, hair loss, mouth ulcers, and kidney problems
-Symptoms usually first appear in women of childbearing age
-Can occur in children or older people
-About 90 percent of those affected are women
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
-Condition in which pressure on the median nerve at the wrist causes tingling and numbness in the fingers
-Can begin suddenly or gradually
-Can be associated with other diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, or it may be unrelated to other disorders
-Is a chronic inflammatory disease of the spine that can fuse the vertebrae to produce a rigid spine
-Other joints besides the spine may become involved
-Is a result of inflammation that usually starts in tissue outside the joint
-Most common early symptoms of spondylitis are low back pain and stiffness that continues for months
-The exact cause is still unknown, but, most people with spondylitis have a genetic marker known as HLA-B27
-Usually affects men between the ages of 16 and 35, but it can also affect women
-Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa sacs (Bursa are the fluid-filled sacs located in the areas where muscles and tendons glide over the bones)
-Tendinitis (tendonitis) is inflammation of a tendon which connect your muscles to your bones
-Both conditions cause pain through inflammation and movement becomes stiff
-Is a serious tick-borne disorder
-Can affect the joints, nervous system, heart, skin, and eyes
-Also called Reiter’s syndrome
-Involves inflammation in the joints and sometimes where ligaments and tendons attach to bones
-People with Reiter’s have Arthritis and one or more of the following conditions: urethritis, prostatitis, cervicitis, cystitis, conjunctivitis, and skin sores
-Is characterized by dysfunction of the moisture-producing glands causing dryness of the mouth and eyes
-Other parts of the body may also be affected resulting in a wide range of symptoms
-Results in loss of bone tissue, leaving bones less dense and prone to fracture
Living With Arthritic Conditions
Although Arthritis can make daily tasks more difficult and exhausting, there are many techniques and therapies, which added together, can give you a much better quality life, compared to no therapy at all. Arthritis affects people in many different ways. How long the patient is affected and how severely it is depends on the type of Arthritis. Arthritis sufferers will find there are good and bad days, but most patients with Arthritis will suffer from discomfort, pain, stiffness and/or fatigue.
If you have to continue working, there are certain techniques and help from an occupational therapist that may help the patient quite a bit.
There is a lot you can do to minimize the impact your Arthritis might have on family life and raising your children. A person with Arthritis will need to remember that being there for the child is much more important than being a super active parent. Make sure to be open with your family members about your Arthritis and explain how it affects you so that they recognize when you may need extra help.
But also take into consideration this; remember that if you suffer from Arthritis this does not mean you have to give up having an active lifestyle. With some changes to your way of life there is no reason why you cannot continue being active. Physical therapy and occupational therapy help maintain joint mobility and range of motion. How much therapy you need, and what kind of therapy will depend on many factors, such as the severity and type of Arthritis you have, your age, and your general state of health. This has to be decided by you with your physician and physical or occupational therapist.
Also, the patient’s body weight can be a major difference on the quality of their life. Experts say that eating a well-balanced diet is vital when you have Arthritis. Not only will you be receiving critical nutrients, you will also be either maintaining or arriving more quickly at a healthy bodyweight. If you are overweight you will be adding extra pressure on weight-bearing joints. Many patients have found that losing just a few pounds made a significant difference to their quality of life.
Natural Arthritis Treatment Options
As mentioned above, it is absolutely critical that you maintain optimal nutrition for your body. For one, this helps a person maintain the appropriate weight, but also gives the body the fuel to help fix itself. For example, a person that is deficient in Copper can actually experience worse symptoms from their Arthritis. Therefore, ensure that you are supplementing your diet with Copper.
Many Arthritis patients prefer to follow natural courses of treatment rather than conventional drug based options. A couple of natural remedies that have been shown to offer relief from the pain and inflammation associated with Arthritis are:
Aloe Vera-On its own Aloe is not a remedy for any condition but contains over 200 nutritional elements which work well in assisting the body do what is necessary to combat Arthritis heal itself.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin-These popular arthritic supplements are also produced naturally by the body and aid in joint repair.
Niacinamide-Commonly known as vitamin B3 helps maintain cell and tissue integrity thus slowing the progression of Arthritis.
Manganese-Manganese is an antioxidant mineral that assists with enzyme production and is a useful Arthritis remedy, particularly for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Ginger Extract and Turmeric-Both are excellent anti-inflammatory agents that have proven to be more effective than many prescription drugs in the treatment of Arthritis.
Life Force International, a 25 year old Holistic Whole Food Supplement company, has two products that contain many of these nutrients. Body Balance, a whole food Aloe Vera and Sea Vegetable combination, contains over 120 trace minerals, amino acids, enzymes, major minerals (including Copper), vitamins, and glyconutrients. The other product that may be helpful is OsteoProCare. This is a Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Glucosamine, and Chondroiton natural whole food supplement. If you would like to look at the package deals that Life Force offers for these two products, please visit our cart.
Regardless of whether you select Life Force as your nutrition supplement provider or not, please make sure to make nutrition a high priority in your treatment of Arthritis or any disease that you may have. Our bodies were made to be magnificent organisms and the body does have the natural ability to heal itself; we just have to provide it with the correct fuel.
Also, remember, you do not have to wait until you have a form of Arthritis to take action. A good diet, exercise program, and supplemental regime can reduce your risk of contracting a form of the disease. Simply put; BE PROACTIVE!
The Choice Is Always Yours!
Health Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The statements and products are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases.