What is Arthritis?
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Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Arthritis is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. Arthritis is more common in women than men and in people who are overweight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 54.4 million adults in the United States have received a diagnosis of some form of arthritis. Of these, 23.7 million people have their activity curtailed in some way by their condition.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Your range of motion may also decrease, and you may experience redness of the skin around the joint. Many people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worse in the morning.
In the case of RA, you may feel tired or experience a loss of appetite due to the inflammation the immune system’s activity causes. You may also become anemic — meaning your red blood cell count decreases — or have a slight fever. Severe RA can cause joint deformity if left untreated.
What causes arthritis?
Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints. It protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue causes some forms of arthritis.
Normal wear and tear cause OA, one of the most common forms of arthritis. An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Your risk of developing OA may be higher if you have a family history of the disease.
Another common form of arthritis, RA, is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks affect the synovium, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints.
RA is a disease of the synovium that will invade and destroy a joint. It can eventually lead to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint.
The exact cause of the immune system’s attacks is unknown. However, scientists have discovered genetic markers that increase your risk of developing RA fivefold.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
Seeing your primary care physician is a good first step if you’re unsure who to see for an arthritis diagnosis. They will perform a physical exam to check for fluid around the joints, warm or red joints, and limited range of motion in the joints. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist if needed.
If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, you may choose to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist first. This may lead to faster diagnosis and treatment.
Extracting and analyzing inflammation levels in your blood and joint fluids can help your doctor determine what kind of arthritis you have. Blood tests that check for specific types of antibodies like anti-CCP (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide), RF (rheumatoid factor), and ANA (antinuclear antibody) are also common diagnostic tests.
Doctors commonly use imaging scans such as X-ray, MRI, and CT scans to produce an image of your bones and cartilage. This is so they can rule out other causes of your symptoms, such as bone spurs.
How is arthritis treated?
The main goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing and prevent additional damage to the joints. You’ll learn what works best for you in terms of controlling pain. Some people find heating pads and ice packs to be soothing. Others use mobility assistance devices, like canes or walkers, to help take the pressure off sore joints.
Improving your joint function is also important. Your doctor may prescribe you a combination of treatment methods to achieve the best results.
Different types of medication treat arthritis:
Analgesics, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), are effective for pain management but don’t help decrease inflammation.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) and salicylates, help control pain and inflammation. Salicylates can thin the blood, so they should be used very cautiously with additional blood-thinning medications.
Menthol or capsaicin creams block the transmission of pain signals from your joints.
Immunosuppressants like prednisone or cortisone help reduce inflammation.
I am not an advocate of big pharmaceutical drugs. I am aware that in some cases you may not have any other choices. I will always recommend you follow your doctor’s instructions.
My articles mostly explore natural ways of healing, through herbal remedies, essential oils, diet, exercise, and the list goes on. Further on in my article, I will be discussing these alternatives.
Surgery to replace your joint with an artificial one may be an option. This form of surgery is most commonly performed to replace hips and knees.
If your arthritis is most severe in your fingers or wrists, your doctor may perform a joint fusion. In this procedure, the ends of your bones are locked together until they heal and become one.
Physical therapy involving exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint is a core component of arthritis treatment.
Diet, Exercise, and Alternatives:
Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight reduce the risk of developing OA and can reduce symptoms if you already have it.
Eating a healthy diet is important for weight loss. Choosing a diet with lots of antioxidants, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, can help reduce inflammation. Other inflammation-reducing foods include fish and nuts.
Foods to minimize or avoid if you have arthritis include fried foods, processed foods, some dairy products, and high intakes of meat. Note dairy products that are high in calcium and low in fat help with osteoarthritis.
Some research also suggests that gluten antibodies may be present in people with RA. A gluten-free diet may improve symptoms and disease progression. A 2015 study also recommends a gluten-free diet for all people who receive a diagnosis of undifferentiated connective tissue disease.
Regular exercise will keep your joints flexible. Swimming is often a good form of exercise for people with arthritis because it doesn’t put pressure on your joints the way running and walking do. Staying active is important, but you should also be sure to rest when you need to and avoid overexerting yourself.
At-home exercises you can try include:
The head tilt, neck rotation, and other exercises relieve pain in your neck.
Finger bends and thumb bends to ease pain in your hands.
Leg raises, hamstring stretches, and other easy exercises for knee arthritis.
We will look into all of these alternatives more in-depth later on.
Right now I would like to concentrate on the medical aspects and allow you to make your own choices.
Many believe that arthritis disease is a medical condition experienced only by the elderly. However, a persistent backache, neck strain, or other painful condition could very well be osteoarthritis, a common arthritis that afflicts individuals of any age. In fact, with every type of arthritis, the area surrounding joints including the elbow, knee, and wrists can become swollen, red, and tender to the touch. In many incidences, there is a warm sensation around a joint with arthritis.
Spondylosis (a painful condition of the spine resulting from the degeneration of the intervertebral disks), is known to affect one out of every seven individuals of adult age. While it is most common in individuals 45 and older, it does affect younger individuals as well. It is often triggered by sports, accidents, or work-related injuries. Even though researchers and medical experts do not fully comprehend why women usually experience spinal arthritis and more intensive severe chronic pain than do men.
What does arthritis feel like and how do you know you have it?
Gradually Worsening Pain
Osteoarthritis is a form of back pain that gradually worsens over time. Unlike a major backache that happens suddenly and excruciatingly in an attack, osteoarthritis begins with a twinge and becomes achier over time. Osteoarthritis feels more like an overall achiness or an acute pain in one or many areas of the back. Pain caused by osteoarthritis can also come and go, where you will feel normal and flexible for weeks or even months before the pain returns worse than ever.
Limiting Range of Motion:
In addition to feeling stiff and achy, when rising every morning, you might also notice a stiff back or the inability to bend flexibly. Oftentimes, osteoarthritis sufferers find it challenging to arch their back or bend over because it triggers intense severe pain. Many activities including dance, yoga, or sports might become more challenging because of a limited range of motion and stiffness that only improves with exercise and stretching. Oftentimes, the pain migrates in different areas, where the neck might be sore on the first day, the shoulder the next day, and the other shoulder sometime later.
Tingling and Numbness:
While many individuals believe they are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome,(click on the blue text for more) it might actually be arthritis of the spine because of similar symptoms. Arthritis often appears as stiffness or sensation in the fingers, hands, and wrists, causing the loss of control of fine motor movements. In addition, the condition can arise as numbness, tingling, or twinge radiating from the shoulder down through the arm. As a result of nerve compression, it may be that the individual feels pain in a specific area, or down the entire arm. The sensation is also known to come and go.
When individuals wonder exactly what does arthritis feels like, it is important to note that every sufferer experiences something different. One individual may have weakness, numbness, or pain in the legs, while others are presented with tingling and stiffness. Still, other individuals might be experiencing aches and pains that mimic other degenerative diseases or conditions.
Does Turmeric Help Relieve Arthritic Pain?
I have to tell you I am a strong believer in the power of Turmeric, it should be mixed with black pepper for stronger benefits. Don’t worry we will be talking about how you can use turmeric. I will include certain tea, food, and juice recipes, further on.
If you are looking for a way to get rid of arthritis without the use of a medicine, then turmeric is the alternative. Always keep in mind your doctor’s recommendations first.
Daily consumption of turmeric provides relief from mild joint pain and inflammation. Curcumin, (Curcumin is the key active ingredient in turmeric). Adding black pepper enhances the effects of turmeric. Often when bought, your turmeric should include curcumin. Curcumin found in turmeric is one of the main factors that helps in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It also prevents degradation and loss of bone tissue. Studies have shown that turmeric is more effective in altering gene expression in order to prevent the worsening and progression of the disease than reducing it.
How To Use Turmeric for Arthritis?
Turmeric Capsules Or Turmeric Tablets for Arthritis?
Turmeric capsules are more effective than tablets.
Tablets are heated and a stabilizer is added to give them shape.
Heating reduces the potency of turmeric.
On the other hand, capsules are freeze-dried and thus remain fresh.
The recommended daily dose is 250 to 500 mg is three times a day
Prepare a paste by mixing turmeric with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
Gently massage the paste on the affected areas.
Use gauze to cover the area and leave it for 30 minutes to one hour.
After removing the gauze, clean the area with cool water.
For effective and visible results, use this method a couple of times during the day for a week or two.
Absorption of Turmeric by the Body:
In order to achieve the desired results, your body needs a high dosage of curcumin. To do so, you can follow the below methods:
You would need 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, 1-2 egg yolks, and 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder.
Put them all in a blender and blend them thoroughly.
Another method that you can try out is to bowl 1 liter of water and add a tablespoon of curcumin powder to it.
Let the mixture boil for 10 minutes. Drink the mixture once it has cooled down a little. Remember that it should be consumed within 4 hours.
A Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet For Pain Relief:
Many people who are suffering from arthritis have found great benefits in following a rheumatoid arthritis diet. This diet is easy to follow and if followed consistently, may help to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Gluten-Free Healthy Lifestyle Concept Processed foods with wheat, barley, or rye in them may aggravate rheumatoid arthritis. Trying a gluten-free diet can help to cleanse these toxins out of the system and may provide some relief to the condition. The patient may also need to eliminate bread, wheat cereals as well and some coffee creamers (yes, wheat in a coffee creamer) and the patient should learn to read labels consistently.
Avoid Processed Foods:
Many processed foods have a lot of chemicals in them. These chemicals can break down the body’s immune system and in turn, bring on the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Again, read labels and if foods are mostly additives, don’t buy them.
Maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that being overweight can greatly aggravate the condition and may cause more symptoms.
Eat Less Protein:
Again, studies show that eating less protein may help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. When considering a rheumatoid arthritis diet one may consider lowering protein levels by eating smaller portions of protein and reducing the intake of such things as nuts, beans, and meats. On a 2000-calorie diet, for example, only 400 to 600 of those calories per day should be protein.
Green and white teas have high levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants in them. Raising these levels has been shown to reduce symptoms as well.
Drink Water: (Distilled would be the best)
Most people don’t drink enough water. Water helps to flush toxins out of the body and thus reduce symptoms.
Fats and Oils:
Lower saturated fats and increase healthy oils such as Omega 3s. Omega 3s have many health benefits and will help to maintain normal liver function as well as the rest of the body. Saturated fats will slow the metabolism down and clog the arteries.
Healthy Omega 3s are found in sardines, salmon, mackerel, trout, walnuts, and flax seeds.
Eating more green veggies will not only fill one up, but it will also help to reduce arthritis symptoms. Great veggies to choose from include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Bok Choy, and Kale. Kale is also high in Vitamin K.
Many people are suffering from very low Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps the body to regulate waking and sleeping as well as protecting the body from viruses. It may be had by simply taking a walk in the sunshine but can also be included in the diet by eating more dairy and by taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.
Get rid of those other oils and move some virgin olive oil in to replace them. Olive oil used in cooking, on salads, and ingested will help to ease those joints and reduce inflammation as well as pain.
Best Fruits To Battle Arthritis:
Tart cherries get their rich red color and many of their powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits from the flavonoid anthocyanin. These properties make tart cherries a popular research subject, and some investigators compare the effects to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Studies, which often use the concentrated juice of Montmorency cherries, have found tart cherries may relieve joint pain in people with osteoarthritis and lower the risk of flares in those with gout. Recent studies suggest tart cherries may improve the quality and duration of sleep.
Strawberries are naturally low in sugar and have more vitamin C per serving than an orange. Vitamin C can lower the risk of gout, high blood pressure, and cholesterol problems. Research has also shown that women who ate 16 or more strawberries a week had lower C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of body-wide inflammation linked to arthritis flares and heart disease.
As with cherries, scientists suspect it’s anthocyanin, along with other phytochemicals, that give strawberries their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits. These berries are also a good source of folic acid, which the arthritis medication methotrexate can deplete. People taking the drug often need folic acid supplements to help prevent side effects. You may still need a capsule supplement, but strawberries help increase your intake while providing other benefits.
Like strawberries, these berries are among the highest in vitamin C and anthocyanin. Animal studies have shown extracts from the fruit reduce inflammation and osteoarthritis symptoms. Other research shows the fruit’s bioactive compounds lower system-wide inflammation and, when a regular part of the diet, helps prevent a number of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes.
The rich, creamy texture of this fruit comes in part from its high content of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat. Avocados are also rich in the carotenoid lutein. Unlike most fruits, avocados are a good source of vitamin E, a micronutrient with anti-inflammatory effects. Diets high in these compounds are linked to a decreased risk of the joint damage seen in early osteoarthritis.
Studies also show eating avocados daily increases “good” HDL cholesterol and lowers its “bad” LDL counterpart. Despite the fruit’s relatively high-calorie content, research has found that regular avocado eaters tend to weigh less and have smaller waists. Their high fiber and fat content may help people control cravings.
Watermelon is another fruit with anti-inflammatory action; studies show it reduces CRP. It’s high in the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, which can reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to studies that followed people’s dietary habits over time. It leads the fruit pack in lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against certain cancers and lower heart attack risk.
One cup has about 40% more lycopene than raw tomatoes, the next richest raw food source. Watermelon is also ninety-two percent water, which makes it great for hydration and weight management. One cup of watermelon has about 40 calories – plus about a third of your recommended daily allowance of vitamins A and C.
“Grapes, both white and darker-colored varieties, are a great source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. “Fresh red and black grapes also contain resveratrol, the heart-healthy compound found in red wine that contributes to cardiovascular health by improving the function of blood vessels.”
Although there is no diet cure for arthritis, certain foods have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones, and boost the immune system. Adding these foods to your balanced diet may help ease the symptoms of your arthritis.
Because certain types of fish are packed with inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, experts recommend at least 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week. Omega-3-rich fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring.
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis
Not a fan of fish but still want the inflammation-busting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids? Try heart-healthy soybeans (tofu or edamame). Soybeans are also low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and an all-around good-for-you food.
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis
Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats, as well as oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. But it’s not the only oil with health benefits. Avocado and safflower oils have shown cholesterol-lowering properties, while walnut oil has 10 times the omega-3s that olive oil has.
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
Studies have shown cherries help reduce the frequency of gout attacks. Research has shown that the anthocyanins found in cherries have an anti-inflammatory effect. Anthocyanins can also be found in other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
Great for: Gout
Rich in vitamins K and C, broccoli also contains a compound called sulforaphane, which researchers have found could help prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis (OA). Broccoli is also rich in calcium, which is known for its bone-building benefits.
Great for: osteoarthritis
Green tea is packed with polyphenols, antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. Studies also show that another antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Great for: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
Citrus fruits – like oranges, grapefruits, and limes – are rich in vitamin C. Research shows that getting the right amount of vitamin aids in preventing inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints with osteoarthritis (OA).
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
Whole grains lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. CRP is a marker of inflammation associated with heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Foods like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-grain cereals are excellent sources of whole grains.
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis
Beans are packed with fiber, a nutrient that helps lower CRP. Beans are also an excellent and inexpensive source of protein, which is important for muscle health. Some beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium, all known for their heart and immune system benefits. Look for red beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis
Studies have shown that people who regularly ate foods from the allium family – such as garlic, onions, and leeks – showed fewer signs of early osteoarthritis (OA). Researchers believe the compound diallyl disulfide found in garlic may limit cartilage-damaging enzymes in human cells.
Great for: osteoarthritis
Nuts are rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and immune-boosting alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), as well as filling protein and fiber. They are heart-healthy and beneficial for weight loss. Try walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds.
Great for: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
Proponents of cinnamon in alleviating symptoms of RA contribute their healing powers to the anti-inflammatory qualities of cinnamon bark. In addition, cinnamon is noted to help with aches and pains, especially when they are worse with cold or cold weather.
The Problem? Cinnamon in large doses can be detrimental to your health. In addition, cinnamon has been found to have potentially harmful effects on pregnant women and may negatively react with your body’s natural blood clotting as well as interact with any blood-thinning medications you are taking.
Willow bark, as the name quite literally says, is the bark off of willow trees. This bark has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that assist with pain relief. In fact, it has very similar qualities to everyday aspirin.
The Problem? The active ingredient in willow bark, a chemical called salicin, can be fatal in large doses, as it shuts down the kidneys.
The fact of the day: salicin overdose is what killed Beethoven.
It’s making me sneeze just thinking about it. Black pepper has long been known to aid in pain relief and swelling reduction. You may have heard of capsaicin. Well, that’s the key ingredient in black pepper that’s thought to give RA relief. Capsaicin appears in many over-the-counter creams and lotions – most often associated with anti-inflammatory medications.
The Problem? As is typical of most creams and lotions, the relief is only temporary and needs to be used frequently to maintain pain relief.
Has been known to be helpful for a lot of things, especially nausea. What’s the one thing your mom whipped out every time you were feeling sick to your stomach when you were little? Ginger ale. Go figure. It’s also been shown to help alleviate morning sickness in pregnant women, and it’s noted to have anti-inflammatory qualities to alleviate arthritis symptoms. Elements in ginger have been found to reduce the action of T cells, which are those cells that are going around attacking your healthy cells. The overall result is a decrease in systemic inflammation.
Arthritis remedies image gallery. Please highlight and click on the link below.
The dose needed to benefit from decreased systemic inflammation is unclear.
Thank you for reading.
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