Arthritis

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Arthritis , which literally means "joint inflammation," covers over 100 diseases that attack not only the joints, but muscles, ligaments, bones and tendons with pain, stiffness and swelling. Common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The disease affects men, women and children of all ages, regardless of background and culture.

Why should I be aware of this?

In general, however, little is known about the exact cause of arthritis and doctors can only treat the symptoms.

Since there are various types of arthritis and many treatment options, it is important to be properly diagnosed and treated early in the course of the disease. Delaying diagnosis and treatment allows arthritis symptoms to worsen. The best chance for preventing joint deformity and disability begins with early diagnosis and treatment.

Many medical experts have made comparison tests of alternate therapies and orthodox treatments and have found all of them to be as effective as claimed. Drugs are prescribed to relieve pain and swelling an physiotherapy is recommended. And a last resort is surgical intervention.

Arthritis and health

Osteoarthritis causes swelling, pain and stiffness and sometimes deforms the joints. The parts most affected are the hips, knees, spine and hands. Shock absorbing cartilage between the bones of the joints becomes rough and worn, allowing the bones to rub together and wear when the joints are flexed. Muscles and ligaments are also weakened. Normally women are more at risk than men.

Rheumatoid arthritis also affects more women than men. During an attack the tissue, tendons and ligaments of the joint become inflamed. Feet and fingers are usually the first parts to be affected; then the wrists, knees, shoulders and ankles and elbows.

Causes

The causes of arthritis are largely unknown, but various factors such as heredity, injury and stress on the joints may play a part. Many therapists believe that certain forms may be associated with a breakdown of the Immune system- possibly triggered by an allergy or by a virus infections. It generally occurs in older people as the protective joint cartilage gets worn off but it can appear in younger people also due to sports injuries or stress on joints. It is best to consult a medical expert before doing any self diagnosis.

Symptoms

Symptoms include swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints: red shiny skin over the joints; and a general feeling of stiffness and restricted movements. Sometimes there is a numbness in the hands as well and a loss of weight or appetite, Fever or a general sense of being unwell.

Arthritis and therapies

Naturopathy

Naturopathy experts believe that a whole food, largely vegetarian diet with plenty of salads and lightly cooked vegetables is recommended. Dairy products may be avoided as the chances of them causing allergies are more. But some amount of egg and fish and chicken does give the required protein and is beneficial.

Red meat and white flour products are avoidable. They recommend having goat’s milk and products instead of cows milk. They also suggest one avoid acid fruits like lemons, oranges, tomatoes. Even sugar, tea, coffee and products containing food additives. Drinking raw fruits and vegetable juices may also help. For acute inflammation, drinking around 3 to 4 cups fo celery juice and one cup each of carrot, cucumber and beetroot juice daily is recommended. But a qualified naturopath must be consulted in the beginning who will determine the right diet for you based on individual needs.

Arthritis sufferers with vitamin and mineral deficiencies are recommended to take supplements. Some additional supplements include evening primrose oil, pollen tablets, kelp or seaweed and green lipped mussel extract.

Traditional medicine

Remedies include a warming lotion made from glycerin and cayenne pepper and hot compresses of pounded fresh ginger, powdered sulphur or green clay.

Having 2 teaspoon of cider vinegar in a glass of water with a little honey first thing in the morning and again at every at every meal.

Having 2 teaspoon of cod liver oil for five days before going to bed is also known to help.

Hydrotherapy

Swimming takes the weight off joints and warm water relaxes muscles and relieved pain.

Seawater is believed to be particularly beneficial, as are seaweed baths.

2 to 3 tablespoons of Epsom salts in the bath also works.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy experts say that, two general homeopathic remedies are Ruta and Rhus tox. The later is specifically beneficial for pains that become worse after resting and in damp weather.

If pain is eased by pressure and cold and increased by heat and movement, having Bryonia helps

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine experts say that Devil’s claw is beneficial for people suffering from Arthritis. Research has shown that it contains several glycosides that are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. But it should not be used during pregnancy.

Alfalfa, used as tablets or infusion, can be used as a nutritional supplement.

Infusions of parsley and ginger root are said to clear poisons from the system and extracts of willow, Aloe Vera, feverfew, and bog bean are also believed to reduce inflammation.

Acupressure

  • After consulting an expert, self treatment can be done. In each case press the points indicated firmly for one to two minutes and massage in a clockwork direction.
  • Hands: Press the point at the end of the crease between forefinger and thumb towards the finger bone.
  • Hips: Press strongly inwards at the hollow at the sides of the hips at the joint between pelvis and leg.
  • Knees: Press in and under the kneecap in the outer depression. Or press inwards at the point three thumbs width down from the kneecap in the hollow on the outer edge of the shin

Acupuncture

Acupuncture experts say that both rheumatoid and osteo arthritis respond well to acupuncture techniques. A full consultation and examination is followed by individual cures

Bach remedies

Experts at Bach remedies say that specified remedies help reduce pain and suffering.

  • Oak is good for those who are dutiful, stoic and long suffering
  • Beech for those who are rigid and intolerant
  • Pine for those with a domineering and autocratic personalities
  • And Vervain if the arthritis is as a result of over exerting one self.

Aromatherapy

Rub chamomile onto painful joints

Mix 10 drops of rosemary, marigold and lavender oil in 3 tablespoon of almond oil to create massage oil and use it to rub on painful joints

Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy can also be used to overcome anxiety and depression and also create a positive attitude to life, which has a direct influence on inflammations.

CopperBytes

  • In 2003–2005, 50% of adults 65 years and over reported an arthritis diagnosis.
  • One in five (over 21%) adults in the United States report having doctor diagnosed arthritis.
  • An estimated 21 million adults have osteoarthritis worldwide.
  • One million new patients develop arthritis each year.
  • There are over 100 different types of arthritis

References

  • Arthritis
  • Arthritis and Your Joints
  • Wondering if you have arthritis?