Arthritis and Pain Management

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Arthritis and Pain Management


There are two major forms of arthri­tis and many dif­fer­ent causes for both.

Osteoarthri­tis, more com­mon in the elderly, describes a con­di­tion in which the car­ti­lage in the joints wears away, induc­ing pain and stiff­ness mainly in weight-bearing joints. Osteoarthri­tis can be clas­si­fied into two major cat­e­gories: Pri­mary OA and Sec­ondary OA. Sec­ondary OA is caused by trauma or some known abnor­mal­ity such as nutri­tional defi­cien­cies, infec­tious dis­ease or endocrine disorder.

Rheuma­toid arthri­tis is an autoim­mune con­di­tion which affects the whole body, not just cer­tain joints. Rheumatic dis­ease char­ac­ter­ized by inflam­ma­tion and degen­er­a­tion of the joints. Rheuma­toid arthri­tis, also iden­ti­fied by the thank­fully brief acronym “RA,” strikes the joint lin­ings first. All joints are cov­ered by a thin “syn­ovial mem­brane” that reduces the fric­tion between adja­cent joints.  The syn­ovial mem­brane, the sur­face of a joint is well lubri­cated and allow the joint to slide the freely with­out any fric­tion. With­out the syn­ovial mem­brane we would be stiff and immobile.

Cur­rent med­ical think­ing views rheuma­toid arthri­tis as an “autoim­mune dis­ease.” In autoim­mune dis­eases, for rea­sons that are not com­pletely under­stood, the immune sys­tem attacks the body’s own tis­sue as though it were a for­eign invader.

Peo­ple with rheuma­toid arthri­tis pro­duce an immunity-related sub­stance called “rheuma­toid fac­tor” that tar­gets the syn­ovial mem­brane. The con­se­quences are severe pain and inflam­ma­tion, joint dis­fig­ure­ment, and loss of joint move­ment and func­tion. This implies poor immune sys­tem func­tion and over­ac­tive inflam­ma­tory processes.

A diet high in ani­mal fats and refined foods, and cer­tain nutri­ent defi­cien­cies (espe­cially essen­tial fatty acids (EFA’s), may con­tribute to inflam­ma­tory processes, as may poor diges­tion and food sen­si­tiv­i­ties. An impor­tant aspect of treat­ment is the main­te­nance of an ade­quate sup­ply of nutri­ents such as vit­a­min C and con­stituents such as glu­cosamine sul­fate. 

Antiox­i­dant nutri­ents, essen­tial fats and vit­a­min B5 reduce inflam­ma­tion. Vit­a­min D, cal­cium, mag­ne­sium and boron sup­port bone health. Other ben­e­fi­cial nutri­ents include col­la­gen, chon­droitin, MSM and herbs such as Curcumin.

Dietary guide­lines

Fol­low a healthy diet and be sure to avoid tea, cof­fee, sugar, refined car­bo­hy­drates. Drink plenty of water and appro­pri­ate herbal teas. Those who suf­fer from arthri­tis would be wise to avoid the night­shade fam­ily foods.  Many peo­ple are sen­si­tive to this fam­ily and aren’t aware of it.

Over­all, focus on the root cause and what are the under­ly­ing mech­a­nisms that are caus­ing the arthri­tis rather than just treat­ing it symp­to­mati­cally.  Each per­son is encour­aged to seek out a qual­i­fied nutri­tion­ist in order to assess exactly which nutri­ents, herbs, home­o­pathics and nat­ural reme­dies; in which com­bi­na­tion; in what pro­por­tion are right for the par­tic­u­lar indi­vid­ual and are intended at treat­ing the root cause rather than just a symptom.