There are many types of arthritides. In this section I will briefly discuss the two most common types – osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Osteoarthritis is caused by a breakdown or loss of cartilage that results in loss of mobility, inflammation, and pain. This occurs most commonly in the feet, hands, knees, back, and neck, though it can also occur in a joint that is used repetitively, such as the shoulder of a baseball player, for example. If you have OA, perhaps diagnosed by X-ray and signs of stiffness and swelling, then you may be told or have been told to take an anti-inflammatory medication and/or a pain medication to deal with it. Well, that’s no solution and it’s often bad advice, as I explain below. Everybody is unique so there is no “cookbook” method for dealing with every individual’s OA, but there are three important issues to deal with here.
How to Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally
The first is inflammation. You’ve got inflammation and you need to get rid of it. The best way to deal with inflammation is to stop eating hydrogenated fats (read about in Health Topics) and start eating omega 3 rich foods such as fish and flax oils. Considering that the half-life of a hydrogenated “trans” fat is 51 days, eating them even only once a week will cause problems, or at best provoke the problem you’ve already got. Fighting inflammation also means that you’ve got to make sure you have adequate amounts of the nutrients that help you make anti-inflammatory compounds in your body. Those nutrients are vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, niacin, and vitamin C. There are others but these are the most important. Remember, that doesn’t mean they are going to “fix” you. Everybody is different, what worked for your friend might not do you any good. Learn more about naturally preventing inflammation.
The second key point is to focus on the cartilage issue. This means that you need proper glucose and sulfur metabolism. Sulfur is contained in foods with a “bite” such as onions and garlic as well as the cruciferous vegetables broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Although persons with arthritis often need to take supplemental sulfur, (such as the amino acid L-Cysteine), the problem initially was that sulfur has been depleted. Your liver uses sulfur for detoxification, especially of hormones. A lot of cortisone from too much stress or a lot of synthetic hormones from medications (HRT) will add to the problem. The other major thing that depletes sulfur is an NSAID. That’s right, those anti-inflammatory medications will use up the very thing that you need to help the joint that you’re taking them for. Though they may be helping your inflammation and pain now and you feel better, you’re depleting a lot of sulfur taking them. You’ll need that sulfur if you want to get rid of your OA symptoms and repair your joints. This is why when a person with low sulfur takes a supplement such as glucosamine sulfate or chondroitin sulfate they feel better. You make this stuff naturally in your body, but many people lack the building blocks to do so. They lack the sulfur, and they lack proper glucose metabolism.
Proper glucose metabolism doesn’t mean you should eat a lot of carbohydrates (sugars) to get more glucose. It actually is usually the opposite. It means eating foods low on the glycemic index and eliminating those sugary foods so you don’t develop what is known as insulin resistance. The proper balance of blood sugar that can be driven into your tissues is necessary to combine with the sulfur to make your own glucosamine sulfate and rebuild your joints.
The third key step is to deal with the area of concern directly. This is where some sort of therapy comes into play. An applied kinesiologist such as myself is concerned with making sure the muscles around the involved joint or joints are functioning normally, and the bones are in proper alignment. Dealing with injuries, whether new or old, is often very beneficial. Acupressure points are also very useful to help with pain control and inflammation.
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Rheumatoid arthritis is more of a chronic, inflammatory, multiple-site arthritis. The medical society uses analgesics to control pain, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, NSAIDs, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs to help get the patient by day-to-day. I will of course tell you the natural, and what I feel is the more appropriate way, to deal with this disease. All of the information above for OA is also very important and necessary to properly deal with, and overcome, RA. Additionally, since RA is autoimmune in nature, focusing on the immune system in the treatment regimen is extremely important.
How to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally
Along with treating the specific involved areas, fighting the inflammation naturally, and making sure the necessary nutrient components are available for joint repair, you need to deal with the immune issue of RA. One of the most common immune deterrents is a food allergy or allergies. Eliminating the offender(s) is necessary for success. Since about one-half of the immune system is contained within the healthy bacteria that line the digestive tract, dealing with the digestive system is also important. Sometimes that means supporting with digestive enzymes or replenishing the lost bacteria. The health of the gut can be further investigated through a digestive analysis or an organic acid test.
Overall, the big idea here is to not give up, or give in, if you have any arthritis.