Pain, Inflammation, Joint disorders | March 13, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Arthritis is an umbrella term which refers to over 150 types of disorders which can cause inflammation in one or multiple joints. Some common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and gout. Each type of arthritis will have different causes and symptoms, but the aim of treatment is to reduce pain, promote repair and improve quality of life.
The most common signs of symptoms of arthritis involve the joints and include:
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder which affects many joints, including those in the hands and feet. Unlike the wear and tear of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder—where the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of your joints. This leads to painful swellings that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
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A type of degenerative joint disease in which cartilage at the end of bones wears down—leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.
Many people will experience symptoms of osteoarthritis as they age.
Gout is a form of arthritis characterised by severe pain, redness and tenderness in joints (especially the big toe). It is the result of a build-up of uric acid, which forms tiny crystals in some of the joints of the body.
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect many different body systems—including your joints. The joints most often affected are the ones farthest from the middle of the body, such as fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles and toes.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints. It causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) that can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort.
This is the term used to describe inflammation of the joints in children. It is usually caused by an autoimmune disorder which leads to joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that doesn’t go away.
To better understand arthritis, it’s helpful to know the anatomy of our joints and how they work.
A joint is defined as the point at which two or more bones articulate. There are different kinds of joints in the body—some which allow for movement and some which are fibrous (immoveable).
The ends of our bones are covered with a connective tissue called cartilage which acts as a cushion. In most of our joints in the body, synovial fluid is also present which creates further cushioning and lubrication.
Around the joint is a joint capsule which keeps the bones in place. Ligaments are what holds our bones together. Muscles are attached to the bones via tendons. When your muscle contracts, they pull on the bones to make the joint move.
Arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions affect the normal functioning of the joints, muscles, bones and surrounding structures.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are both components of normal cartilage and in the body, they act as building blocks to create more. They are frequently used to prevent further joint degeneration in osteoarthritis. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a supplement containing organic sulphur which is reported to reduce inflammation and support the health and function of joints. A 12-week study found that the combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM was superior to placebo and glucosamine and chondroitin alone in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.
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Extracted from turmeric, curcumin has profound antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found to be useful in knee osteoarthritis, reducing the pain and preserving functionality.
When combined with boswellia, curcumin has been shown to be in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, fish oil is a secret weapon against many forms of arthritis. It works by reducing inflammation and providing joint lubrication. Fish oil has found to be particularly helpful in autoimmune types of arthritis where it reduces joint swelling and pain, duration of morning stiffness, global assessments of pain and disease activity.
Boswellia serrata is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries for inflammation, particularly arthritis. This traditional use has been confirmed by more recent clinical trials which demonstrated that boswellia is able to reduce pain and increase functionality after only a few days (a week or so at most) with no serious adverse effects.
Eating foods that assist in reducing inflammation can make a huge difference to a person’s quality of life with arthritis.
An ideal meal should include raw or moderately cooked vegetables (including green varieties and lentils), with the addition of spices like turmeric and ginger, seasonal fruits, fresh seafood and probiotic yoghurt.
It’s recommended you avoid any processed food, salt, butter, sugar and even animal products.
The studies show that eating a more vegan/vegetarian diet, eliminating potentially allergenic foods and balancing essential fatty acid levels in the diet can have a large impact on disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis.
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Low impact activities such as water aerobics and swimming may be good choices because of the buoyancy of the water reduces stress on weight-bearing joints. Regular exercise in general also helps to keep joints flexible, improves mood and maintenance of a healthy weight.
Lubis AMT, et al. Comparison of Glucosamine-Chondroitin Sulfate with and without Methylsulfonylmethane in Grade I-II Knee Osteoarthritis: A Double Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Acta Med Indones. 2017 Apr;49(2):105-111