Arthritis
21 Case Studies
2 Member Stories
26 Research

Learn about natural herbal remedies, treatments, and prevention for arthritis pain relief. Practitioners share how to treat arthritis pain & reduce inflammation with natural therapies.

What is Arthritis?

The skeletal system of the entire body consists of various kinds of strong, fibrous tissue known as connective tissues. Bone, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons are all kinds of connective tissue that have different compositions and characteristics. The joints are structures that hold two or more bones together. Synovial joints allow for movement between the bones being linked, the articulating bones. The simplest synovial joint involves two bones, separated by a small gap called the joint cavity.

The ends of each articular bone are covered by a layer of cartilage. Both articular bones and the joint cavity are surrounded with a tough tissue called the articular capsule. The articular capsule has two components: the fibrous membrane on the exterior along with the synovial membrane, or synovium, on the interior.

The fibrous membrane may include tough bands of the synovial membrane contains particular cells and lots of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. This membrane creates a supply of synovial fluid that fills the joint cavity lubricates it and helps the articular bones move smoothly about the joint. 

Arthritis is Inflammation of at least one of your joints. The main signs of arthritis are joint stiffness and pain, which generally worsen with age. Common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout.

- Osteoarthritis causes cartilage - the tough, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint - to break down.

- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that first targets the lining of joints (synovium).

- Uric acid crystals, infections, or underlying disorders, such as psoriasis or lupus, can lead to other kinds of arthritis.

See: Ayurveda for Osteoarthritis treatment

Arthritis Symptoms

Various arthritis types have different symptoms. Stiffness and pain in and around joints are common symptoms for most types of arthritis. Based on the kind of arthritis, symptoms may develop suddenly or slowly with time. Symptoms can come and go, or linger over time. Based on the type of arthritis one has, the symptoms and signs may include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, decreased range of mobility than prior periods. If you are suffering from RA, you may also experience fatigue, difficulty in breathing, and loss of appetite. However, if left untreated, the disease could cause a permanent deformity in your joints, leading to disability.

See: Functional Medicine Helps Heal a Woman from Autoimmune Arthritis

What causes arthritis?

Experts do not know the causes of many kinds of arthritis. But, occasionally specific infections can also lead to arthritis. Scientists are studying the role of factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and environment in various kinds of arthritis to learn more potential causes and risk factors.

The two leading types of Arthritis - osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis - harm joints in different ways.

- The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to a joint's cartilage -- the tough, slick coating on the ends of bones. Enough damage can result in bone grinding straight on another bone, which causes pain and limited motion. This wear and tear may occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or disease.

- In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all of the joint parts. This lining, known as the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.

The cause of diseases depends on the type of disease. Some causes include:

• Inheritance and general wear and tear of the cartilage in your joints- can cause  osteoarthritis

• Overactive immune system – can cause rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and SLE

• Sometimes abnormal metabolism can lead to gout

• Infections can also cause Lyme disease.

• Injuries can aggravate your arthritic conditions.

See: Rheumatoid arthritis Complementary treatment with Probiotics

Risk factors for arthritis

Your chances of developing arthritis depend on certain factors. By modifying diet and lifestyle, you may be able to reduce some factors that can be controlled. The risk factors include:

Certain factors make it more likely that you will develop arthritis. You may control some risk factors, and others you can't. Risk factors for arthritis include:

· Family history. Some types of arthritis operate in families, and that means you may be more likely to develop arthritis in case your siblings or parents have the disease. Your genes can make you more vulnerable to environmental factors that may trigger arthritis.

· Age. The risk of various kinds of arthritis -- such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout -- increases with age.

· Your sex. Women are more likely than are men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, though the majority of the men and women who suffer from gout, yet another type of arthritis, are guys.

· Previous joint injury.

· Obesity. Carrying excess pounds puts pressure on joints, particularly Your knees, hips, and spine. Obese people have a greater risk of developing arthritis.

See: Rheumatoid Arthritis And Gut Bacteria

Natural Arthritis Treatments and Therapies

Treatments vary depending on the form of arthritis for pain relief. The key goals of arthritis treatments would be to decrease symptoms, relieve the pain,  and improve quality of life. Holistic & natural health care approach includes:

Weight loss

• Dietary & Nutritional plan

• Exercise & physical activity, including yoga & meditation

• Lifestyle advice

• Herbal remedies

• Dietary supplements

• Stress Management


- Weight Reduction

The best remedy--keeping a healthy weight, and losing weight if necessary--isn't the easiest. However, every pound you pare off signifies 4 pounds less strain on your knees. Some people may see their symptoms disappear if they lose 10 to 20 lbs.

- Exercise: Physical activity is crucial for individuals with osteoarthritis, whether it means walking around your apartment if you are a fragile elderly person or swimming laps in case you are in better shape. People used to believe that exercise created arthritis worse, however, the reverse is true--unless you are pounding the pavement. Exercise programs should include both aerobic exercise -such as swimming, walking, or cycling - and strengthening exercises, such as isometric and isotonic exercises.

- Meditation and yoga: Additionally, yoga helps a good deal in treating arthritis as it enhances the overall physical flexibility of the patients. This is a greater field of meditation; breathing exercises are significant yoga practices that help in spiritual development too. However, by choosing a meditation and yoga wellness program, an individual can get better quickly.

- Acupuncture: A lot of folks find that acupuncture helps alleviate pain and disability due to arthritis; many studies have found benefit from the process. Scientific evidence suggests alternative explanations for why acupuncture may offer pain relief. There's a whole lot of research that states when we place an acupuncture needle into the body, several physiological mechanisms occur. A needle placed at a specific point sets off a series of events, making a signal that flows along the spinal cord to the brain, triggering a release of neurotransmitters called endorphins and enkephalins, which scientists believe reduce the feeling of pain. Research also indicates that adding an acupuncture needle induces the production of cortisol, a hormone that helps control inflammation. Acupuncture may stimulate the activity of additional pain-relieving compounds in the body too. Research shows patients receiving real acupuncture felt significantly less pain and served better compared to their counterparts who received sham acupuncture. Several trials reveal acupuncture to be useful for many people with gout.

- Chiropractic: Chiropractic therapy will not help with osteoarthritis. But it's useful for treating the muscle spasms that often accompany the problem. As an example, if you've got acute lower back pain, chiropractic manipulation may break up the muscle strain and scar tissue, relieving the pain. Heat and cold treatments may also be useful for relieving those muscle spasms, which are not only painful but can interfere with sleep.

- Ayurveda: Ayurveda is an ancient medicine system that originated in India. It utilizes nourishment, exercise, and meditation together to promote good health. Mixing certain nutrients and other nutritional supplements with contemporary medicine might be beneficial for those who have arthritis. Ayurvedic treatments for RA depend on which diagnostic instructions the practitioner uses. As an example, those who exercise from the guidelines "Madhava Nidana" believe that imbalances in the intestine and inflammatory chemicals cause RA. The "Ashtanga Hridaya" practitioners believe that RA is caused by poor dietary and lifestyle habits that cause inflammation within the body. Both approaches use supplements, herbs, dietary changes, and exercise to help relieve RA symptoms.

- Glucosamine

There's some evidence that indicates that glucosamine alleviates arthritis pain, but the sort of glucosamine matters.

- Capsaicin cream

Capsaicin cream may also relieve osteoarthritis pain, and it is available without a prescription. It is made from the material that gives chili peppers their heat.

- Electricity or Electro-Acupuncture

Electric energy can be used to help alleviate pain and swelling in arthritic joints in a few different ways. Physical therapists often employ transcutaneous electrostimulation, or TENS, which involves placing electrodes around the affected joint and delivering electromagnetic pulses through the skin.

And there is electroacupuncture, where the supplier uses needles in acupuncture points, which are connected to electrodes to pass an electrical charge through the acupuncture needles. There is some evidence that both approaches can help provide at least short-term pain relief and ease joint stiffness.

- Bodywork can be calming and is thought to enhance and restore chemical balance in the body. A massage with rosemary and chamomile, or soaking in a warm tub with these vital oils, can provide extra relief. Stiff joints might also be loosened up with a warm sesame oil massage, followed by a hot shower to further warm the oil and permit entry into the pores.

- Acupressure and acupuncture have also been used for pain; work on the stress points should be done daily in conjunction with other therapies.


See: Relief with Rheumatoid Arthritis with Medical Qigong

Can you prevent Arthritis?

If you have a family history of arthritis, you are likely to develop the disease. However, you can still prevent the advent of the disease by maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercises, not smoking, reducing sugar intake in your diet and avoiding excessive alcohol intake. Avoiding physical damage like sports injuries by use of safety equipment, and playing safely can also prevent the onset of osteoarthritis at a later stage (Arthritis Foundation).

See: Yoga treatment for Arthritis pain

Science & Research for arthritis pain

In a well-reviewed paper, the authors researched all existing data that showed the effect of Yoga on arthritis. They concluded that Yoga reduced inflammation and joint pain in most of the studies and even increased the grip strength, along with improving self-efficacy and mental health of the patients (Haaz and Bartlett).

 In a 2012 study, researchers evaluated clinical trials on 21 complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to determine if they help the pain and disability related to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), fibromyalgia and low back pain. ). (Gareth Jones et al, 2012) Other forms of arthritis and related diseases were not included in the analysis. Of the remedies included in the studies, they rated massage, acupuncture, yoga and tai chi most effective. This did not imply that other therapies were not effective, merely that these five listed were the most effective. 

See: Functional Medicine For Arthritis

References

1. Arthritis Foundation. How to prevent arthritis. Accessed on 14th Nov 2015 from:

http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/arthritis-prevention.php

2. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. Arthritis. Accessed on 14th Nov 2015 from:

http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/national-statistics.html

3. Haaz S, Bartlett SJ. 2011. Yoga for arthritis: a scoping review. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America, 37(1), 33-46.

4. Mayo Clinic. 2014. Arthritis. Accessed on 14th Nov 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/basics/symptoms/con-20034095

5. CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/

6. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350772

7. PUBMED: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687850/

8. Arthritis.org Blog: blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/proven-natural-treatments-arthritis/

9. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

See: Arthritis Diet Plan To Relieve Symptoms

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