(Article courtesy of Shirley Smith)
Arthritis pain effects approximately 50% of adults aged 65 and older. In addition to causing chronic, life-altering pain, Arthritis reduces function in the joints it affects.
‘Arthritis’ is a broad term used to refer to more than one hundred different rheumatic diseases and conditions. In every case, there is inflammation of a joint accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness. The possible causes of arthritic conditions can be many. That said, because arthritis is primarily an inflammatory disease, the treatments generally involved bringing down the inflammation. There are a few ways to do this.
Many people try to solve the problem using drugs, and drugs alone. Commonly used arthritis medications include:
- Analgesics. These medications help reduce pain, but have no effect on inflammation.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
- Biologic response modifiers.
Arthritis is a complex problem. Arthritis medications work, but it’s rare that they are able to completely stop the pain.
The Power of Foods and healthy living
I underwent 34 rounds of chemo for leukemia. Cancer isn’t something you can solve with eating healthy foods. However, I ate incredibly healthy, and exercised almost every day. The doctors were very impressed at my ability to tolerate the chemo.
Before I was diagnosed, I put myself on a major health food kick (because I knew something was wrong). I feel like it almost worked. A diet of massive amounts of anti-inflammatories wasn’t quite enough to kill cancer on its own. But, combine that with chemo, and you have a powerful combination.
Anti-inflammatory foods are also able to bring down inflammation, and help manage arthritis pain. As an example, ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib (Celebrex). Ginger also suppresses leukotrienes (inflammatory molecules) and switch off certain inflammatory genes, potentially making it more effective than conventional pain relievers. Ginger also reduces nausea and vomiting and is a proven treatment for motion sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Studies: In a 2012 in vitro study, a specialized ginger extract called Eurovita Extract 77 reduced inflammatory reactions in RA synovial cells as effectively as steroids. More info here: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/ginger.php
One of the things I learned from this process is that sometimes, you do need to call in the heavy hitters. If you have cancer, you probably should take chemo. The same login holds true for arthritis. If you have arthritis, you probably should at least try the drugs the doctors recommend. That said, I saw first-hand just how powerful food can be. While I was awaiting treatment, my blood numbers were stable. This was pretty incredible. When people have acute lymphoblastic leukemia, they generally go downhill very, very quickly. I wasn’t able to cure my cancer with ginger, and other health foods. However, I was almost able to keep it at bay. To me, this was still rather incredible. The foods I was eating where having a very significant effect on killing my leukemia.
When we added in the chemo, my cancer didn’t stand a chance. I was in remission within days. I still had to deal with 2 years of chemo, but that was just to make absolutely sure we got every last bad cell. When it comes to treating arthritis, the same applies. It’s probably a good idea to take the drugs that your doctors suggest, but don’t underestimate the power of food’s ability to help. It’s powerful medicine.
Finally, home ultrasound can also help manage arthritis pain. Ultrasound Therapy stimulates increased blood flow to affected joints. Due to their design, joints have limited blood flow – as a result, they recover from arthritis flare-ups very slowly. Unfortunately, slow recovery is not the only problem associated with limited blood flow.
Because of comparatively poor circulation waste matter can build up in joints causing extreme inflammation (which is the reason for pain) to arthritis sufferers. Fortunately, both of these problems are helped by the use of ultrasound therapy to increase circulation to the affected areas simultaneously working to heal the joint and flushing toxins and waste matter from the joints. More information about how home ultrasound machines can help manage arthritis can be found here
From my own personal history, I’ve found that some diseases (such as cancer and arthritis) can’t be cured just by eating vegetables, or yoga, meditating, or a juice cleanse. However, just because you can’t cure a cancer outright with broccoli, that doesn’t mean you should give up on broccoli. That holds true with arthritis as well. Taken together, prescription drugs, an anti-inflammatory diet, and a home ultrasound machine comprise an effective method to help manage arthritis pain.
Natural cures are very popular, and very important. Personally, I don’t think I would have survived my chemo treatments without the healing power of food. However, I think it’s important to remember that the best strategy is to use a combination of natural cures, and the best medications medical science has to offer. For me, that was a winning combination.