The word “ARTHRITIS” literally means inflammation of a joint. Actually, any pathological alteration of a joint, whether it be from severe or micro-trauma, infection, inflammation, metabolic disorder, etc., is an …ARTHRITIS.
Arthritis is often called “Everybody’s Disease”. It can and does occur at all ages–from infancy on. In fact, almost everyone, if they live long enough, will develop some arthritis.
Today many physicians realize that the usual methods for treating arthritis, especially osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, are at times shortsighted. Typically, the healing response is not enhanced and the drugs employed may in fact, may be detrimental to the patient’s long-term health. Therefore, they are all too often not in the patient’s best interest.
Osteoarthritis is the nations number one crippling disease, infrequently likened to a rusty hinge that needs to be constantly lubricated. The cost in human suffering, pain and disability is beyond measurement. In addition, the annual cost to the national economy due to arthritis in lost wages and medical bills is staggering.
Other forms of arthritis are also common, particularly rheumatoid arthritis and these too may respond to the following guidelines. Yet, I emphasize you should work with your doctor. I recognize that sometimes potent complex, pharmacotherapy will be necessary to stop an acute flare-up and prevent joint destruction. Nonetheless, we must motivate, persuade and coax you to get your life back on track. There are some guidelines to follow and only by committing to these guidelines can you help yourself alleviate pain and insure healthier joint structure.
1. Practice Good Nutrition. Stay away from fatty foods that consist mainly of sugars, starches and refined carbohydrates, all of which can worsen arthritis. A nutritious diet is low in animal fats and carbohydrates, high in fiber and includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. A vegetarian diet is often helpful, but not essential. Keeping off the extra pounds keeps further stress off of the joints.
2. Try a Selective Elimination Diet. Under a physician’s supervision, eliminating some foods occasionally may also stop a food trigger that could be aggravating your rheumatoid or other types of arthritis.
3. Exercise Regularly. Remember the old saying “use it, or lose it”? Exercise is one of the most powerful tools available to you. If you suffer from osteoarthritis, aerobic activities such as walking, stretching and swimming can help strengthen muscles and bones to compensate for weakened joints.
4. Lose Weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential. Being overweight stresses the joints, causing wear and tear that can lead to osteoarthritis.
5. Use Glucosamine Sulfate Daily. The nutritional supplement glucosamine sulfate has been scientifically and medically proven to help to rebuild cartilage. Based upon the research literature I would recommend using a stabilized form available in many health stores.
6. Take Supplements. As our soil that is used to grow our fruits and vegetables becomes more deficient, supplementation of vitamins and minerals become more important to the diet. Take a quality multi-vitamin and mineral formula.
7. Avoid Repetitive Motion. Take breaks if your job or other activities involve repetitive motion. If necessary, stay away from repetitive motion sports such as tennis and running.
8. Use Correct Biomechanics and Ergonomics. Be aware of how you walk and sit; don’t hunch your shoulders or slouch. Protect your joints when lifting or pulling by using carts or other devices equipped with wheels. Be sure your chair provides your shoulders and neck with proper support.
9. Alleviate Stress. Stress is part of life, but we all can learn to cope effectively. Take deep breathes or count to 10. Relaxation techniques such as yoga can help. A positive support group of family and friends is also helpful. Set aside time each day for the things you enjoy. It will help you to maintain a positive outlook.
10. Keep the Right Attitude. Take time every day to thing about how your life will be improved when your physical and mental health are at their best.
Remember, when it is all said and done, your body has tremendous healing and rejuvenating powers. Turning on, or enhancing these healing powers of one’s own body is the key to health.