Arthritis is a painful condition which can affect any part of the body. It is usually associated with the elderly, but can affect young people as well. There is even a form of arthritis that affects infants. Some types of arthritis are linked to lupus and psoriasis. Science is looking everywhere for a cure.
There are many kinds of arthritis but in general they fall into two major types, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common and occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to get stiff or wear away. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the membranes that surround the joints and causes extreme pain and swelling. This may be caused by a problem with the immune system. There are other kinds of arthritis that are caused by injuries or are set off by other illnesses.
Anyone with arthritis will tell you that if the pain is not too severe, it can be lessened simply by moving the affected joints. Just walking normally can make a difference. Physical therapy is often helpful even in the worst cases. This usually consists of simple exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the joints. This can also help in cases of bursitis which is a related condition affecting tendons.
Arthritis patients often find it helpful to eat lots of certain foods and stay away from others. Any food that has calcium will help. Spinach, kale, broccoli, yogurt and cottage cheese are often recommended. Celery is another source of minerals and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Protein is also important. Salmon and mackerel are good sources as are eggs. Try to get organic free-range eggs from local suppliers. Most vegetables also have some protein in them — a little known fact. Increase your fruit intake, especially blueberries, blackberries and cherries. If you’re not taking blood thinners or antibiotics, try eating more pineapple. The bromelain in pineapple prevents inflammation and swelling and is very good for your immune system. Season your food with ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, turmeric, saffron, curry and cayenne pepper. For snacks, try sunflower seeds and walnuts. Drink plenty of water.
Foods to avoid are red meats, greasy stuff and anything with a lot of phosphorus. Most doctors will tell you to cut out organ meats such as liver, processed meats, junk food and soda pop. Be careful about coffee and sugar as they can sap your vitamins and minerals. Watch out for vegetable oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Normally you want these, but they can worsen arthritis inflammation. Coconut oil should be fine. Arthritis patients are often told to cut out eggplant, potatoes and especially tomatoes. There’s no scientific evidence yet about how these affect arthritis, but it may be related to a food allergy. Obviously, you should cut out any food that seems to increase the pain or stiffness, and increase foods that seem to make you feel better.
Nutritional supplements can help to insure that you are getting all that you need to help your body rebalance and fight the disease naturally. Glucosamine and calcium-magnesium supplements are essential along with a good megavitamin. White willow bark tea, the original aspirin, is often recommended. Siberian ginseng is cited as helpful in both traditional Chinese medicine and Western herbal medicine. Ginger can be made into a tea or brewed more strongly for a poultice on aching joints. Hops are full of anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. Drink hops tea before bedtime if the pain keeps you awake. Borage seed oil and evening primrose oil both contain gamma-linolenic acid, a scientifically proven anti-inflammatory. Another good anti-inflammatory and pain reliever is black cohosh which can be taken in capsules. Angelica root is well known in Chinese medicine. It can be made into a poultice or put in your bath water. Another poultice is a paste of powdered cinnamon mixed with warm water. Drink warm water with honey and cinnamon in the morning.
Keeping a positive attitude may help in cases of arthritis. Doctors who have studied faith healing believe there is a connection between spiritual feelings and the immune system. If you have a type of arthritis that is immune system related, try meditation or seeking out pleasant, uplifting experiences. Visit a beautiful garden or park, listen to relaxing music and reduce stress in your life as much as possible.