Understanding Arthritis

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Here is a condition I regularly see in the clinic. And no patient I have ever worked with has EVER told me about the most important contributing factor, and the only way to both treat and cure it.

What is this magical thing that patients don’t know about, and no so called ‘specialist’ ever mentions????

NUTRITION!

No you say? That cannot be right?

Let’s have a look at what Arthritis actually is…

The word articulation means a joint, or a joining. If you are articulate, you are good at putting things together, ie words.

Hence, another name for body articulations is joints, as they join different parts of the body.

Itis is a general term in medicine and Anatomy which always means inflammation i.e.

  • Gastritis (inflammation of the gastric area)
  • Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses)
  • Pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat)
  • Arthritis (inflammation of joints)

This is an important concept and needs to be clearly understood, as treating the inflammation is the key to reducing symptoms and curing this condition, and why it is so badly done in general.

Left Knee inflammation

Arthritis is strongly linked to inflammation. There are five main signs on inflammation:-

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Heat
  • Swelling
  • Loss of function (only in extreme cases is this present)

One or more of these are always present with Arthritis.

There are also two main types of Arthritis, Rheumatoid and Osteo Arthritis. Several other types exist such as Psoriatic Arthritis, but discussions on this are beyond the scope of this paper. The treatment principles for all types are still the same.

  • Rheumatoid – is thought to be joint inflammation via the immune system attacking the joints, which may or may not be correct. Another theory if that the body does not ‘attack itself’, instead a virus is present and hiding in the joints, and your immune system is attacking the virus, not the joints. Any joints may be affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Osteo – Is generally seen in the larger joints, particularly the knee, hips and shoulder joints. It is usually seen in older people whose joints suffer from wear and tear, and from a less than ideal diet, especially acidity.

Treatment of Arthritis

Treatment principles for this are very simple;

  • Stop putting inflammatory mediators into the body.
  • Reduce inflammation and you reduce pain, and improve movement.
  • Consume an anti-inflammatory diet so the body can repair itself.

Nightshades

These are a class of plants that promote inflammation in some people, not all. If these affect you they should be avoided, or at least severely reduced, and include;

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes (less so sweet potato)
  • Eggplants
  • Capsicum
  • Chilli

Try and eliminate these foods in your diet for 1 week and see if it makes a difference. It is worth being aware of this at least.

Capsicum/Paprika


Tomatoes


Chilli


Other foods that are strong pro-inflammatory mediators I get patients to reduce always are;

  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods

Now you know what to avoid and reduce, let’s look at what can help reduce inflammation and heal the body.

My two favorite culinary herbs are Turmeric and Dandelion. Both are powerful anti-inflammatory and both can be consumed regularly in the diet. Some others include Ginger and all Green Leafy Vegetables.

  • Turmeric is the king of all anti-inflammatory herbs and can be used raw, or as a powder. You should always add Black Pepper when cooking with turmeric, as it reacts chemically and dramatically increases how much you absorb into cells. I usually prescribe ½ teaspoon of organic turmeric powder, three times a week in cooked foods, with a good grind of black pepper.
Turmeric in raw and powdered form (add black pepper!)

Dandelion is an excellent medicine, known as Pu Gong Yin in Chinese Herbalism, and one of the main Heat Clearing herbs used in many formulas (this means anti-inflammatory).

This bitter leafy green herb has excellent anti-microbial actions, and is extremely beneficial for Liver issues and Reflux, as well as Arthritis.

The leaves can be easily added to salads and mixed with other bitter green leaves or standard lettuce leaves.

Dandelion

Dandelion is an extremely hardy plant and grows anywhere, ironically almost everybody has it growing wild in their gardens or out the front on their footpaths, think it is just a weed and pull it out our chop it with the lawnmower…

Does that ring any bells???

If that is you stop doing it and start eating the leaves!

Dandelion has serrated green leaves, a very long tap root (the part used in Chinese medicine) and unmistakable yellow flowers. You do not need to use the root, simply pick the leaves and add to your salads.

Weight-loss

This is essential to take pressure off weight bearing joints, but is a massive subject and beyond the scope of this paper. I am also a qualified Nutritionist and help people with effective strategies for this. Contact me for more information, and look out for future articles specifically on this topic.

Acupuncture

Has an extremely long history of being used for Arthritis in general, with results backed up by modern research. Needling itself is anti-inflammatory, and is particularly useful in knee Arthritis; however any type of Arthritis is assisted with Acupuncture.

Summary

  • Stop putting inflammation into the body.
  • Start putting anti-inflammatory herbs and nutrients into the body to heal the condition from the inside.
  • Take pressure off affected joints by losing weight.
  • Seriously consider alternative therapies like Acupuncture to reduce pain and inflammation.

I hope you learned something from reading this! Contact me at the clinic if you wish to discuss your particular case, and good luck with your health and healing!


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