ARTHRITIS (aka osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, wear-and tear arthritis), is the wearing out of any joint in the body (knee, elbow, finger, spine, neck, hip, back, etc). A joint is the moveable space between two bones. The natural cushioning between the bones, called cartilage, wears out and thins, making the space between the bones smaller. This leads to the bone-on-bone pain of moderate to advanced arthritis. Arthritis is hallmarked by PAIN, SWELLING (Inflammation), STIFFNESS, MUSCLE SPASM, and DECREASED MOTION IN THE JOINT.
Managing Arthritis successfully requires a multi-pronged approach.
The single most important factor in helping arthritis is gentle and progressively increasing the movement in the affected joint. Because PAIN and STIFFNESS may be a factor preventing you from wanting to move, use the dietary supplements and herbal medicines to help get the symptoms under control, see a low force Activator Methods chiropractor to improve your weight bearing and get the joints moving in their proper alignment. If the joints stay in a poor alignment, no other intervention will work as well.
Here are the 10 most important steps to living fully and painlessly with arthritis:
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- Decrease the Inflammation: Herbal Anti-Inflammatories and Enzymatic Anti-inflammatories with free radical scavengers.
Use natural, herbal and enzymatic anti-Inflammatories and that are effective and healthy for the body, rather than NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs: Heavy or long-term use of some of these medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and higher dose aspirin, can cause chronic kidney disease... according to the National Kidney Foundation), as well as potentially increasing the risk of heart disease, not to mention actually make the joints wear out faster! These natural herbal anti-inflammatories help with the PAIN and STIFFNESS, but they also help in the healing process for the inflamed joint. As with most herbal medicine, the side effects are beneficial ones (like anti-cancer, benefits for mental acuity, immune boosting).
- Decrease the muscle spasms: Herbal Anti-Spasmodic Formulas uses natural herbs to release and loosen spasmed muscles. The mineral magnesium, in the form of Magnesium Citrate, can be very low magnesium levels increase the muscle spasms around arthritic joints that are partially responsible for the STIFFNESS associated with arthritis. One can use Magnesium Glycinate if your bowels are sensitive to Magnesium Citrate causing loose stools, or use Natural Calm if you prefer magnesium that you mix in water to make a fizzy drink.
- Rebuild the cartilage cushioning: Glucosamine Sulfate or Collagen Hydrolysate or Gelatin or Bone Broth. Many studies show that glucosamine decreases the pain of arthritis in the knees. Gelatin (or the non-gelatinizing form of gelatin, collagen hydrolysate) has been used successfully for decades to decrease the pain of arthritis in joints all over the body. The absolute best source for rebuilding the cartilage is Bone Broth. If you know you won’t spend the time making bone broth, the next simplest and next most effective is the collagen hydrolysate mixed in a high fat shake (raw milk is best) or coconut milk. Remember, eating good fats don’t make you fat, eating hollow carbs do.
- Increase blood supply to the joint. Niacinamide has been shown to dramatically reduces pain of arthritis by one or more pathways: opening blood vessels deep within the skin closer to the joints, helping to repair joint surfaces, or as an anti-inflammatory. A 1996 paper from the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine showed a 29 percent improvement of joint mobility and decreased inflammation of individuals who took niacinamide in the study, while the control group experienced a 10 percent increase in symptoms. For moderate joint dysfunction and arthritic pain, take 250 mg every three hours for a total of six doses a day (1,500 mg taken over an 18-hour period). For severe joint dysfunction and arthritic pain, take 250 mg every two hours for eight doses (2,000 mg taken over a 16-hour period). It is recommended that you take niacinamide after you’ve had something to eat to avoid stomach upset. Avoid time-release niacinamide as it has been found to cause liver damage.
- Get the joint (and skeletal system) aligned properly through low force, gentle , no-crack Activator Methods Chiropractic adjusting. If the joint is not aligned properly, it will continue to wear out and normal movements will continue to stress the joint. Find a doctor on Activator.com. Yoga will do the most to help the body maintain a proper alignment. Swimming or water exercise are also good for the bodies joint alignment
- Increase the movement in the joint: YOGA, swimming or moving in the water, walking, light exercise. Don’t let PAIN and STIFFNESS stop you from moving, start slow, a little at a time, and then slowly increase as the herbal medicine and supplements help to ease the pain. If knees, ankles, hips or low back are the area of arthritis, walking in the water will decrease the impact on the joints because of the buoyancy of the water and allow you to move easier. The water also provides added resistance and benefit by strengthening as you move. A beginners Yoga class or even a chair yoga class is an excellent way to get moving, providing movement, stretching and strengthening all in one session.
- Strengthen the muscles around the joint: YOGA, swimming or moving in the water, walking, light exercise,
- Stretch the muscles around the joint: YOGA, or other stretching routines.
- Eat the right foods and avoid foods that may flare up arthritis Eat an Anti-inflammatory diet. Use Bone broth as a source of collagen and minerals. Raw milk is the highest food in MSM, known for its anti-inflammatory properties and relieving the pain of arthritis. Contact the Weston A Price Foundation for sources of Raw Milk.
- Move, Move, Move! Being sedentary increases joint dysfunction, weakens and stiffens muscles and makes it more painful when you do need to finally get up and move around.