According to the Arthritis Foundation, the definition is: “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. Nearly 53 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older”.
For all that experience the pain of arthritis, they are familiar with the typical symptoms, however, they can actually come and go and range from mild to severe. Some of the common symptoms can be pain, swelling and stiffness in joints that can maintain at the same level for years and then get progressively worse over time. Severe arthritis can become chronic, causing an inability for walking, climbing stairs and other daily activities. Because arthritis can cause joint damage that is permanent, the symptoms that are most visible are knobby finger joints, however the deeper level of damage must be viewed in X-rays. Another key thing to note is that arthritis has the ability to affect the eyes, heart, kidneys, lungs and skin as well as the body joints.
Some of the common causes of general arthritis are contributed to when individuals do not maintain a healthy body weight or do repetitive movements. There are many types of arthritis including: Inflammatory, infectious, and metabolic. It is important to have any arthritis condition correctly diagnosed prior to considering any treatment. Each type of arthritis brings a different treatment modality. Because of the common condition, there are many prescription medications that a physician may prescribe. These medications may cause harsh side effects, often creating other medical conditions while treating the arthritis itself. Natural health practitioners do recommend any of the following treatments:
Weight loss is an initial suggestion as the reduction of weight will remove the pressure that is being caused in the joints that are rubbing against each other. Each pound that is lost will reduce four pounds of joint pressure.
Low impact physical activity such as swimming, walking or riding a bicycle can help in strengthening the muscles.
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have shown some positive results in research and study trials, while others have demonstrated little in the way of efficacy. The supplements are tolerated well and the chondroitin sulfate has been shown to slow the progress of arthritis but does not help to eliminate the symptoms.
Supplements that have anti-inflammatory properties such as fish oil, concentrated ginger or rose hip have been reported in positive ways for reduction of symptoms and pain of arthritis, however, the studies are limited and more are needed prior to recommending.
Capsaicin is the natural substance found in chili peppers and gives it the ‘hot’ taste. Topical creams and lotions that contain capsaicin address the nerve endings of the pain transmitting and impulse chemicals that are called “substance P” as well as calcitonin gene-related proteins. This results in the reduction of pain symptoms that are associated with arthritis.
Always confer with a primary care physician prior to making any changes in lifestyle, including the addition of supplements, vitamins or any OTC product.