HOW TO HELP ARTHRITIS PAIN
An estimated 50 million U.S. adults (about 1 of 5) report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The lifetime risk of developing knee osteoarthritis that causes pain is 45%. Researchers estimate that 57% of people who have had a knee injury and 60% of people who are obese will develop osteoarthritis. Among U.S. adults with arthritis, nearly half (47%) have at least one other disease or condition. In addition, more than half of adults with heart disease (57%) or diabetes (52%) and more than one-third with high blood pressure (44%) or obesity (36%) also have arthritis. Cherry Picked from the CDC's website (Arthritis: Meeting the Challenge of Living Well At A Glance 2013)
Even though there are nearly 200 different kinds of arthritis, we are going to discuss the most common --- Osteoarthritis, aka DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS (or DJD) as opposed to Systemic Arthritis (things like RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS). Bear in mind that for the most part, what I am going to show you will help (not cure, but help) virtually all forms of arthritis. Here are some simple rules to follow when trying to solve your Arthritis problem.
- THINK SYSTEMICALLY: This means that you cannot simply think in terms of, "GEE MY KNEE HURTS". You have to think of solving your problem in terms of your whole body. If the treatment you receive is solely focused on the local area(s) of pain, I promise that the boat will be missed as far as long-term relief is concerned. Allow me to give you an example. I do a lot of work with folks who have various kinds of TENDINOSIS. Because I receive a steady barrage of "CAN YOU HELP ME?" emails concerning Tendinosis, I wrote THIS POST for Tendinosis.org (and then THIS POST for my own site). They should help you understand my point.
- UNDERSTAND INFLAMMATION: Although I touched on this earlier, if you do not understand what INFLAMMATION is (not to mention its relationship to both FIBROSIS / SCAR TISSUE and DEGENERATION / DETERIORATION, you will be hard-pressed to help yourself. As crazy as it sounds, I don't find one in one thousand people who have any sort of idea what Inflammation really is (even though most think that they do) or that it is the NUMBER ONE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH in America. And for some strange reason, doctors seem to be keeping this information to themselves.
- UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL DRIVERS OF INFLAMMATION: The things that drive Inflammation can be anything from food sensitivities (GLUTEN is a biggie), to BLACK MOLD, to PARASITES, to Metal Toxicity (lead, MERCURY, ALUMINUM), to EMF's, to Chemical Toxicity, to STRESS, to LEAKY WHATEVER SYNDROME, to who-knows-what else. As you can see, the list is fairly extensive.
- EAT A DIET BASED ON WHOLE FOODS: A WHOLE FOOD diet is a wonderful starting point as far as helping people with Arthritis. I would, however, suggest that you need to go beyond that.
- GO PALEO: I have quite a bit of material on the PALEO DIET on my website. If you want to read a short post on why Paleo is generally considered the best way for chronically ill people to eat, HERE is the (very short) post. Bottom line; a Paleo Diet cuts potentially reactive foods out of the diet.
- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR: UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR is being tied to virtually every single health problem under the sun --- even in the absence of DIABETES. This is partly because sugar itself is massively inflammatory (HERE). I hate to break it to those of you with a sweet tooth, but if you skip this essential part of the program, you will shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to helping yourself with Arthritis.
- STAY AWAY FROM FOOD ADDITIVES, PRESERVATIVES, AND EXCITOTOXINS: These things can all drive Inflammation. Furthermore, excitotoxins (MSG and ASPARTAME) stimulate pain pathways. For those of you struggling with Arthritis, this can be a deal breaker. Click on the links to learn more.
- AVOID TRANS FATS LIKE THE PLAGUE: Do not listen to those so-called 'experts' who would lump saturated fat (like that found in red meat) with Trans Fats (HERE). TRANS FATS are a different animal altogether, and one of the single most inflammatory substances you can put in your mouth. The difference between Trans Fats and other inflammatory substances is that when you eat Trans Fats, they get incorporated into your cell membranes. This leads to a whole array of health problems including CHRONIC PAIN, DIABETES, as well as many others. The real kicker is that these man-made fats have a half-life of about 50 days. This means that three months after your moment of weakness, 25% of the Trans Fats from those Oreos you binged on is still a part of your cells. If you simply Google Trans Fats Chronic Pain, you'll see what I mean (almost 100,000 hits).
- DRINK PLENTY OF WATER: I should not have to say it at this point, but water that is free of HALIDES is critical for good health. There really is no substitute for lubricating your joints. Not coffee. Not tea. And certainly not SODA or DIET SODA. Water and lots of VEGETABLES to alkalize your body (HERE). Besides being an inflammatory condition, arthritis is likewise an acidic condition.
- EXERCISE, STRETCH, MOVE: There is an old saying in the field of physical medicine and rehab that says, "Motion is Lotion". Likewise, we have all heard the old saying, "Use it or lose it". These are more true than most people have any idea. In fact, one of the main culprits in DEGENERATIVE OSTEOARTHRITIS is loss of normal joint motion. Figure out a way that you can move, stretch, and exercise, and do it. HERE is a great starting point for some of you (modify and simplify it).
- COLD LASER, CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS, AND TISSUE REMODELING: Although this is not something you'll be able to do by yourself, these three things are huge in coping with the Chronic Pain of Arthritis. CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS and SCAR TISSUE REMODELING help to restore motion once the affected joint is free of FASCIAL ADHESIONS and TENDINOSIS. The COLD LASER is the icing on the cake because it has the ability to penetrate deep into the tissue to provide a boost of ATP (cellular energy) for helping with tissue repair, healing, and regeneration.
- FIX YOUR GUT: Anytime we talk about INFLAMMATORY CONDITIONS or anything to do with the Immune System (yes; many kinds of Arthritis are AUTOIMMUNE), you have to be thinking about GUT HEALTH. Fully 80% of your entire Immune System is found in your Gut (HERE). There is a strong possibility that failing to address this one key issue could be sabotaging your entire health and causing or at least contributing to your Arthritis pain. For more information, read what Dr. Oz had to say about LEAKY GUT SYNDROME.
- TAKE THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS: While this is important, it is never a substitute for a clean, healthy diet. Many people want to take supplements and then eat whatever they please. Sorry, but it just doesn't work like this. On the other hand, there are some supplements that I would highly recommend if you have Arthritis. Unless you live in Alaska and are living on wild salmon, you need to take PGFO. There are also some good joint formulas out there with Glucosamine, MSM, as well as anti-inflammatory herbs like TUMERIC, Circumin, Ginger, Boswellia, Bromelain, Berry extracts, etc, etc, etc. Raw, unpasteurized, Apple Cider Vinegar is also a wonderful supplement that helps to maintain the STOMACH ACID, while keeping the rest of the body alkali.
- GET TO YOUR OPTIMAL WEIGHT: I hated to include this here. Unfortunately, DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS --- by far America's number one form of Arthritis ---- is intimately related to OBESITY. Google "Arthritis Obesity" and you'll find enough material to keep you reading for decades (well over 2 million hits). Suffice it to say that every additional pound you carry puts that much more mechanical stress on your joints --- particularly your spine, knees, hips, and feet / ankles. If you are serious about losing weight, HERE is how I would recommend you go about doing it (after, of course, you have checked to make sure it's OK with your doctor).
As you can see from the things on this list, you cannot always trust your doctor to really 'help' you with Arthritis. Oh sure, they can prescribe you a bunch of anti-inflammatory and pain medications (HERE). But these are never beneficial for the long haul, and they always carry a host of serious side effects. And as for surgery for arthritis, read THIS and THIS before even thinking about it. Knowledge is power. Once you understand what Inflammation is, you can begin to use your knowledge to help yourself squelch it. Hang in there because it gets easier the longer you do it!