Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints. There are more than one hundred different arthritis types with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout topping the list of the most common and generally most severe forms. Typically, all forms of arthritis are characterized by pain and stiffness (especially in the morning or after exercise), swelling, tenderness, deformity, or diminished motion range. Bone growths or bone spurs may develop in the affected joints- increasing pain and decreasing mobility. You may also hear cracking or grinding noises when the joint moves. Does this sound familiar? Currently, more than 55 million Americans are suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout. Arthritis and related musculoskeletal diseases are one of the primary sources of disability in the U.S. today. Maybe, you are one of the millions struggling with arthritis from old sports injuries, physical labor, or trauma. If so, this information will allow you to consider new therapeutic options that you may not have tried up until now to improve your range of motion, flexibility, and pain level.
Arthritis and its many different types is not a modern ailment, as you probably know, it has been with us since the beginning of time. To this day, modern conventional medicine is still not clear as to what the principal etiology or underlying cause of arthritis is, or why it occurs in so many people worldwide.
Healthy Joints Versus Arthritic Joints
In healthy joints, the synovial membrane is thin, the cartilage that covers bones is smooth, and a thin layer of synovial fluid covers the bones surfaces. A problem in any of these areas can cause arthritis. Arthritis may appear suddenly or come on gradually over the years. It is different for everyone. Some people feel a sharp burning or grinding pain, while others describe the pain as a dull ache similar to a toothache. Any movement of the joint tends to hurt, although sometimes there is only stiffness. The swelling and deformity in arthritic joints can result from a thickening of the synovial fluid, enlargement of the bones, increased secretion of synovial fluid, or some combination of these factors. Let us take a closer look at the three leading forms or types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Later on, we will explore natural solutions for reducing inflammation and improving your range of motion.
Factoids on Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gout
- Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, involves the deterioration of the cartilage protecting bones’ ends. It can be caused by a sports injury, trauma, or an inherited defect in the protein that forms cartilage. More commonly, it results from the wear and tear of aging, diet, and lifestyle. Other common risk factors include advanced age, female gender, obesity, history of physical labor, high-impact sports, trauma, and family history. Osteoarthritis affects the weight-bearing joints, including the knees, hips, and back most severely. Osteoarthritis rarely develops before age 40, but it affects nearly everyone past age 60 years.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. This means the immune system is overactive. An overactive immune system can be just as harmful as a weak one. In other words, rheumatoid arthritis is a situation where self-attacks-self. In this case, the body’s immune system improperly identifies the synovial membrane as foreign. Inflammation results, damaging the cartilage and tissues around the joints. The joint spaces become narrower, and bones fuse together. This creates stiffness, swelling, redness, sometimes fever, tenderness, and, most times, deformity and crippling later on. Rheumatoid arthritis happens in people less than 40 years of age, and almost 75 percent are female. Rheumatoid arthritis can be related to emotional stress, poor nutrition, and sometimes even bacterial or other infections.
- Gout – many people do not realize that gout is an acute, inflammatory type of arthritis. It occurs most often in overweight persons and those who regularly indulge in rich foods and excess alcohol. It typically attacks the smaller joints of the feet and hands, especially the big toe. Deposits of crystallized uric acid salt in the joints cause swelling, redness, and a sensation of heat with extremely sharp excruciating pain. Approximately one million Americans suffer from gouty arthritis.
Non-Prescription Natural Alternatives For Arthritis
Through the years, high-quality natural products have proven to belong in the therapeutic space when it comes to improving the severity of arthritis and, at the same time, improving quality of life. Whether we are talking about herbal medicines, homeopathic products, nutritional supplements, or, more recently, pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil, they can reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, and promote healing. The following are some evidence-based, scientifically validated natural alternatives that I have recommended through the years with success. Remember, to buy quality products.
- Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate – this well-known combination was first used in animals and later in humans to help rebuild connective tissue and cartilage – the substance that cushions the joints.
- Omega-3 Fish Oil – No protocol for arthritis or joint inflammation should be without essential fatty acids from cold waters. Pharmaceutical-grade fish oil has been shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory and very helpful at reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling, especially in rheumatoid arthritis.
- Turmeric (Curcumin) – Curcumin is the yellow-colored spice turmeric with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is probably the single most potent of natural remedies for reducing inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.
- Vitamin C – vitamin C has many different beneficial properties but is best known for increasing collagen and providing antioxidant protection. 1,000mg daily minimum should be taken with increases as per bowel tolerance.
- Magnesium – cofactor for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, this mineral is commonly deficient in adults. It can improve muscle function and help calcium absorption into the bone matrix.
- InflamMove – this is a natural version of the prescription Celebrex, which is known as a Cox-2 inhibitor. This is the enzyme pathway responsible for pain and inflammation. By blocking this pathway, inflammation and pain are reduced.
- Collagen Factors – this product provides added collagen to help support the rebuilding of cartilage and, at the same time, provide cushioning for the joints.
- Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance whose function is to retain water to keep your tissues hydrated and joints more lubricated to avoid friction or grinding.
- Probiotics – with the proper bacterial strains of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, this provides an intestinal balance of bacteria. 70% of inflammation starts in the gut or digestive tract.
- Gluten Digestive Enzymes – this unique supplement blocks absorption of gluten, which is known to increase inflammation. It also helps to breakdown proteins, carbs, and fats into fine particles for improved nutrient utilization.
- CBD oil – while this is the newcomer to the arthritis party, it certainly should be a strong contender for anyone suffering from the inflammation and pain associated with any form of arthritis. CBD is gaining popularity, and more clinical studies show that pharmaceutical grade third-party tested and validated full-spectrum hemp is very effective at reducing inflammation. It also is helping people with anxiety associated with pain, allowing them better quality sleep.
We are all born with an innate healing system, and we are designed to live an active, physical life thanks to our strong and flexible musculoskeletal system. There is no substitute for being active and choosing exercises that you enjoy. If we become inactive as we age, bones weaken, muscles lose strength, and changes in balance and weight occur. To add to this equation, our joints are a common source of pain and inflammation. Being proactive and moving, stretching, swimming, walking, biking, and participating in resistance training for the joints can contribute to increased strength, stamina, and flexibility, resulting in less pain being elicited. You can do a lot to tune up and support your bones and muscles so that you can prevent arthritis from controlling how you live your life. Let’s get moving today!!!