Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Symptoms may include; stiffness, pain, swelling and deformity of the joint. General aches and pains are often all referred to as “arthritis”. There are many types of arthritis, however the two most common types are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis involves a degeneration of the joints with a gradual breakdown of the bone and cartilage. As the cartilage erodes, the joint surfaces become roughened and irregular, and the joint space narrows. There may be crackling noises in the joints, as the rough surfaces of the bones rub against each other. Normal cartilage is composed of a matrix of collagen fibers stuffed with special molecules (proteoglycans) that attract water and thereby maintain a positive pressure within the structure. The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are those in the neck, lower back, hips, knees, base of the thumb, and the last joint in the fingers.
Post menopausal arthritis mainly affects the joints in the fingers . It is characterized by bony knobs visible on the fingers. Often small lumps will occur on either side of the joint. This is not a destructive disease but can be painful.
Infectious arthritis is another type – Illnesses such as influenza or throat infections or venereal disease can trigger an inflammatory arthritis which is autoimmune in origin.
Spondylitis is the term used when arthritis affects the joints in the spine.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – see Autoimmune Disease – is the most common autoimmune disease where the joints are under attack. There is also a type of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis known as Still’s Disease that affects girls between the ages of two and five.
What causes and contributes to arthritis?
- Incorrect diet with an excess of processed foods, alcohol, gluten, dairy products and a lack of raw vegetables and fruits.
- Dehydration due to excess consumption of sweet soft drinks and/or a deficiency of water.
- Trauma to joints from sports injuries or accidents.
- Excess weight, which leads to premature wear and tear on the joints.
- Lack of exercise and reduced fitness.
- Auto-immune diseases such as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc.
Diet, raw juices and exercise tips to help arthritis sufferers
Your diet and lifestyle has a profound effect upon any chronic illness, especially arthritis and osteoporosis. If you are dependent upon anti-inflammatory drugs and/or immuno-suppressant drugs, the use of the dietary and lifestyle strategies below will still be most beneficial for your symptoms.
- Follow , The Liver Cleansing Diet is an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Avoid all gluten and dairy products. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt and many processed foods.
- Avoid – refined sugars, white flour, preserved and processed foods, including preserved meats, and deep fried foods.
- Avoid hydrogenated oils and trans-fatty-acid. Check food labels to see if the list of ingredients contains hydrogenated oils.
- Drink one to two liters of water daily to help flush uric acid out through the kidneys and improve circulation of blood to the joints.
- Reduce sugar, coffee, alcohol which increases the production of acid in the body. Uric acid can deposit in the joints and cause joint inflammation.
- Consider a trial of an exclusion diet; this should eliminate the nightshade family (namely tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, capsicum and tobacco). It is theorized that the solanum alkaloids found in these foods, when consumed over a long period, trigger inflammatory joint degeneration. Similarly, citrus fruits may cause joint swelling in some people and should therefore be avoided, although others find they can tolerate them well; thus trial and error is required.
- Try to maintain a normal body weight. If you are overweight try to begin a program to lose weight. Arthritis is worse in overweight people due to the extra strain placed on the joints. Reduce your carbohydrates daily to help you burn fat. See book for this diet.
- Exercise is vital to improve joint mobility. Weight bearing exercise can aggravate the pain therefore more suitable forms of exercise include; swimming, yoga, tai chi and pilates. Hydrotherpy and massage may also be beneficial. Regular physiotherapy treatments can help and the physiotherapist can give you specific advice about muscle building and stretching exercises. Acupuncture and ultrasound can provide effective pain relief, as can the use of local heat in the form of hot showers or baths or a hot/cold pack.
- Include essential fatty acids (EFA’s) in your diet. Eat deep sea cold water fish, 3 – 5 times per week or take fish oil capsules. Other helpful foods include; raw unsalted nuts and seeds, olive oil and avocados.
Raw juices are an incredibly powerful healing tool and can improve the function of the liver, bowels and kidneys. This increases the elimination of toxins and waste products from the skin. Appropriate juice recipes can be found in the book.
Recommended daily juices for arthritis are:
Celery Balancer on page 49- This juice will reduce acidity and inflammation in the joints. It is helpful for all types of arthritis and especially gouty arthritis.
Pain-eze Juice on page 49
If you find that the juice is too strong on your stomach, you may dilute with water or add more apple or celery to modify the taste.
Orthodox Medical Treatment
Simple analgesics like paracetamol, aspirin and codeine may be used to relieve pain. However, the most frequently used medications for Osteoarthritis belong to a class called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These include drugs such as indomethacin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, piroxicam and ketoprofen. They work by blocking the production and action of prostaglandins and are usually quite effective. These drugs can cause significant problems affecting the stomach, intestines, heart and kidneys. A significant advance has been the development of a class of anti-inflammatory drugs called COX-2 specific inhibitors, such as celecoxib. These have the same sort of pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects as the NSAIDs, but with a significant reduction in the risk of gastro-intestinal side effects. However, it is recommended that you try a healthy diet, raw juicing and supplements before resorting to any of these drugs, as they may increase the risk of heart disease. For advanced joint degeneration, orthopaedic surgery may become necessary, such as prosthetic joint replacement of hips and knees.
Take 2 capsules before every meal, some people may need three capsules before every meal. If you do not like capsules, liquid fish oil can be taken as an alternative. The Omega 3 EFAs exert an anti-inflammatory efffect.
Take 2 – 3 capsules daily with food – this combination assists in the reduction of pain, inflammation and swelling associated with arthritis; it also improves stiffness associated with arthritis.
Take 1 to 2 capsules twice daily half an hour before food. This powerful natural enzyme reduces inflammation in the body and helps to clean up cellular debris, thereby improving joint mobility and reducing swelling.
Take 1/2 teaspoon twice daily with water or juice. MSM stands for methyl-sulfonyl-methane, which provides the chemical links needed for collagen synthesis and is an essential component of chondroitin and glucosamine sulphate, which are needed to form joint cartilage and integrity. MSM is highly bioavailable, entering all the tissues within 24 hours of oral ingestion.
Take 1 -2 capsules, two times daily with food. This formula contains many effective herbs to reduce joint and muscle pain including Sea Cucumber, which is an added source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate.