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 - Infections such as influenza, streptococcal throat infections, staphylococcal bone infections or venereal disease can trigger an inflammatory arthritis.
Spondylitis is the term used when arthritis affects the joints in the spine.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a common autoimmune disease where the joints are under attack from the immune system. There is also a type of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis known as Still's Disease that affects girls between the ages of two and five.
Psoriasis can also attack the joints leading to severe autoimmune arthritis.
What causes and contributes to arthritis?
- Incorrect diet with an excess of processed foods, alcohol, sugar, gluten, dairy products and a lack of raw vegetables and fruits.
- Dehydration due to excess consumption of 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 weight bearing joints.
- Lack of exercise and reduced fitness.
- Auto-immune diseases such as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, etc.
- Excess uric acid can cause gouty arthritis
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 Book". The Liver Cleansing Diet is an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Avoid gluten. 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-acids. 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 and 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 reduced, 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 daily carbohydrate intake to help you burn fat.
- Exercise is vital to improve joint mobility. Weight bearing exercise can aggravate the pain, therefore, more suitable forms of exercise include; swimming, an exercise bike, Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. Hydrotherapy and massage may also be very beneficial. Regular physiotherapy treatments can help and the physiotherapist can give you specific advice about muscle building and stretching exercises, as well as supportive joint splints and strapping. Acupuncture, low-level laser light therapy 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.
- An inversion table can be very helpful for back pain associated with disc protrusions and spurs; purchase one for home use
- 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.
- Bone broth is excellent for arthritis.
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 which can inflame the joints.
The Celery Balancer juice recipe in my book "Raw Juices Can Save Your Life" will reduce acidity and inflammation in the joints. It is helpful for all types of arthritis and especially gouty arthritis.
- 4 sticks of celery
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 green apples, skin on
- 7 oz (200 g alfalfa sprouts - must be fresh)
- 1/2 cucumber, skin on
- 1/2 to 1 clove garlic (optional)
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) fresh ginger
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh mint
- Wash all ingredients, trim, chop, and put through juicer.
Another appropriate juice recipe found in my book "Raw Juices Can Save Your Life" is the Pain-eze Juice.
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) fresh ginger
- 1/4 pineapple
- 1 green apple, skin on
- 1/2 Lebanese cucumber or similar amount of any green cucumber
- 1/4 grapefruit*
* May not be suitable if citrus aggravates your particular condition, or if you suffer from a salicylate sensitivity.
- Remove dry rough pieces of skin from pineapple but retain as much as you can.
- Wash, trim and chop all ingredients and put through juicer.
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, they can be damaging to the liver and gut if overused. 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. Medical cannabis can offer excellent and safe pain relief.
For advanced joint degeneration, orthopaedic surgery may become necessary, such as prosthetic joint replacement of hips and knees. Stem cell therapy and Plasma Rich Platelet (PRP) injections into the joints can work well in osteoarthritis.
Recommended supplements for arthritis
- Fish Oil
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 effect.
- Bone Build
Take 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. Reduces bone loss.
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 debris inside the joints, thereby improving joint mobility and reducing swelling. Excellent for reducing spurs and bursitis.
- MSM Plus Vitamin C
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.
- Joint EZE
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. Helps to build more cartilage inside the joints.
- Other supplements to reduce pain include Selenium, Magnesium, Turmeric and Vitamin D3.
- CBD oil can also be helpful for nocturnal pain caused by arthritis.