- CONDITION - Arthritis
CONDITION - Arthritis
Arthritis is the failure of articular cartilage (the shiny covering over the ends of your bones).
There are two major categories of arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis—Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is due to abnormal wear and tear of the cartilage. This can be from an injury or excessive weight across your joints.
- Inflammatory—Inflammation is a disease of the immune system and affects the lining of the joint more than the cartilage. Examples of an inflammatory type of arthritis include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Gouty Arthritis.
What causes arthritis?
Osteoarthritis or wear and tear arthritis can be caused by:
- Age—The older we are, the more likely we are to develop osteoarthritis.
- Sex—Women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis.
- Injury—Trauma causing injury to the cartilage may lead to arthritis.However, athletics or exercise without injury may help people with arthritis.
- Obesity—More weight across your joint leads to more arthritis. People that are overweight have between a 2 to 3 time's higher chance of developing arthritis.
- Genetics—Only a very small percentage of people with osteoarthritis have a genetic link. However, even with a genetic link, medical treatment can provide tremendous relief of pain.
How do you diagnose arthritis?
You should visit a licensed doctor to properly diagnose arthritis. This could be a family physician or internist. However, you may also see a physician that specializes in arthritis such as a rheumatologist or orthopedic surgeon.
The key components of a good diagnosis include:
- Complete history of your conditions
- Physical examination of your joints
- X-rays of your joints with an explanation
- Laboratory tests may be needed
HEAL ARTHRITIS - 10 Step Program
We designed this Ten Step program to help our patients heal themselves. It has been used by hundreds of our patients with great success. Just follow the steps to healthier joints.
Remember to check with your physician before starting any health program.
Degenerative arthritis is the result of continual damage to the cartilage surface of your joint and your body's impaired ability to repair this damage.
This simple program is focused on:
- Reducing the continual damage to your joints.
- Enhancing your body's ability to heal itself.
STEP 1 — Commit yourself to a plan for healthy joints
- Decide – that you want to get better.
- Discard – you're old habits and myths about yourself and disease.
- Discover – your strengths and tools to reach your goals.
- Recover – your mind bodies and spirit.
- Rediscover – yourself.
Write these goals down TODAY on the inside cover of your journal or a 3 x 5 card and refer to them often.
STEP 2 — Control Your Metabolism
One extra pound of body weight means over 4,000,000 pounds on your joints each year!
Use some simple techniques to control your metabolism such as
- Reducing your simple sugar intake
- Eating full breakfasts
- Eliminating late night snacks
- Increase your pure water intake
- Enter into a behavioral modification program
Step 3 — Use Regular Daily Exercise to Reduce Joint Pain
Move them or lose them!
Simple low-impact exercises can reduce pain, improve motion, and relieve the feelings of depression associated with arthritis. Exercises that are beneficial for your joints include
- Water aerobics
- Walking on flat surfaces
- Tai chi
Avoid exercises that injure your joints such as
- Walking on uneven surfaces
- Stop and go sports such as racquetball, tennis and basketball.
Step 4 — Wear Proper Shoes
Eliminate the constant shock to your joints every time you take a step.
Shoes that are properly constructed help reduce joint reactive forces which cause shearing and pounding to your joints.
Look for a pair of shoes with a the following characteristics:
- Shock Absorbing Heel and Sole — PUSH
- Stabilizing Heel Cup — SQUEEZE
- Strong Shank — TWIST
Examples of manufactures with these characteristics include: Rockport, SAS, Mephisto, Doc Martens, New Balance.
Step 5 — Use a Brace or Shoe Wedge to Stabilize and Align Your Joints
Arthritis can cause your joints to bend and bow.
Using a simple removable wedge in your shoe can correct this, and provide even pressure across your joints. You must see your physician and have standing x-rays to determine the angle of your joints to determine which type of wedge you may need.
In addition, the use of a knee brace can provide a feeling of warmth and stability to your knee if you have knee arthritis.
Step 6 — Use the Proper Types and Amounts of Medications
Make a written list of which medications you take and why you take them.
Review this list with your doctor to SIMPLIFY your medications as much as possible. Remember that simple pain medications such as TylenolTM are just as effective for osteoarthritis as expensive and potentially harmful prescription medications. Simple over the counter analgesics creams such as AspercreamTM are also effective in reducing joint pain with limited side-effects.
Be sure to discuss all medications you are taking for your arthritis, even over-the-counter medicines, with your doctor!
Step 7 — Use Chondroprotective Agents to protect your cartilage
Chondroprotective agents are medications and supplements that protect your joints form further destruction and/or stimulate your cartilage cells to be more productive.
Recent scientific data has proven the efficacy of these vitamins and their use is now recommended by most doctors who treat arthritis.
You should only choose agents with a proven benefit and a standardized formula. The agents that have some proven benefit include glucosamine sulfate, hyluronate (SynviscTM gel injections to cushion and regenerate your joints), and doxycycline (an antibiotic used to inhibit certain enzymes that destroy your cartilage). The latter two are only available by prescription from your doctor. Other vitamins, such as MSM, may also have a protective effect on your cartilage.
Step 8 — Consider Taking Some Antioxidants and Minerals
Antioxidants are important to help reduce the damage caused to your cells by "free-radicals."
Common vitamins such as vitamin C and E have an important role in proper cartilage formation. Vitamin D is important in reducing your risk of developing arthritis and the minerals selenium and boron may also play a role in the progression of arthritis. Although you may obtain these vitamins in a well-rounded diet, it may be beneficial to look for a multivitamin enriched with these vital vitamins and minerals.
Step 9 — Reflect on Your Success and Talk This Over With Others
Recent studies have shown the benefits of using a progress journal to help reduce the intensity and frequency of their painful joints.
In addition, meditation has shown some promise in the same manner. Patients that meet with each other and discuss their progress also experience added benefits in their recovery. It may be beneficial for you to keep a written journal of your progress and share this with others including your treating physician.
Step 10: Follow-up With Your Physician on a Regular Basis
Your doctor is the best resource you have to guide you on the path to recovery.
Meeting with your physician on a regular basis has added benefits other than catching up on some outdated magazine articles in his/her lobby. Agree to meet with your physician on a regular basis to form a trusting relationship. Your progress can be monitored easily and your treatment can be custom tailored to your needs.
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