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Arthritis – Inevitability of Getting Older, or Not?

According to Dr. Robert Bingham, a specialist in the treatment of arthritis, ‘No person who is in good nutritional health develops rheumatoid or osteoarthritis’. Yet at the age of sixty, nine in every ten people have it. For all of them it means living with extreme pain and stiffness.

The occurrence of arthritis is an accumulation of stresses that eventually cause joint, bone and muscle degeneration. These stresses include poor lubrication of the joints and cartilage; hormonal imbalances such as loss of oestrogen after menopause or an underactive thyroid; infections weakening the immune system over time; allergies, most commonly wheat and dairy produce; bone strain and deformities including bad posture; bad state of mind over long periods of time; poor diet lacking in vital vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, and too many free radicals, all contribute to the onset of arthritis.

Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint, which makes movement difficult, causing swelling, redness and sometimes warmth. It can occur in any joint, but is most common beginning in the fingers, knees and hips. To understand the pain caused by arthritis, we must first understand the workings of the joints, the place where two bones meet. The bones do not actually touch – they are separated by a small space called the synovial space, this space is filled with fluid contained in a capsule of synovial membrane to allow movement. The ends of each bone are covered with smooth cartilage, which allows movement with less friction.

In Rheumatoid arthritis, the synovial membrane is inflamed creating additional tissue which causes distortion of the joints, visible from the outside. Unlike other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. This means the inflammation in the joints is caused by the body’s own immune system, which is not functioning properly.

In Osteoarthritis, the joints themselves –especially those in the fingers can swell and become deformed. Destruction of the cartilage surrounding the ends of the bones is common in osteoarthritis and small bone spurs then grow from the surface of the bone into the joint; leading to decreased mobility of the joints. One of the distinguishing characteristics associated with osteoarthritis is that the affected joint is cool and hard to touch with less inflammation than rheumatoid arthritis where the affected joint is warm and spongy. Osteoarthritis also tends to run in families and it is suggested that keeping your weight down will decrease the risk of developing it in the knee joints.

Ankylosing spondylitis is yet another type of arthritis, typically affecting the spinal column, causing pain and stiffness in the back. Arthritis can also be associated with inflammatory bowel disease and can be controlled by focusing on helping to decrease the intestinal inflammation. The cause of arthritis is generally unknown however according to specialist Dr Robert Bingham, a poor diet is the pre-requisite to such a painful disorder. Possible factors causing arthritis include food allergies; genetic susceptibility; microorganisms and gut permeability.

Modern Medicine Approach:

Orthodox treatment usually involves the use of pain killers especially salicylates such as aspirin, steroids and other anti-inflammatory diseases, physiotherapy and surgery in special cases for rheumatoid arthritis. Acetaminophen is a typical drug treatment course for osteoarthritis.

Naturopathic Nutrition Approach:

Naturopathic advice is based on nutrition in treating arthritis. This includes: incorporating an alkaline mainly vegan diet; checking for food allergies through a process of elimination by avoiding certain allergens for a month and reintegrating them overtime; avoiding the solancea family (nightshades) potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers; eliminate purines such as organ meats, red meats, alcohol, shellfish, and sardines; cutting out arachindonic foods such as meats, dairy and eggs; avoiding inflammatory in the diet such as eliminating sugar, white flour, tea, coffee, malt and white vinegars, chocolate, soft drinks, wheat and all processed foods.

As arthritis is a degenerative condition, supplementation is necessary in treating and maintaining these types of conditions these include: taking omega3’s for their anti-inflammatory properties; increasing phyto-estrogen containing foods such as soya, fennel, celery, apples, nuts, whole grains, and parsley; MSM helps joint flexibility; L-glutamine to help heal a leaky gut; Bromelain, B Complex and Curcumins. For more information on where to source high quality nutritional supplements and dosages contact us.

Making sure your diet is rich in minerals such as can be found in seeds, nuts and root vegetables; avoiding stimulants and keeping fit and subtle particularly through yoga and swimming is highly beneficial in the maintenance and prevention of all arthritis’. With complex degenerative disorders such as arthritis, the guidance of a professional Naturopath is recommended to produce results. Growing older does not have to be a pain-filled experience!

‘Your Health is in Your Hands!’

©Article written by Caroline Evans