Monday, March 23, 2015

Is It Worth Accepting an Ancient Chinese Remedy For Arthritis Pain?

Millions of Americans suffer from arthritis; the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both of these forms, as well as more uncommon ones such as fibromyalgia, result in debilitating pain, stiffness, loss of mobility, and in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, redness, swelling in multiple joints, and tenderness of the affected joints. Arthritis can be a disabling disease, and the disability becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: moving causes pain, so the patient stops moving as much, and consequently it becomes harder and harder to move at all, resulting in a partial or total disability.

Arthritis is the disease defined by chronic joint inflammation, scarring, cartilage loss, drying up of the synovial fluids, swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and pain. Severe pain. There are currently one hundred known forms of the disease, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common. Osteoarthritis is associated with aging; the wear and tear on joints as we move gradually wears away cartilage and dries up the synovial fluid. Osteoarthritis generally occurs after age 50, but it can have an early onset if a joint is injured or suffers an infection. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder; the immune system goes haywire, and the body attacks the joint tissue as a foreign invader. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks joints bilaterally; osteoarthritis generally affects one side of the body, but rheumatoid arthritis will affect the joints in pairs. Fibromyalgia is also a form of arthritis; it is characterized by chronic, intense pain over the entire body, with muscles in continuous spasm. Fibromyalgia is also an autoimmune disorder. The causes of arthritis are not known, and there is no known cure in the Western medical world.

Ancient Chinese Medicine, or Traditional Chinese Medicine
Arthritis is not a new condition; it has existed for as long as humans, so the ancient Chinese medical practitioners developed natural treatments to both prevent it from occurring and to relieve it if a patient did develop the condition. Ancient Chinese practitioners would often develop custom therapies for patients, as arthritis can be as individual as the person suffering from arthritis, but over time they developed thirty-one common treatments very effective against the disease. Ancient Chinese Medicine, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, is based on natural plants and herbs, and on therapies such as acupuncture. Acupuncture relies on the concept of blocking or unblocking Qi. The Chinese consider the body to have energy meridians, and disease results from blood or Qi being blocked along meridians. Using needles, the Chinese practitioner blocks the flow along one meridian or set of meridians, or unblocks another meridian or set of meridians, to balance the flow of blood and Qi. Whether or not you accept the philosophy behind acupuncture, it has been proven to be effective as a treatment option.

Well, this depends on the individual involved. If a person is totally allopathic-based, he or she would most likely consider an ancient Chinese remedy to be quackery, even though there are thousands of years of effectiveness behind the therapy. If the individual is open-minded, and suffers from arthritis pain, he or she may be open to the idea. An individual committed to an alternative form of medical therapy would embrace the idea, no questions asked. Anyone suffering from arthritis joint pain should seriously consider trying arthritis remedies from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Allopathic studies have proven the effectiveness of these remedies, most specifically the remedy based on 'thunder god vine.' This remedy was compared to methotrexate, to determine which was more effective on rheumatoid arthritis. Interestingly, a combination of the two was found to be the most effective, but thunder god vine by itself was proven more effective than methotrexate alone. This is a case where integrative medicine was proven more effective than allopathic alone or alternative alone, although the alternative was more effective by itself than the allopathic.

Is it worth trying? Anyone in arthritis pain is looking for something to relieve it, preferably without a lot of unpleasant side effects. It makes sense, therefore, for the patient to look at all options available to them in the quest for relief. TCM should not be tried by an individual; it requires the knowledge of a TCM provider, much as allopathic medicine requires the assistance of a doctor. There are many treatments in both disciplines you can try on your own, but you need to be aware of drug interactions and side effects, and you will need to gain this knowledge from a certified practitioner. So the answer is yes - it is worth trying. Anything relieving pain from a chronic disease is worth a look.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Could Losing Weight Causes Arthritis Pain?

While there has been much research done regarding weight gain and the different causes of it, arthritis and weight gain tend to have a not-so-friendly relationship. This phenomenon of weight gain and arthritis is much like the chicken and the egg theory. Which comes first? Well, while research is not readily available to suggest outright that arthritis causes weight gain, there are some theories that having arthritis can lead to weight gain due to other possible risk factors.

Listed here are some of the causes of weight gain associated with arthritis:

Medications - The most commonly prescribed medications by physicians for arthritis are corticosteroids which, like all medications, have side effects. Two of the side effects of corticosteroids are weight gain and swelling of the fingers, hands, feet and the lower legs. ( So, if you see an increase of the digits on the scale while taking this type of medication that could be why.

Depression - As we know depression is a comorbidity associated with any disease process that causes pain and can lead to weight gain and rheumatoid arthritis problems as well.

Decrease in physical activity & exercise - Because of the pain that arthritis can bring, many people who suffer from arthritis tend to become less physically active which will inevitably increase weight and also add more stress to already-stressed joints.

So what is a person to do when they are faced with this challenge and is there any hope for warding off the pounds?

Listed below are some different ways to deal with weight gain associated with arthritis:

Get up and get moving! - While exercising & physical activity is the most obvious answer to weight gain, it is not always the most used by people with arthritis due to the pain that they feel is associated with doing so. Research has shown that exercising actually increases your overall cartilage and joint health which can decrease the levels of pain you may be experiencing.


Be social - Since being alone will increase your chances of becoming depressed, being around people will significantly increase your chances of feeling good. ( Social events can include anything from taking a walk in the park with a friend to visiting your local library and joining a reading club. Having someone to talk to will move you in the right direction with alleviating some of the symptoms of depression and will further reduce your chances of unplanned weight gain.

Eat clean- Here's another of the obvious things you can do to decrease your chances of weight gain. Eating a healthier diet filled with fruits and vegetables will cause your body to respond positively to them and curb cravings that you may feel. ( Eating a diet rich in nutrients that your body needs will not only help you dieting losing weight but also will make you feel better overall.

Gaining weight does not have to be inevitable for you. If you feel that you have no other outlets or have no motivation to do any of the things listed here, be sure to find support groups who can you along your journey. Remember, you're not the only person that has dealt with these issues and there are plenty of ways around gaining unplanned weight. You're encouraged to consult your physician if you have any questions concerning your health as he/she can help to further lead you in the right direction

Monday, March 16, 2015

Top Sports Person Suffering From Arthritis

There are several top sports persons who suffer from arthritis, yet still go on to achieve great successes in their careers. Kristin Armstrong, Sandy Koufax, Earl Campbell, Harry Kewell, David Wells and Dara Torres to name a few of them. Here are the celebrities and the treatments that helped to ease their arthritis symptoms.

Kristin Armstrong, Gold medal winner with osteoarthritis

Athlete Kristin Armstrong was able to display an impressive show of physical stamina as she cycled to gold medal victory...with arthritis. Armstrong also held other athletic achievements such as 3 world championship medals. diagnosed with osteoarthritis, she self treated with ice packs and anti inflammatory medications until her health care provider recommended Vioxx. Armstrong went on to compete and succeed in several cycling events that led her to achieve her national and Olympic victories in cycling.

Sandy Koufax, former baseball pitcher
Sandy Koufax one of the greatest baseball pitchers in 1964 retired with traumatic arthritis caused by the repetitive movement required of pitchers. He suffered swelling in the elbow to the extreme of turning black. A combination of prescribed drugs and ice were used to treat the condition at that time.

Earl Campbell NFL Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner
Earl Campbell's osteoarthritis of the knees does not leave him sidelined. He uses a walker but still plays golf and reports that he has gained strength from a combination of two knee replacements, regular workouts and a line of new medications to combat the arthritis. He is currently a representative for the Arthritis Foundation and is a speaker to motivate those with arthritis to seek help to improve their conditions as he has.

Harry Kewell, Australian Footballer
Harry Kewell was diagnosed with septic arthritis which was caused by a bacterial infection. This type of infection began with the infection and continued on to cause tenderness and joint pain. Urgent joint pain treatments are generally required for this type of infection which involved draining the infected fluid from around the joint to prevent more damage from occurring.

David Wells, NY Yankees left handed pitcher
David Wells suffers with a common form of arthritis known as gout. This occurs when high amounts or uric acid are present in the blood and when they leak into the bloodstream, there is a tendency for them to settle into a particular joint. They crystallize into tophi, which are condensed groupings and cause swelling, redness, warmness to the touch and pain in the joint. Prolonged episodes cause erosion to the surface of the joint which generally results in arthritis pain.

Dara Torres, Olympic swimmer with severe arthritis
Dara Torres, winner of 12 Olympic medals suffered from severe arthritis and found relief from
Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, who has won 12 medals in five Olympic games, including 3 silver medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, has recently undergone a cutting edge procedure on her knee to repair severe arthritis. She suffered chondral injury which does not spontaneously heal. Autologous chondrocyte implantation is the procedure that improved flexibility for her as it resulted in the growth of cartilage cells and bring relief and healing to the arthritis in her knee. There are two additional procedures routinely used to address this issue as well. They include microfracture and oseochondral autograft. Torres' case has shown that there is effective help available to aid in the re-growth of cartilage cells.

There are many top sports persons who have endured the symptoms of arthritis joint pain. Many of them have shown that with proper treatment, there are remedies available that can bring a significant relief to not only the pain and discomfort, but also an improvement in the condition by addressing the underlying causes. There are effective treatments available for arthritis. While some of them were able to go on to achieve more sports victories, others were forced to retire from their respective sports. Those who seemed to be the most successful at recovering some of their mobility were those with positive attitudes who sought treatment as early as possible. Early treatment can help to lessen the damage that is done to the joints by degenerative arthritis. It can also provide effective ways to reduce the pain and other symptoms that are associated with arthritis.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Best Treatment Osteoarthritis and Knee Replacement

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that attacks the knee cartilage and it can get so bad that the actual knee joint needs to be replaced with a prosthesis. Osteoarthritis and knee replacement surgery do seem to go hand in hand as a working treatment to fix the knee that has been disrupted by this form of fierce and attacking arthritis.

What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
Joint replacement is something that does involve surgery. This is because surgery is what is required to replace the ends of bones that are a part of a damaged joint. The surgery is needed to help make new joint surfaces to replace the badly damaged ones. Knee replacement surgery does involve creating new joint surfaces for the damaged thigh and lower shin bones. The entire kneecap is also capped with an artificial surface as is the leg bones. These artificial surfaces are all lined with both metal and plastic. All knee joint components are securely attached to the bones with cement. Knee replacement surgery completely removes all damaged cartilage and replaces it with new joint surfaces in a step by step process.

Does Taking Antibiotics Before And After Knee Surgery Reduce The Chances Of Any Infection?
The answer to this question is a definite yes. This is because infection can occur with this kind of new joint replacement surgery, as it is, the very same with other types of new joint replacement surgery. Doctors issue these antibiotics before and after surgery in order to lessen the chances of any infection happening. This is especially true with patients who have medical conditions such as diabetes for instance. Taking the antibiotics can help to reduce the chances of patients with prior medical problems or aren't in tremendous overall good health of getting an infection not long after knee joint replacment surgery.

Are There Risks Of Blood Clots Associated With Knee Replacement Surgery?
Right after surgery of this type, patients are protected against several things, and one of them is the reality of them getting a blood clot of some sort. This is because this kine of joint replacement surgery does have a risk of patients developing a complication such as this is. This is why immediately after surgery, patients are given a medicine to prevent blood clots, in addition to, medicines for controlling pain as a result of the knee replacement surgery. There will also be a drain present on the bandaged up knee to collect fluids and prevent them from building up around the new knee joint. There may also be a compression pump or a compression stocking on your leg. What these devices do is to squeeze the leg and keep the blood circulating. This is done to help prevent blood clots from taking place.

What is a CPM Machine And What Does It Do For You After Knee Replacement Surgery?
There are some surgeons who do want their knee replacement patients to spend some time in a CPM machine. What is a CPM machine? A CPM machine is a passive motion machine and what it does it is to make sure to keep the patient's knee flexible. This machine contains a special cradle for the patient's leg and it will be fitted to go along with one's leg length and the joint position itself. A patient may have a CPM attached to their knee upon waking up from surgery. What the machine does specifically is to slowly bend the knee and straigthen it out. The amount that it does bend the knee of the patient is something that is totally adjustable.

Do People That Have Knee Replacement Surgery Start To Walk The Next Day?
Most people who do have total knee replacement surgeries done are up and walking on the same day of surgery or the very next day. Medical professionals don't believe in letting patients remain in bed very long with this kind of surgery, as they do need to get up and move around, and also start therapy to be able to walk and use their leg with the new knee prosthesis. Patients who have had this knee replacement surgery can either use a walker or walk with crutches. Some patients can put weight down on the knee if it is comfortable. A physical therapist works with knee surgery patients to help him or her bend and straigthen out their knee. They will also employ the use of simple exercises to strengthen leg muscles. Rehab therapy after a knee surgery can be intensive. This is because patients do have to learn to bend their knee at at least a 90 degree angle to be able to do daily activities such as walking and stuff. The length of physical therapy after surgery depends on the recovery of the patient and how he or she is faring after the surgery is done.

When a person has knee replacement due to the presence of arthritis joint pain. Nine times out of ten is is the best course of treatment in that the knee won't hurt as bad any more and the damaged joint will have a whole new fix for it overall.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How to Deal with Aging Knees?

As we age, we may notice aches and pains in places we never noticed them before. Weight-bearing joints literally carry us throughout our daily lives without complaints, but as we age, wear and tear on the joints invites the onset of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, or even creaky, achy knees, is not a given; we can take care of our knees, ankles, feet and hips to keep them moving smoothly far into our later years.


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis; it strikes generally in the later years, but can have an early onset if an injury or infection occurs to a joint. Osteoarthritis happens when wear and tear on a joint causes cartilage to wear away, the joint fluid to dry up, and inflammation to occur in the tissues inside and around the joint. Pain is a great motivator, and when a joint becomes inflamed, the body adjusts to compensate. If the joint is a knee or a hip, the body changes the way it walks to keep the load off the afflicted joint. This in turn causes inflammation in the tissues outside the joint, as they bear an unaccustomed load. In a joint with little or no cartilage, bone begins to grate on bone; this hardens the bone, and also causes bone spurs to develop. This joint is ripe for osteoarthritis to begin.

What You Can Do?

There are many things you can do to take care of your joints, and the earlier you start, the better. Taking care of your joints will delay or prevent osteoarthritis from setting in; this, as Martha would say, is a good thing. Here are some of the things you can do to prevent osteoarthritis, or to care for knees showing warning signs of the disease:

Ease the Burden

If you are overweight, the best thing you can do for your joints is to lose the extra pounds. Maintaining an ideal weight is a goal you should strive for anyway, but losing even ten pounds will lighten the load on your weight-bearing joints considerably. It is estimated for every one pound of weight lost, four pounds of pressure are removed from your joints; a ten-pound weight loss equals forty pounds of pressure off your knees. So while you may not make it to your ultimate weight, you will improve your joint health for every pound you take off.

Eat Well

Most of us blew our mothers off when they told us to eat well; we were young and dumb, and they were right. The better you eat, the better your body likes it. You require calcium, magnesium, vitamin D3, vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin E to keep your joints in optimum health, and your diet is where most of it comes from. You can't get enough of certain vitamins and minerals from food, so you will have to supplement them, but a healthy diet is a good idea - period. Finding a healthy diet that works for you will be a challenge, especially with all of the conflicting information out in the world. Here's a tip: don't listen to the American Medical Association or the government. When the government first started publishing dietary guidelines, this country had an eight percent obesity rate and type II diabetes was virtually unheard of. Forty years of government guidelines later, the country now has a forty percent obesity rate, and type II diabetes is epidemic. You'd think they'd get the correlation, but they don't. Find an integrative MD who has a relationship with a natural nutritionist. A natural nutritionist will not tell you fat makes you fat, and animal protein is evil, and you should eat a high-carb diet for health. A natural nutritionist will tell you fat is necessary for your health, as is protein, and you should lose the processed carbohydrates and eat fresh, whole foods you cook yourself. A natural nutritionist will accommodate a vegetarian or vegan diet; however, if you go vegetarian or vegan, do it because you love animals, not because you think animal protein will kill you.

Keep a Positive Attitude

Being a happy person will make life a lot easier, and will keep your stress levels at a minimum. Stress is unavoidable in our lives; how we deal with it is what matters. Learning how to control your stress is a major factor in knee pain, as stress can negatively impact the stress-immunity-inflammation response system (the 'Fight or Flight' syndrome) and cause your inflammation levels to rise.


There's that dirty word again; it seems counterintuitive, but exercising a creaky, aging, complaining knee will keep it moving, and eventually stop the complaints. Keeping your flexibility and mobility are critical, especially as you age, so at least keep yourself walking briskly if nothing else. There are many exercise programs for mature and maturing adults, geared to keeping you fluid and flexible, so take advantage of them. Yoga, Tai Chi, water aerobics, or light aerobics if you're able, are all programs aimed at keeping your joints working.

Osteoarthritis is not inevitable; you can prevent it from clouding your later years by starting now on a program designed to keep you healthy, happy, flexible and mobile. The reward is more than worth the effort.