Under 30 and Living with Early Onset Arthritis | Long-term Lifestyle and Treatment Tips

Under 30 and Living with Early Onset Arthritis | Long-term Lifestyle and Treatment Tips

Can arthritis affect younger people? Absolutely. When most people hear the word arthritis, one of the first things that may come to mind is the elderly or older adults. But while arthritis is a disease typically associated with older adults, it may also affect individuals at a much younger age.

This is why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis, as well as the following methods to treat and prevent the progression of early onset arthritis.

Ways to Treat Early Onset Arthritis:

  • Diet modifications
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Vitamins / supplements
  • Arthritis Wonder cream for pain

What is Early Onset Arthritis?

Arthritis can refer to inflammation of one or more joints, which can lead to joint pain. Arthritis typically begins to affect individuals over the age of 30. However, arthritis can develop in some individuals much earlier. When an individual begins to experience the signs and symptoms of arthritis before the age of 30, it may be referred to as early onset arthritis.

What Causes Early Onset Arthritis?

Most people suffering from stiffness and joint pain have a specific form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis. There are many factors that can cause osteoarthritis, which include genetics, metabolics, and a previous injury. Wear-and-tear can also lead to this form of early onset arthritis, when frequent and repetitive activity creates excessive strain.

Hereditary arthritis typically affects the hands, though it is possible for joint stiffness and pain to occur in other parts of the body as well. One uncommon form of hereditary osteoarthritis affects younger people under 30. In these cases, a genetic mutation affects the collagen, which is an essential part of cartilage. When signs of early onset arthritis appear, it’s wise to determine if the symptoms run in the family.

Osteoarthritis is frequently caused by changes in the metabolic processes, ranging from Alzheimer’s to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions, and it often linked to obesity. These metabolic issues such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can contribute to chronic inflammation. Obesity will also aggravate existing arthritis by adding weight strain to joints, along with causing muscle atrophy due to physical inactivity. 

Early onset arthritis can also be caused by an injury. A sports injury, car accident, or nasty fall on ice can all lead to osteoarthritis. Not every injury needs to be immediately traumatic, however. Repetition and stress can create an injury over time. For example, frequently whittling small figurines day after day could lead to chronic stiffness and pain in the hands.

Another possible contributor to the onset of arthritis can be high uric acid levels. Uric acid is a chemical produced by the human body. When uric acid levels reach a certain point for a sustained period of time, they can cause damage to specific joints. Once joint damage occurs, individuals can experience sudden bursts of pain in the affected joint. The type of arthritis caused by high uric acid levels is often referred to as gout.

What Does Early Onset Arthritis Feel Like?

Early onset arthritis may develop for many different reasons, although once it does develop it has a very specific feel. Essentially, the feel of early onset arthritis can be summed up in two words – pain and stiffness. The pain associated with early onset arthritis is often reported as a dull, burning sensation and typically occurs after movement or taking part in a strenuous activity. For example, an individual may feel pain in their shoulder after a tennis match or an individual may feel a dull, burning in their knees after a run. In the early stages of arthritis an individual may be able to overcome the pain, although as the disease progresses, the pain can become more intense and limiting to the person’s ability to take part in the activities they once enjoyed. Unfortunately, the pain associated with early onset arthritis can intensify to the point where it can even prevent an individual suffering from the disease from walking up a staircase. For that reason, it is important for individuals to recognize persistent, progressive pain and report it to their primary care physician as soon as possible.

Stiffness is also a big part of early onset arthritis. Stiffness associated with early onset arthritis may occur with or without pain. Stiffness can be felt in any of the types of joints affected by early onset arthritis and often occurs in the morning or after long periods of inactivity. Stiffness can be just as detrimental to an individual’s mobility as pain, which is why stiffness should also be reported to a primary care physician as soon as possible.

What Causes the Pain and Stiffness Associated with Early Onset Arthritis?

As arthritis progresses, it beings to break down and destroy the cartilage between bones. The cartilage in the human body, typically found in joints, acts as shock-absorbing pads. This protects the bones and prevents them from rubbing against each other during movement. Once the cartilage between bones becomes damaged to the point of where it is no longer functioning, the bones begin to rub against each other, causing the pain and stiffness associated with early onset arthritis. Unfortunately, once the cartilage between bones is further destroyed by arthritis, it can lead to progressive pain for the individual suffering from early onset arthritis, which is another reason why early detection and pain/stiffness reporting is imperative to the treatment of almost every type of arthritis.

What does early onset arthritis look like?

Along with a specific feel, arthritis may also have a specific look. Different forms of arthritis such as arthritis in fingers, arthritis in hands, and arthritis in knees can take on a very distinct appearance. In some occurrences, the appearance of arthritis can be easy to observe. For example, when arthritis affects the joints found in the fingers, it can lead to redness, swelling, joint enlargement and even physical deformities, all of which may be observed by the individual suffering from the disease. In other occurrences of arthritis, it may be much more difficult to observe the physical manifestations of the disease and the use of an x-ray or a MRI scan may be needed to view the effects of early onset arthritis. The appearance and look of arthritis is often used in the diagnostic process to help a physician determine if an individual is suffering from arthritis.

How is early onset arthritis diagnosed?

Early onset arthritis is typically diagnosed by a physician. When diagnosing early onset arthritis, a physician will use a physical exam to look for the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis which may include redness, swelling, decreased range of motion, difficulty walking, tenderness and, of course, pain and stiffness. Along with the physical exam, a physician may also employ a variety of different tests, x-rays and MRI scans to target specific parts of the body in order to aid in the diagnostic process. Once a diagnosis is made it is important for individuals to ask their physicians any questions they may have regarding arthritis and their specific diagnoses. The types of questions individuals newly diagnosed with arthritis should ask their physician may include the following.

  • What are the types of arthritis?
  • What are the types of joints affected by early onset arthritis?
  • What is inflammatory arthritis?
  • What is degenerative arthritis?
  • What is rheumatoid arthritis?
  • What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
  • What is felty syndrome?
  • How can I maintain my mobility?
  • What are the best treatment options for me?

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How to treat early onset arthritis?

When an individual receives an early onset arthritis diagnosis, it is important that they begin some form of treatment right away. Fortunately, for those diagnosed with early onset arthritis, there are many different treatment options available to help slow down the progressive effects of the disease.

Diet Modifications

Making diet modifications is often a treatment option for many diseases and early onset arthritis is no exception. Remove foods that may lead to inflammation such as bread, red meat, milk and cheese, and add foods that reduce inflammation such as green leafy vegetables, almonds, walnuts and fatty fish like salmon. This way, one can begin to manage the effects of early onset arthritis.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is another effective way to manage the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis. As previously mentioned, arthritis can lead to pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion and limited mobility. Excess weight can exasperate the aforementioned effects of early onset arthritis. Thus, by losing and maintaining a health weight, one can limit the effects early onset arthritis can have on motion and mobility.

Regular exercise is an excellent way to treat early onset arthritis. Losing weight will reduce muscle strain and lighten the load on joints and bones. Focusing on joint movement when exercising will strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints and help build healthy bones. Research indicates that most individuals should exercise 30 minute a day, five times a week. While participating in any form of exercise, individuals should pay close attention to how they feel. Any signs of excessive heart strain or progressive physical discomfort should be reported to a primary care physician.

Individuals suffering from arthritis should also be aware that a member of their healthcare professional team may recommend a specific exercise regimen depending on their arthritis diagnosis. For example, someone diagnosed with early onset rheumatoid arthritis may receive a different type of exercise regimen when compared to a older adult suffering from osteoarthritis. The different types of arthritis may require different exercise regimens to maximize results. Individuals diagnosed with arthritis should proceed with exercise regimens as directed by members of their healthcare team.

Yoga

Yoga incorporates stretching and muscle building , which can promote flexibility, movement and mobility. Therefore, yoga can be the ideal way for individuals to limit the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis. There are many different types of yoga and it is important that individuals find the right type of yoga for them in order to optimize the results of the practice.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), may be used to treat the effects of arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used alone or in combination with other treatment options. It is important to speak to your physician about the use of anti-inflammatory drugs before they are added to any treatment regimen.

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins/supplements are another treatment option for early onset arthritis. Research indicates that some vitamins/supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin and omega-3 can assist in the treatment of arthritis. However, one should speak with a physician before any vitamins/supplement is added to an early onset arthritis treatment regimen.

h4>Arthritis Wonder Cream for Pain

Products like Arthritis Wonder cream may be used to manage early onset arthritis. Arthritis Wonder cream for pain is a unique, fast acting product that can be used to relieve the signs and symptoms associated with arthritis. By simply applying a coin-sized drop of non-greasy Arthritis Wonder cream to affected areas once a day, individuals can feel relief in as little as 5 minutes and get back to the activities they enjoy. Arthritis Wonder cream for pain is FDA compliant and currently available for use.

Early onset arthritis can affect an individual before the age of 30. It can lead to inflammation, decreased range of motion and limited mobility. Simply put, early onset arthritis can dramatically affect your life, or the life of someone you care about. Fortunately, there is good news for those who suffer from the disease. Through the use of these various treatment options, individuals can find relief from the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis and live a full, active, healthy and happy life.

12 Relief Remedies for Osteoarthritis Finger Joint Pain

12 Relief Remedies for Osteoarthritis Finger Joint Pain

What Does Finger Joint Pain Mean?

For those living with any type of hand arthritis, the associated pain can be debilitating,  dramatically affecting your quality of life. Stiff, achy fingers can make it challenging to use your hands, turning even simple daily routines into frustrations. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis as of today, there are several things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and gain greater control over your life.

12 Relief Remedies for Osteoarthritis Finger Joint Pain

Here are several home remedies and medical procedures that can help treat stiff and aching fingers:

  1. Heat and Cold Therapy
  2. Splinting/Bracing
  3. Topical Pain Medications
  4. Oral Pain Medications
  5. Massage Therapy
  6. Acupressure
  7. Acupuncture
  8. Compression Gloves
  9. Diet Changes
  10. Hand Exercises
  11. Anti-Inflammatory Injections
  12. Surgery

Pain in
your fingers and knuckles may indicate you suffer from osteoarthritis. This degenerative disease can strike any joint in the body, but most commonly affects the hands and fingers. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between joints to wear down, creating inflammation. The damage occurs at a rate greater than the body’s ability to heal. This leads to stiffness and pain as the bones rub together without adequate cushion or buffer.

Symptoms of finger joint pain vary depending on the type of arthritis and the degree of cartilage wear. The discomfort associated with arthritis is often accompanied by redness and swelling of the joints. Many people experience cramping, burning, difficulty moving fingers, and a weak grip.

Sometimes the intensity of symptoms is triggered by the time of day. People with osteoarthritis often report intense finger joint pain first thing in the morning, making it challenging to complete simple, routine tasks like buttoning a coat or brewing a morning cup of coffee. Others report increased discomfort at night, which makes getting a restful night’s sleep nearly impossible. Nighttime pain is most commonly associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Controlling Finger Joint Pain – What Helps?

Heat and Cold Therapy
Heat therapy is often highly effective at relieving joint pain and improving hand flexibility. Soak your hands in a bowl of warm water to calm inflamed tendons. Warm compresses and paraffin wax treatments can also help ease achiness and discomfort. But use caution: Only engage in paraffin treatments under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Be sure to alternate between heat and cold treatments. While heat will relax muscles and tendons, ice will reduce swelling and help numb the pain. Apply ice to swollen and painful joints for up to 10 minutes to ease discomfort and inflammation.

Splinting / Bracing 

Wearing a splint or brace can give hand joints much-needed stability and support. Many people find that wearing a brace at night can prevent pain from interrupting a full night’s sleep.

Options range from smaller braces designed for individual knuckles to larger versions that stabilize the entire wrist and hand. Some versions are essentially fingerless gloves, while “sleeve” options are available for targeting specific fingers.

Depending on the pain source and severity, any of these options can be helpful in alleviating achiness and discomfort. It may be worth experimenting with various braces or sleeves in order to find out what’s most effective for your specific condition.

Topical Pain Medications 
Using a topical pain medication can alleviate finger joint pain, especially during flare-ups. One effective option for topical pain relief is Arthritis Wonder Cream, which can be applied once a day for all-day relief. The cream is massaged into the skin until completely absorbed, and will offer relief in as little as five minutes.

Oral Pain Medications
Oral pain medications can also temporarily relieve finger joint pain. For many people, over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen and naproxen are effective. However, a prescription medication may be required for more intense or prolonged symptoms.

People with osteoarthritis often take anti-inflammatory medication on a daily basis. Use caution, and be sure to consult your doctor. Taking these medications for an extended period of time can lead to stomach irritation, dizziness, headaches, and even kidney or liver failure.

NSAIDs can also lead to fluid retention, which most commonly appears as swelling of the ankles. In addition, some individuals are allergic to NSAIDs and may develop shortness of breath. Asthma sufferers are especially vulnerable to allergic reactions from NSAIDs.

Massage Therapy
Regular hand massage can improve strength and alleviate discomfort for those who experience finger joint pain. Hand massages can be performed professionally or you can give yourself a hand massage at home. In addition to relieving pain and stiffness, regular massage helps reduce levels of depression and anxiety.

Acupressure
Acupressure relieves arthritis pain in three important ways:

  1. Acupressure points allow increased energy to move through the body, which can promote healing.
  2. Through acupressure points, neurochemicals called endorphins are released which relieves pain and swelling.
  3. Acupressure releases stress and tension, increasing circulation and enabling the body to relax rather than tensely fighting the pain.

Acupuncture
There is some limited, but promising, evidence that acupuncture can help with arthritis symptoms. If you do try acupuncture, make sure your doctor can recommend a certified provider. The benefit you receive may depend on the severity of your arthritis, and how often you receive treatment.

Compression Gloves

Some people have found relief for finger joint pain with compression gloves. These gloves are designed to reduce pain and inflammation and may gradually improve mobility in your hands. If you try them, make sure they fit well – you may need to ask for help from a physician or physical therapist.

Diet Changes

An overall diet that emphasizes lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, can ward off inflammation and discomfort. Some of the best foods to add to your diet include olive oil, walnuts, avocados, leafy greens, fish, nuts, seeds and citrus fruits.

In particular, fruits and vegetables with the brightest, most concentrated colors are potent inflammation-fighters. These foods include kale, cherries, spinach and blueberries.

You can also learn to avoid several foods that may encourage inflammation and contribute to finger joint pain, such as refined sugar, trans fat, alcohol and many dairy products.

Hand Exercises

The exercises below can help strengthen the muscles surrounding hand joints, allowing for hand movements with less pain. Stretches will keep ligaments and tendons flexible, increasing the range of motion. Regular exercise will boost production of synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints and improves mobility, which in turn decreases inflammation and pain.

 Hand Exercises to Alleviate Finger Joint Pain

  • Knuckle bends: Make a claw with your hands by flexing each knuckle. Then slowly straighten each finger on the right hand and follow with the left.
  • Fists: Make a fist and then unfurl your fingers. Remember to take it slowly. Open your hand until fingers are straight. Repeat 10 times with the right hand and then with the left.
  • Thumb bends: Hold the right hand out with fingers extended. Bend your thumb toward your palm, stretching as far as you can. Hold for two seconds, then release. Repeat eight to 10 times and follow with your left hand.
  • Finger touches: Slowly touch your thumb individually to each fingertip. If you feel pain, do not force the stretch.
  • Make an “O”: Stretch out the right hand with fingers extended. Curve fingers inward, making the shape of an “O.” Hold and then straighten. You can do this whenever hands feel achy, tender or stiff.
  • Finger lift: Flatten your right hand on a stable surface, palm down, and lift each finger off the table one at a time. Hold for two seconds, and then release. Repeat for each finger and then follow with left hand.

Please note: To avoid injury, you should complete these exercises with gentle motions, and never try to stretch through pain. A physical therapist may be able to recommend additional exercises.

Anti-inflammatory Injections 
In some cases, a physician may prescribe injections if oral medications aren’t effective. The process involves injecting anti-inflammatory medicines directly into a painful joint. This can quickly ease your discomfort, and often lasts for several months.

Surgery

In rare cases, a doctor may recommend surgery if the pain doesn’t improve from diet, medications, exercises and other lifestyle changes. Surgical treatment for hand arthritis includes fusing the bones of the arthritic joint together, or reconstructing the joints. Fusion limits joint movement, reducing aching and stiffness. Reconstruction actually replaces cartilage that has deteriorated, usually with soft tissue taken from other parts of the body.

The procedure varies, depending on several factors, such as the type and progression of arthritis, the level of pain, and the patient’s overall lifestyle goals. In general, those who are more active tend to prefer fusion, while those who are more sedentary may opt for joint replacement. Please discuss all available options with your healthcare provider to make sure you understand associated risks before choosing a surgical option.

Long Term Management of Finger Joint Pain

Osteoarthritis, or any arthritis of the hand, is a progressive disease. The pain starts off slowly and worsens with time. Arthritis is one of the most common disabilities in the United States today, and many people experience this kind of discomfort.

Living with arthritis is not easy, but thankfully various therapy techniques can help manage your painful symptoms. Early detection of osteoarthritis and diligent treatment are key to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. Follow these treatments and recommendations for relief from finger joint pain, so you can concentrate on living the life you desire.

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12 Relief Remedies for Osteoarthritis Finger Joint Pain

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9 Natural Remedies for Arthritis: Tips & Tricks to Try at Home

9 Natural Remedies for Arthritis: Tips & Tricks to Try at Home

Arthritis does not discriminate. It strikes without regard for age or gender. When it invades, it attacks with a vengeance. Medical care and supervision are always the best option, but all those medical bills add up over time, and insurance only goes so far.

You don’t have to suffer helplessly from joint pain. There are several natural remedies for arthritis that you can try at home. These tips and tricks will go a long way towards bringing you joint pain relief.

Ease Joint Pain and Inflammation with These 9 Home Remedies:

  1. Music Therapy
  2. Meditation
  3. Walking Barefoot
  4. Arthritis Cream
  5. Hot/Cold Therapy
  6. Epsom Salt Bath
  7. Changing Diet
  8. Exercise
  9. Massage Therapy

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 78.4 million adults are expected to suffer from arthritis by 2040. This staggering statistic illustrates a very real problem facing millions of people around the world.

Branded “the leading cause of disability in America” by the Arthritis Foundation, this unique illness refers to joint inflammation, but it’s hardly that simple. The pain is severe and unrelenting, and while many associate “knobby fingers” with the disease, much of the damage often remains hidden below the skin in the connective tissue, perceptible only via X-ray. Though currently considered a degenerative disease, evidence suggests that new advances in scientific research and technology may be closer to finding a solution.

Arthritis can be caused by several potential factors, any combination of which can result in the perfect storm within one’s own body, turning their very bones and cartilage against them. Scientists have identified over one hundred different types of arthritis, and the more severe cases include permanent damage to major body organs such as the heart and lungs. The Mayo Clinic links arthritis to heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin damage, all in addition to the typical joint damage and disfiguration commonly associated with arthritis. Therefore, it is prudent to seek continuing care to minimize the long-term and sometimes permanent effects from the disease because at this time, there is no cure.

Most arthritis sufferers don’t know that their aches and pains can easily be avoided if one is armed with the right tools and know-how.  Through our extensive research over the years, we’ve compiled a plethora of studies and tips from the world’s top medical professionals and experts.

We’ve compiled a list of the most popular and trusted home remedies to help you find natural relief from the aches and pains associated with such common issues as osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

There’s plenty of little changes you can make to your daily routine that will infuse its natural, powerful anti-inflammatory effects into your body without the use of a steroidal anti-inflammatory agent. From a change in diet to light stretching and exercises, we’ll provide many tips to help you reduce symptoms and ease the pain caused by arthritis.

Household Tips: Find Your Zen at Home!

At the end of the day, a solution to the pain is needed, and you already have many of the tools you need within your own home. If not, many solutions are DIY or require an inexpensive purchase that will be well-utilized in the months to come. Just a few small changes around the house will greatly improve your daily comfort and mobility.

Music Therapy

An easy place to start is music. Music has been shown to steadily lower your pain sensitivity and benefit depression so pair your phone to a Bluetooth speaker or let Pandora rip on the TV. Studies show the genre of music does not matter as long the listener enjoys it, so turn up the volume before that morning coffee.

Meditation

Meditation is shown to reduce stress, which, in turn, reduces pressure on your body. With all that pressure gone, the body is now free to dedicate all its resources to combatting the pain and inflammation from the various forms of arthritis. The National Institute of Health (NIH) agrees – their very own studies have shown that careful meditation can help those suffering from joint pain.

Walking Barefoot

Walking barefoot at home is a huge help to those suffering from arthritic pain, reducing the pressure on your knees and giving your joints some much-needed relief from a day on your feet. When you wear shoes, make sure to select an appropriate pair. Plenty of brands now offer footwear with added cushion and support for your heel, arch, and instep, which will make all the difference on your joints. A specialty shoe store will be happy provide guidance!

Topical Cream

A topical cream like Arthritis Wonder helps to treat the severe aches and pains caused by arthritis. Once absorbed into your skin, it targets the joints for immediate relief. Doctor recommended and FDA compliant, it’s become a trusted solution for at-home arthritis care and treatment. It’s the only cream with Wogonin, which research shows is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant and targets receptors in the arthritic joint, blocking pain signals from reaching the brain.  Arthritis Wonder was developed after extensive research by Dr. David Kooyman, a microbiology professor and arthritis expert at Brigham Young University.

Hot & Cold Therapy: Switch Up Your Routine!

Heat has long been associated with inflammation and pain relief, but cold shouldn’t be overlooked, either. There’s a reason why cryotherapy has become so popular in recent years, but while a great option, it is also an expensive one, making it inaccessible to some.

However, there are incredible DIY methods you can try at home that produce the same results. A heating pad or electric blanket is excellent for a temporary reprieve, but don’t expect extended relief. A longer, more leisurely solution is to soak in a bath (or a hot shower if you’re pressed for time).

For quick relief throughout the day, use an ice pack for swelling and inflammation. Alternatively, a sock filled with warm rice (just microwave uncooked for 2-3 minutes) will also provide short-term relief. We recommend adding lavender for an extra soothing, fragrant respite!  Other anti-inflammatory herbs are great options, too.

Can’t decide between hot and cold? Try both! Prepare a bowl of warm water and a bowl of ice and water, and take turns immersing your hands in each for 30 seconds at a time in 15-minute intervals before a final, icy soak.

After dinner, give the dishwasher a break and wash the dishes by hand. Your arthritic joints will thank you for the light exercise, and the warm water will relax your muscles, loosen your joints, and allow your body a break from the pressure of constant movement.

Epsom Salt Baths

Athletes are well-known for their love of Epsom salt baths, and constant training and monitoring ensures that they stick to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for their treatment. Be sure to follow their lead and add Epsom salts to your bath to accelerate the relief. Once absorbed into your skin, the Epsom salts immediately work to alleviate inflammation and reduce pain.

Diet Changes: Let’s Hit the Kitchen!

Just a few changes to your diet can make all the difference in your battle with arthritis. When taking a homeopathic approach to arthritis, there are three main focus areas for combating arthritis: anti-inflammatory, pain relief, and prevention.

Studies have proven that certain superfoods can help tamper inflammation and pain, and even help to prevent any future recurrences!

Begin by swapping your cooking oil for either olive oil or canola oil. While certain oils can speed up inflammation, the Omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil and canola oil actually reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in cold-water fish like salmon and tuna.

Vitamin D is particularly important for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Vitamin D will ease inflammation and related pain, while protecting bones and cartilage by fortifying their structure and making them less susceptible to osteoarthritis. Vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts offer an excellent source of calcium. For those suffering from osteoarthritis, and particularly, carpal tunnel, a daily dose of Vitamin E has been shown to reduce pain and allow for a better grip.

Vitamin C is also a main component of an anti-inflammatory diet and has been proven to significantly slow, if not stop altogether, arthritic advancement by helping form collagen. Cloves will also help fight inflammation through eugenol, another property proven to stop arthritis development.

Commonly found in Indian curries, turmeric is full of curcumin, a pain-relieving agent for arthritis. Not a fan of Eastern dishes? Pick up a bottle of Ballpark mustard for your next burger – turmeric is a key ingredient. Ginger is also fantastic for arthritis, because it helps ease arthritic pain in any form. Osteoarthritis is particularly susceptible to the healing powers of ginger. Green tea has even been proven to fight arthritis-causing properties, so try making your own tea or purchase ready-made bags from the store. Apple cider vinegar and natural fish oils will also provide a much-needed dietary boost. Anti-inflammatory foods such as Mediterranean cuisine, which contain a liberal dose of fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil, will also help considerably.

Exercise: Get Moving and Shed Those Pounds!

Exercise is one of the best ways to naturally reduce the severe discomfort caused by arthritis. It’s quite simple: the less you weigh, the less weight on your joints. Exercise will also strengthen your muscles, fortifying your joints and allowing for a solid support system.

Exercise also reduces inflammation and lubricates the joint.  Not using your joints will cause them to be stiff and inflammation will increase.  Doctors now recommend those that have joints with arthritis to use those joints, even if it is painful at first, as it will decrease the inflammation and keep them lubricated.  With continued exercise and use of your joints, pain should decrease.

Stretching is a very important part of the exercise process, because it loosens your body and prepares it for the work to come. It is important to remain cognizant of your pain levels – if you’re prone to morning pain and stiffness, stretching might not be the ideal way to help you start the day. However, many patients report that stretching is significantly better after a hot soak in the tub when their muscles are loose, and mobility is at its peak.

Light exercise, such as light swimming and water aerobics, will keep your joints flexible and well-oiled without adding the extra pressure and pain commonly associated with activities like running and even walking. Moderation is key, and water is an incredible asset because of its overall weightlessness against the human body. This low-impact activity helps to preserve those joints, alleviating further pain and improving flexibility in areas such as the knees and hips.

Many health clubs and fitness centers have tapped into this craze and now offer several options for water aerobics, complete with flexible and affordable classes. Specially trained instructors will teach you important exercises and movements that you can utilize at home long after class has ended!

Don’t forget to refer to our recent blog for help on specific exercise tips!

Massage Therapy Services: Time for a Spa Day!

If you have the means and inclination, acupuncture and massage can be a luxurious, soothing way to unwind and give your achy joints some much-needed TLC.

The Arthritis Foundation shows that regular massage therapy can significantly reduce pain and increase mobility.

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese therapy, utilizes carefully targeted pinpricks from tiny needles. This has long been a proven and heavily employed technique for alleviating many different pains and illnesses, including joint pain.

Cupping is another solution that is highly regarded for arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome. It reduces inflammation through a non-invasive treatment, using a vacuum-effect to lift skin from the muscles and organs, allowing for fresh blood and lymph circulation that accelerates the recovery process. An important part of the process includes removing such harmful toxins as cytokines and uric acid, proteins that cause inflammation and swelling and hamper healthy regrowth. Many patients report immediate relief upon conclusion of their session, and that relief lends to increased and painless mobility.

If the idea of acupuncture or cupping sounds too adventurous for you, a professional massage can be a great alternative. Some patients have experienced such wonderful results that they have become trained in self-massage as well. Classes to learn massage therapy are also abundantly available.

At Arthritis Wonder, we get it. We vow to continue our strong commitment to your continuing care and wellness. We feel your pain, we hear your call for help, and we too feel the desperation of living with arthritis. Our research will continue to provide help to those suffering from this agonizing disease.

Living with arthritis does NOT have to be a daily, insufferable battle once you are educated on the best ways to combat the disease. There are many home remedies available for those suffering from chronic and degenerative arthritis. Some may eliminate pain or inflammation, while others may slow or even stop the deterioration altogether. Through education and research, you can change the way you move, work, and live, and find relief from your pain.

Exercises to Relieve Arthritis Pain

Exercises to Relieve Arthritis Pain

Is osteoarthritis plus exercise a contradiction?

For anyone that has ever received the diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA), apart from the usual medications that their doctor prescribed, it was probably suggested that they also make lifestyle changes like a healthier diet, weight loss and increased exercise. Using exercise as a way to improve arthritis might seem counterintuitive but in reality, it works.

Studies show that long term, regular exercise can improve joint function [1] and many OA sufferers report a reduction in hip or knee pain and an improvement in their symptoms after just 12 weeks of starting a low-intensity exercise regime [2]

The science behind movement

The human body has over 200 joints that keep us walking, running, jumping and moving around with ease. But joints don’t work in isolation. Instead, they work together with the surrounding muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments and nerves to produce the complex movements that we’re used to carrying out. So when a joint deteriorates or becomes damaged, the whole system is affected.

In osteoarthritis, the individual bones that make up a joint are where the majority of the damage is concentrated. Metabolic factors, wear-and-tear and old age all contribute to the destruction of a joint but the impact is felt far afield by the structures around it, like the neighboring muscles.

Thankfully, there’s something we can do to strengthen those muscles.

Exercises that make a difference

Building and strengthening muscles makes them more efficient and for those with osteoarthritis, this is particularly important because research shows that muscle weakness directly contributes to the development and progression of osteoarthritis [3]. So good muscle strength doesn’t just reduce the symptoms of arthritis, it can help stop OA from worsening.

Weight lifting, stretching and yoga are all examples of great exercises that you can use to strengthen the joints, improve your bone density and elongate your muscles. If you suffer from Osteoarthritis of the knee or hip (the two most common types of OA) it is important to stretch and strengthen the supporting leg muscles. Movement, in the form of regular exercise is the best way to do this. It causes your joints to compress and release, bringing blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen into the cartilage (a crucial part of the joint).

Weights

Loss of muscle strength is especially problematic for older individuals with OA whose pain and stiffness complicates their ability to move [3]. Lifting weights or resistance training can keep the muscles around the affected joints strong. It decreases bone loss and helps control joint swelling and pain.

At first, weightlifting may sound intimidating, but it can be done with proper preparation and minimal equipment that you can find around your house. No gym membership is required. For example, by using 16-oz. soup cans as a substitute for dumbbells, you can carry out exercises on both the upper and lower body [5].

Stretching and Yoga

To increase your flexibility and keep the muscles loose and limber, stretching and yoga are the place to turn. Stretching regularly helps to prevent the loss of mobility. Specifically, range-of-motion exercises improve joint mobility, reduce stiffness and help to prevent tightening of the tissues around the joint.

One of the best times to stretch is after a work-out, as part of a cool-down routine. This is when the muscles are most warm and pliable. You can start with just one or two exercises a day, three times a week, but try to work up to performing several, at least once a day [6].

Here are some common stretches to use:

Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Double hip rotation
  • Hip and lower back stretch
  • Inner leg stretch
Hip Osteoarthritis
  • Standing hip flexor stretch
  • Knee to chest stretch

Although weight lifting and yoga are generally safe and well-tolerated, before you hit the gym or join a yoga studio, remember that all exercise regimens should be individually tailored to prevent injuries or worsening of OA symptoms. Not all exercises are suitable for all individuals so before starting, be sure to have an evaluation by a physician, physical therapist, or other health professional experienced in the management of osteoarthritis.

What exercises should you avoid?

If your osteoarthritis is severe, be cautious about engaging in the following exercises:

  • Running, especially on uneven surfaces
  • Tennis, basketball, and other activities where you change direction quickly
  • Step aerobics and other workouts that involve jumping

 

Joint pain, stiffness and the inability to carry out your day to day activities are an unfortunate hallmark of osteoarthritis. But regular exercise that includes weight lifting, yoga or tai-chi are just a few things you can do to help ease the pain and reduce the symptoms.

References

1) Ambrose, K. R., & Golightly, Y. M. (2015). Physical exercise as non-pharmacological treatment of chronic pain: Why and when. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Rheumatology, 29(1), 120–130. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.berh.2015.04.022

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4534717/

2) Minor, M. A. (1994). Exercise in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. Arthritis & Rheumatism: Official Journal of the American College of Rheumatology, 7(4), 198-204.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/art.1790070407

3) Latham, N., & Liu, C. (2010). Strength training in older adults: The benefits for osteoarthritis. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 26(3), 445–459. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cger.2010.03.006

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3606891/

4) WebMD. Joints to compress and release, bringing blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen into the cartilage. Sharon Liao.

https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/features/oa-knee-hip-exercises#1

5) 3 Simple Weightlifting Moves. Linda Malone.

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/simple-routines/weight-lifting-exercises.php

6) Harvard health. Exercise: Rx for overcoming osteoarthritis. September, 2007

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/exercise-rx-for-overcoming-osteoarthritis

The Guide to Homeopathic Therapy and Arthritis

The Guide to Homeopathic Therapy and Arthritis

What is a homeopathy?

The concept of homeopathy can be difficult to understand but according to one popular definition: “Homeopathy is a medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Those who practice it use tiny amounts of natural substances, like plants and minerals. They believe these stimulate the healing process [1].” Homeopathic doctors or “homeopaths” take an active ingredient(s) and weaken it by adding water or alcohol in a step by step dilution process. This is called ‘potentization’ and homeopaths believe that it transfers a healing essence that will cause symptoms to stimulate the body’s self-healing response.

Why do some people prefer homeopathic drugs over over-the-counter drugs?

Some individuals choose homeopathic drugs over conventional medicines because of the side effects that are associated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications.  Additionally, the long list of ingredients in OTC drugs, which are not all natural is another reason that some might choose to use homeopathy products as an alternative.

It is important to know that all homeopathic drugs are different and products labeled as ‘homeopathic’ can contain a wide range of substances, including ingredients derived from plants, healthy or diseased animal or human sources, minerals, and chemicals.  As a rule of thumb, it is best to check with the manufacturer about the exact ingredients contained in any homeopathic drug that you might be interested in using.

Do homeopathic drugs actually work?

The evidence on this is conflicting. Most doctors and healthcare providers prefer to use evidence-based medicines. These are medications that are recommended for use only after scientific evidence and data backs up their effectiveness. For example, Ibuprofen has long been used to help reduce swelling and inflammation because there are thousands of studies that have proven its effectiveness. Although research has been carried out to look at the effectiveness of homeopathic drugs, the results are not as conclusive so homeopathy does not fall under the category of evidence-based medicine.

However, there are still many champions of homeopathy and many people have had a personal, positive experience of using homeopathic drugs. But as with any substance we put into our bodies, it is best to make sure that you fully understand all the risks and benefits.

Who regulates Homeopathic medicines, are they safe? Are they approved by the FDA?

The FDA oversees homeopathic remedies, as it does all medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare-related products but it does not check to see if they’re safe or effective [1]. Since no homeopathic drug products have been approved by the FDA for any use, they may not meet modern standards for safety, effectiveness, and quality [2].

As stated by the FDA: Products labeled as ‘homeopathic’ and currently marketed in the U.S. have not been reviewed by the FDA for their safety, effectiveness or ability to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent or mitigate any disease or condition [2].

If you’re thinking about trying homeopathic treatments, talk to your doctor first. He or she can make sure they’re safe to take and check to see if they will interact with any other medications you may be using.

Are homeopathic drugs safe during pregnancy?

Many homeopathic ingredients have not been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women, so it’s not clear which (if any) homeopathic drugs may be harmful. Due to this lack of research, many women choose to avoid homeopathic remedies while they’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Homeopathic drugs and menopause

The symptoms of menopause are hard to treat without resorting to the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other conventional medicines. This is an area where homeopathy has become a popular treatment alternative. Graphites, Lachesis mutus and Sepia are primary homeopathic treatment options that many women have turned to. But as mentioned earlier, prior to starting any new product be sure to discuss the ingredients, benefits, and risks with your healthcare provider.

If you are interested in homeopathy medicines, speak to your doctor first to make sure that it won’t interfere with any other medical conditions or medications that you’re taking. Additionally, do not use homeopathy as a replacement for proven conventional care or as a reason to postpone seeing a health care provider about a serious medical problem.

References

1) WebMD. What Is Homeopathy? WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by David Kiefer, MD. November 01, 2016

https://www.webmd.com/balance/what-is-homeopathy#1

2) FDA. Homeopathic products. Page Last Updated 03/20/2018.

https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/ucm589282.htm

Anti-inflammatory Foods You Should Be Eating

Anti-inflammatory Foods You Should Be Eating

If you have an inflammatory condition like osteoarthritis (OA), you may have heard how eating certain foods can reduce your body’s inflammatory response. While maintaining your treatment plan is important, modifying your diet to include anti-inflammatory foods can support you with improved energy and less pain. It may not magically cure your OA, but it can help you lead a more satisfying life and reduce the number and frequency of flare-ups you experience. Learn more about how anti-inflammatory foods and diet tips can help you reduce pain and perhaps enjoy life a little bit more.

Facts About Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural process of our immune system. An inflammatory response is the way our body responds to injury or disease. It is part and parcel of the body’s attempts to heal itself following an injury and is part of the natural repair process. When the body detects any foreign substance – whether that is a chemical, pollutant or allergen – your inflammatory response kicks in.

When our bodies are constantly bombarded by harmful substances, we may experience chronic inflammation as our systems work overtime to get rid of them. For anybody with a weakened or compromised immune system, this response can be extreme and even debilitating.

For people who suffer from chronic inflammation or inflammatory conditions such as OA, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or other auto-immune diseases, inflammation can contribute to prolonged discomfort. Chronic Inflammation is also associated with obesity, heart disease, high blood sugar, frequent colds and flu, and gastrointestinal issues. It can wreak havoc on your energy levels and in extreme cases, can prevent you from enjoying life to the fullest.

The good news is that following an anti-inflammatory diet can help. Once you have achieved a more alkaline body chemistry, you will feel better, look better – and, if you are one of the 31 million Americanswho has osteoarthritis, it could help you turn the tables on your prognosis.

Foods that cause inflammation

The first step towards an anti-inflammatory diet is to eliminate or reduce the amount of inflammation-causing foods that you eat. The top offenders in this category include:

  • Refined sugars
  • Wheat-based foods (breads, pasta, baked good)
  • Fried foods
  • Sugary beverages (sodas, store-bought juices)
  • Processed foods (anything that isn’t fresh is processed)
  • Red meats
  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, butter)
  • Hydrogenated fats, oils, lard, shortening

These foods are acidifying to your body, meaning that when they break down, they create an acidic environment that is, essentially, a hotbed of inflammation.

Many of these inflammatory, acidifying foods also contribute to chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, weight gain, endocrine disease, organ failure, early dementia, and cancer.

Avoiding these types of foods will not only help you gain more energy, but it will help your body to protect itself from disease. You will likely lose some weight, and you may soon notice that you don’t catch colds as often. Your energy and mood will be much improved, and your pain may be more manageable.

Avoid these three foods at all costs

  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Corn

There are many reasons for this, but topping the list is the fact that these are the top three most GMO-d foods on the planet. Unless you are purchasing foods that contain organic, non-GMO versions of these ingredients, you run the risk of doing yourself more harm than good. The effects of GMOs on the body are still a topic of much debate, but some of the unfortunate byproducts include certain cancers, endocrine disease, and chronic inflammatory disease.

Wheat, in addition, contributes to weight gain as in many cases, it slows the body’s natural ability to produce insulin, the compound that helps us change the sugars in the foods we eat into energy.

Soy is notoriously difficult for most people to digest. Since it is a staple of a vegetarian diet, many may find it difficult to eliminate from their routine, but moderation is key. If you must eat soy, choosing to purchase organic/non-GMO soy products exclusively, may mitigate some of the inflammation it may cause.

Corn contains the highest levels of sugar of any fruit or vegetable, which is why it is used so extensively for sweetening processed foods. Too much sugar can contribute to weight gain and exacerbate diabetes conditions as well as auto-immune disorders.

Check the labels of the foods you buy to ensure they do not contain wheat, soy, or corn. Better still, choose only fresh, whole foods and stay away from pre-packaged or processed items entirely.

The role of antioxidants in combating inflammation

Antioxidants play a significant role in the fight against systemic inflammation. Oxidative factors can be found in our environment and in the foods we eat – and these are the things that, for want of a better explanation, will make us old before our time.

Pollutants in the air we breathe and in the foods we eat contribute to this oxidation, producing free radicals that impair our body’s ability to fight disease and heal from injury. Antioxidants fight free radicals, protecting our cells from damage and helping us retain vitality and heal more quickly from injury and illness.

Antioxidants can be found in many foods, but they can also be supplemented with vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, Selenium, and foods with high anthocyanin content, such as blue and purple fruits and vegetables.

Foods that are naturally high in antioxidants include:

  • Berries of all kinds: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, blackberries, plums, black grapes
  • Acai berries
  • Goji berries
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Turmeric
  • Cacao
  • Raw carrots
  • Kale
  • Pecans
  • Artichokes
  • Red Cabbage
  • Legumes (black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, peas)
  • Beets
  • Spinach

Eating a diet that is rich with these foods will help you maintain good health, sustained energy, and, perhaps most importantly, reduce harmful inflammation.

Foods that suppress inflammation

Modifying your diet to include a lot of anti-inflammatory foods is essential for optimum wellness. Adding these foods into your diet will support your overall health and wellness.

Here are some of the most beneficial anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet today:

Berries of all kinds: berries are highly beneficial as they are relatively low on the glycemic index (sugar content) and are packed with antioxidants. Blueberries and cherries are among the most beneficial fruits you can eat – it’s just a bonus that they are so delicious!

Leafy greens: green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, microgreens, spinach, and kale are highly beneficial for fighting inflammation. They are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that help rid your body of the toxins you are exposed to every day.

Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, arugula, bok choy, rutabaga, watercress, wasabi, horseradish, radishes, turnips (roots and greens), and brussels sprouts are just a handful of examples. They are low in calories and filled with vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and dietary fiber. In addition to their anti-inflammatory properties, cruciferous veggies balance the endocrine system, help to regulate blood glucose levels, and promote weight loss. Eating a diet rich in cruciferous veggies has been shown to reduce inflammation markers by 25 percent.

Nuts and seeds: almonds and walnuts are among the most beneficial nuts, but peanuts (technically a legume), flaxseeds, pistachios, hemp hearts, and chia seeds are all highly recommended. They are rich in magnesium, vitamin E, alpha linoleic acid (ALA), and l-arginine, all of which are proven to reduce inflammation by boosting the protein adiponectin, a substance our bodies produce that has been shown to reduce inflammation.

High-fat content fish: fatty fish like salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, mackerel, tilapia, mahi-mahi, anchovies, herring, and eel have a high Omega-3 content. Omega-3s have been proven to interfere with certain enzymes in the body that produce an inflammatory response. Studies show that people who eat fatty fish on a regular basis are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Further to that, if you have already been diagnosed with RA, or OA for that matter, this can help to reduce the swelling and pain that comes with a flare-up.

As always, care should be taken to choose fish that are sustainably caught and/or farmed. Fatty fish tend to hold onto toxins much longer than leaner fish, so ensuring the source is reliable and responsible is key as you really don’t want to be putting more toxins back into your body. Check Ocean Wise for recommended varieties and other valuable information.

Non-meat Omega-3 sources: If you are a vegetarian or vegan, there are still ways to get your omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are one of the most concentrated sources of omegas. Add a tablespoon to your smoothie or protein shake for an extra burst of inflammation-fighting power. Other non-meat sources include flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, brussels sprouts, and seaweed.

These are just a few of the ways you can get started with an anti-inflammatory diet today. Eating mindfully with inflammation reduction as the goal can help you feel better, reduce inflammation and get more enjoyment out of the things you love.