Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Help for Arthritis Sufferer's

The following is a synopsis of what I read in Bottom Line Health. This information is what was provided by Vijay Vad, MD, a sports medicine physician and researcher specializing in minimally invasive arthritis therapies at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. He is an assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, also in New York City, and the author of Arthritis Rx (Gotham).

ONLY about half of the people who suffer from osteoarthritis pain get significant relief from aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil) or other non­steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -- and each year, an estimated 16,000 Americans die from gastrointestinal bleeding or other side effects from these medications.

Inflammation in the body has been implicated in heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease -- and it also contributes to osteoarthritis. The incidence of arthritis has steadily risen since the early 1900s, when processed foods, such as packaged crackers, cereals, bread and snack foods, began to dominate the American diet -- and more people started becoming obese. Most of these foods actually promote inflammation, which can cause joint and cartilage damage and aggravate arthritis pain.

What you should do:
1) Add apricots and berries to your diet, which contain large amounts of antioxidants, chemical compounds that reduce inflammation.
2) Add almonds to your diet, which contain fiber, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, all of which curb inflammation.
3) Increase omega-3s. These inflammation-fighting essential fatty acids are mainly found in cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. At least three three-ounce servings of fish per week provide adequate levels of omega-3s. People who don't like fish, or don't eat it often, can take 2 g to 3 g daily of a fish-oil supplement that contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)... or one to three tablespoons daily of flaxseed oil. (Because fish oil taken at this dosage can have a blood-thinning effect, check with your doctor if you take a blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin (Coumadin).

4) Add several teaspoons of fresh ginger to vegetables, salads, etc., daily or take a daily supplement containing 500 mg of ginger. (Ginger thins the blood, so consult your doctor if you take blood-thinning medication.)
5) Take 1,500 mg of glucosamine and 1,200 mg of chondroitin daily. Or consider using a product called Zingerflex, which contains glucosamine and chondroitin as well as ginger. (If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before using glucosamine. It can raise blood sugar. Do not take glucosamine if you are allergic to shellfish.)

What you should not do:
1) Most Americans get far too many Omega-6's in their diets. A century ago, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was about 2:1 for the typical American. Today, it's about 20:1. This imbalance boosts levels of a chemical by-product, arachidonic acid, that triggers inflammation. Omega-6s are found primarily in red meats, commercially processed foods (described earlier) and fast foods, anyone with arthritis should avoid these foods as much as possible.

2) Although the reason is unknown, tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant and other foods in the nightshade family have been found to increase arthritis pain. For a complete list of nightshade foods, go to the Arthritis Foundation Web site at and enter "nightshade" in the search box.

Put some exercise in your day!
Osteoarthritis pain weakens muscles, which diminishes joint support. The result is more inflammation and pain, and faster progression of the underlying disease.

Common exercises, including running and traditional forms of yoga, actually can increase pain by putting too much pressure on the joints. Patients benefit most from medical exercise, which includes modified versions of common strengthening and stretching exercises, supervised by a physical therapist. (To locate a physical therapist in your area, contact the American Physical Therapy Association at 800-999-2782 or

Medical yoga improves joint strength and flexibility by strengthening muscles and moving joints through their full range of motion. Unlike conventional yoga, it does not require poses that put undue stress on the joints.

Pilates combines yoga-like stretching and breathing control to strengthen the "core" muscles in the lower back and abdomen, as well as muscles in the hips. Like medical yoga, it puts very little pressure on the joints.

Healthy breathing. Most of us take shallow breaths from the upper lungs -- a breathing pattern that increases levels of stress hormones and heightens pain. Deep breathing, which promotes the release of pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins. Patients who breathe deeply for five minutes daily have less pain for several hours afterward. Practice deep breathing in addition to a regular exercise program.

In a different article at BottomLine Health it says:
5 Little-Known Ways to Reduce Arthritis Pain, Without Painkillers and Anti-Inflammatories

If you have arthritis, you've probably tried painkillers and heating pads. But here are 5 little-known remedies that you probably haven't tried. They're safe... they're inexpensive... and they can dramatically curb your symptoms.

Drink Tea. Research shows that green tea is rich in polyphenols -- compounds that suppress the expression of a key gene involved in arthritis inflammation. Drink one or 2 cups of hot or cold tea daily.

Boost Your C and D. Vitamin C is believed to slow the loss of cartilage due to osteoarthritis, while a diet low in vitamin D has been shown to actually speed the progression of osteoarthritis. Take daily supplements that provide 500 to 1,000 mg of vitamin C, and 400 IUs of vitamin D.

Try Willow Bark and Boswellia. Willow bark is where aspirin comes from. And boswellia has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and maintain healthy joints. Take 240 mg of willow bark and 1,000 mg of boswellia per day.

Eat Grapes. Grape skin contains resveratrol, a natural compound known to act as a COX-2 inhibitor. Resveratrol both suppresses the COX-2 gene and deactivates the COX-2 enzyme, which produces inflammation at the site of injury or pain. Eat one cup of white or red grapes daily. Good news: Purple grape juice and wine contain resveratrol, too.

Therapeutic Taping. Wrapping tape around a joint to realign, support, and take pressure off it has great benefits for arthritis sufferers. Taping must be done properly to be effective. Consult a physician or physical therapist who can show you or a family member the proper technique.

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