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Old 05-23-2010, 09:15 AM
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Default May is Arthritis Awareness Month

May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis, which means "joint inflammation" is a general term for over 100
different joint disorders with symptoms ranging from mild aches and pains to
severe swelling and crippling pain. Your joints, remarkable and elaborate
hinges, are cushioned by cartilage. They're held together with various other
tissues, including muscles and tendons. Lubrication is in the form of called
synovial fluid, which is released by the synovial lining of the joints. Thinning
cartilage between the bone results in the bones rubbing together and becoming
inflamed. This, in turn, inflames the surrounding tissues, tendons and muscles.

Tips For Managing Arthritis

Treatment of arthritis depends on the particular cause, a persons individual
needs, which joints are affected, the severity of the arthritis and how the
condition affects your daily lifestyle. Your age and occupation will also be
taken into consideration when your practitioner works with you to create a
treatment plan.

The goal in treating arthritis is to focus on eliminating the underlying (root)
cause of the arthritis. However, the cause is NOT necessarily curable, as this
is often a degenerative disease often associated with aging. The treatment goal,
should address the reducing of pain and discomfort and preventing further
disability. It is possible to greatly improve symptoms and other long-term types
of arthritis without medications. In fact, making lifestyle changes without
medications is preferable for osteoarthritis and other forms of joint
inflammation. If needed, medications should be used in addition to lifestyle

1. Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been shown to be extremely affective for long
term problems with arthritis. Acupuncture is a therapeutic modality that has
shown good benefits in the outcome measurements of pain relief for arthritis.
Electroacupuncture had shown even greater results with pain threshold, regional
pain scoring and sleep quality. A combination of both high frequencies,
associated with serotonin release - short-term effects and low frequencies,
associated with endorphin release - cumulative effects are optimal for pain

2. Exercise: Movement is essential! Exercise conditioning and stretching can
improve certain pains with stretching such as painful, stiff muscles and joints
by increasing blood flow to these areas. Walking and weight baring exercises are
beneficial for improving strength , bone density and circulation. Restoring
movement and normal function to an injured area is critical. Learn to stretch to
improve your flexibility.

3. Proper Diet: A poor diet can be a nutrition zapper that robs the body of
proper vitamins, mineral and sufficient amino acids that are important for
energy product. A balance of fresh vegetables, complexed carbs, whole grain, as
well as, fruits, nuts, seeds and protein are very important for maintaining
proper energy levels. A diet consisting mainly of plant based foods like fruits
and NON-night shade vegetables (eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes...) have shown
great results with those suffering from arthritis. Avoiding fried foods and
refined carbohydrates are a must. Difficulties with the digestive tract such as
thirst, gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting, acid reflux are symptoms of poor
assimilation of food. The delicate balance of our digestive system can affect
our whole system in so many ways. Decrease your intake of excess protein,
carbonated drinks and coffee.

4. Reducing Stress: People who have things in their lives under control will be
better pain managers than people who don’t. Recent research confirms the
importance of psychological attitude on arthritis pain relief. It is no secret,
if you are hurting and you are tense, you hurt more. Look at your attitudes and
emotions. The mental and emotional aspects of healing have a direct connection
between you and what you are experiencing. A positive mental and emotional
attitude and can be created and maintained by focusing on your purpose for being
healed. Idle joints can become painful joints. If you focus on pain, it hurts
more, but if you are doing things that are important to you, or focused on you,
then you are less likely to feel it.

5. Supplementing: Take additional vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements can
help to supplement major deficiencies. Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals in
our diet have proven to be the culprit of much pain and suffering. We often do
not get enough of the required amounts of calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc and
essential fatty acids. Asian herbal formulas have also been an extremely
important key to restoring balance in the body.

6. Work with herbal remedies: There are great herbal solutions to relieving pain
naturally, improving circulation, elimination and assimilation. There are great
herbs to help you sleep and regulate your entire body system. The herbal
remedies are even more helpful when the arthritis is further divided into
location of pain, worse with cold/damp or damp heat or if it is more affected by
wind. (see Chinese medicine).

7. Topical Care: 89% of patients suffer from some type of morning stiffness.
Apply a muscle ointment at night before going to bed will relax the musculature
around the joiuts, decrease inflammation as it gives you a psychological boost
as well. This boost tends to help people with arthritis to feel much better all
day if they aren't stiff when they wake up in the morning. Consider such
topicals as Zeel, Chinese massage oil, UI Oil, White Flower Oil, Taoist Oil or
Wind Cream.

8. Touch Therapies: have shown helpful in studies on arthritis. Massage therapy
improves circulation and joint mobility. Massage strengthens the immune system,
treats musculoskeletal problems, reduces blood pressure, helps relieve
tension-related headaches and effects of eye-strain. Massage therapy promotes
deeper and easier breathing, improves circulation of blood and movement of lymph
fluids. Osteopathic or chiropractic treatments are recommended to relieve any
pressures that may be hindering circulation and decreasing eliminations. This is
vital , your spine and its nerve pathways can have an enormous influence on how
you feel and the functioning of your body.

9. Hydrotherapy: has a number of uses. Warm water will relax spasm, while cool
can decrease inflammation. Studies have shown that floating in specially
designed floatation tanks, also known as isolation tanks, can relieve arthritic
pain. Moist heat can be helpful when feeling stiff or having pain. Hydrotherapy
has been useful in treating such conditions as muscular strains and sprains,
muscular fatigue, joint swelling and arthritis.

10. Improving Elimination results when food moves too slowly through the
gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Poor elimination is usually diagnosed when bowel
movements occur fewer than three times per week on an ongoing basis. Other signs
occur when the stool is hard, dry or there is excessive straining. Many people
don't realize that the gastrointestinal tract contains the largest immune system
in the body. The immune system is the body's natural defense against foreign
invaders, and it is somehow altered in people who have these conditions. Some
researchers believe that the long-lasting inflammation found in the intestines
of people with IBD damages the bowel, which in turn may allow bacteria to enter
the damaged bowel wall and circulate through the blood stream. The body's
reaction to these bacteria may cause other problems including inflammation in
the joints and/or spine, skin sores and inflammation of the eyes.
Start with a heathy detox. Detoxifying is the process of releasing accumulated
toxins and waste products that build up throughout our system. Our body does
much of the detoxification process through urination, defecation and
perspiration. As our bodies age and our immune systems weaken from illness, poor
diet and/or addictive substances, we sometimes need to give our system an extra
helping hand. That is why conscious detoxing is a great way back to optimum

Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~
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