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Arthritis is a term used to encompass many types of debilitating joint and muscular problems. These problems are now so common that an estimated 50% of the population over the age of 65 has some form of arthritis. This is a dramatic increase and is perhaps a symptom of our times for it seems that the number of chemicals in our environment, food and bodies, as well as poor diet increases the risk of developing arthritis. 

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Joints & Muscles

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DIETARY ADVICE continue reading below

There are two main types of arthritis:-

Osteoarthritis - more common in the elderly it occurs when the cartilage in the joints wears away, causing much pain and stiffness mainly in weight-bearing joints. This type of arthritis is the result of the wear and tear of ageing, diet and lifestyle, an injury or an inherited problem with the protein that forms cartilage. It affects almost everyone over the age of sixty in some form or other.

Rheumatoid arthritis - this is a crippling inflammatory joint disease that affects the entire body. It is an autoimmune disorder, a 'self attacking disease' that causes the immune system to see the synovial membrane as a foreign body and attack it. Inflammation then occurs and all the joints in the body are affected - the cartilage, tissues and bone surfaces become damaged. Scar tissue then replaces damaged tissue and the result can be stiffness, swelling, fatigue, anaemia, weight loss, fever and crippling pain.

This type of arthritis may be brought on by physical or emotional stress, poor nutrition, a bacterial, viral or fungal infection, injury or surgery. It can occur at any age but often affects women and people under the age of forty. Even children can develop juvenile arthritis.

DIET & LIFESTYLE:

After the Second World War food manufacturers and growers were encouraged to mass-produce food and chemicals began to infiltrate our food chain. The use of chemicals in food production has increased rapidly since then, and most foods in supermarkets are not routinely tested for pesticide residues. Organic foods however are guaranteed to be free from pesticides.

When these different chemicals enter the body, they break down and combine to form new substances and it is these 'metabolites' that are believed to be a cause of many joint problems. As the metabolites and other waste products move through the blood they accumulate in the muscles and joints where they can crystallise and cause inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.

There is no actual cure for arthritis, and what works for some people, doesn't for others, but there are steps you can take to reduce the severity of your symptoms.

• Follow a healthy diet, increase your intake of dietary fibre, and ensure you drink plenty of filtered or bottled water and herbal teas.

• Eat organic food, to avoid chemicals and pesticides.

Sulphur is needed for the repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage and connective tissue and also helps with the absorption of calcium, so eat more sulphur-rich foods such as asparagus, eggs, garlic and onions.

• Try to eat fresh pineapple frequently (not canned or frozen). It contains bromelain, which is excellent for reducing inflammation (see Supplements below).

Avoid citrus fruits and the deadly nightshade family i.e. potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, aubergines. Cutting out these foods has dramatically improved symptoms for many people.

• Reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by avoiding whole milk, dairy products and red meats. A vegetarian, and in particular a vegan, diet has dramatically improved symptoms for many people.

Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, sugar and refined carbohydrates, and cut out salt and tobacco.

Exercise moderately and spend time outdoors for fresh air and sunshine. Exposure to the sun enables the body to produce vitamin D, which is important for bone formation.

• Begin each day with a hot shower or bath to help relieve stiffness.

• Try taking anti-inflammatory herbs, foods and supplements - see Joints & Muscles

• Take collagen-building and joint-building supplements:
Glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulphonylmethane (MSM) & collagen - glucosamine is a natural constituent of cartilage which stimulates the production of connective tissue and works best when taken in conjunction with chondroitin, a substance that attracts more lubricating fluid into the joints. Organic sulphur or Methylsulphonylmethane (MSM) is also vital for healthy connective tissue. It is found in every cell in the body and is needed for joint and tissue repair. Collagen is a vital part of joint cartilage responsible for its suppleness and flexibility, and from the age of thirty we lose approximately 1.5% of our collagen each year - see Joints & Muscles
for combinations of these nutrients.

• Include spices in your diet such as turmeric, cardamon, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, and chillies, all of which have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Chillies also contain capsaicin, which triggers the release of the body's own pain-relieving endorphins and work in the same way as morphine. Every morning try making a drink of fresh sliced ginger and hot water.

• Check for food allergies, which can trigger inflammation and aggravate arthritic symptoms. Speak to your doctor about the Skin Prick Test - a cheap and effective test that should be available to you on the NHS. Allergy tests can also be done privately.

• Check the pH of your body using 'Alka Clear'. If your blood is too acidic it can damage cartilage -see Cleansing Detox & Fibre.

• Ask your doctor about a hair analysis test to check the levels of minerals and toxic heavy metals in your body. Sufferers of arthritis have been found to have high levels of iron, copper and lead in their bodies. Your doctor can refer you to BioLab or it can be done privately. If this is the case consider a 'Heavy Metal Cleanse' - follow the Cleansing Detox & Fibre link above.

THERAPIES:

Acupuncture can be very beneficial for reducing the pain of arthritic conditions so see a registered acupuncturist.

Homeopathy has been found to help reduce the symptoms as well so again see a professional homeopath for a constitutional diagnosis, where physical and emotional characteristics are taken into account.

Radionics - if you seem unable to obtain a diagnosis for your symptoms through conventional methods, or attempts to improve your health are not working, consider seeing a practitioner of radionics. Radionics is a method of sending precisely defined healing energy to people, animals or plants. It is entirely compatible with modern physics. Fundamental to radionics is the view that a living body has a subtle energy field which sustains and vitalises it. If the field is weakened, for example by stress, pollution or allergies, then eventually the physical body also becomes weak, leaving it susceptible to illness. The aim of radionics is to identify the weaknesses in this field and to correct them, and thereby alleviate or prevent physical or emotional disease.

If allergies are causing or worsening your arthritis consider Bio-resonance therapy - bio-resonance therapy (BRT) can be used to treat a number of ailments including irritable bowel, eczema, hay fever, arthritis and asthma. Popular in the Nineties, BRT works on the belief, like radionics, that we have our own electromagnetic fields and unique vibrations or "oscillations". According to Rheinhold Will, a German BRT specialist, it is the physical vibrational properties of matter rather than their chemical properties which trigger allergic responses. During BRT the exact frequency or energy field of an allergen is found using a bio-tensor, a gold-plated rod, similar to a divining rod, which senses a person's personal resonances. A Bicom machine is then programmed to convert the frequency to a mirror-image frequency and then transmits the frequency back, a process which is believed to kill the offending allergen permanently. It takes about 15 minutes to treat each allergen. The therapy has been practised in Germany for the past 15 years and practitioners claim to be able to detect and treat thousands of allergens, as well as vitamin and mineral imbalances and parasites.

These therapies are suitable for everyone, including babies, pregnant women and the elderly.

TOPICAL PRODUCTS FOR JOINTS & MUSCLES:

There are a selection of effective lotions, balms and ointments in the Family Pharmacy section to help alleviate painful joints and muscles - see Aches & Pains

RELEVANT LINKS:

Joints & Muscles

Please contact us if you require personal advice

NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.

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