My Arthritis Was Excruciating But Then I Tried Natural Remedies
Emily Johnson thought the condition only affected people as they got older but, after living in agony, she knew something had to change
When Emily Johnson developed rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 20, the pain was excruciating. But she soon learned to manage the condition with a change in diet and lifestyle.
Emily was in her final year of university when the ring finger on her right hand started to swell up. Soon the painful swelling had spread to another finger and thumbs and her skin became sensitive to touch. It was excruciating. I couldnt move my hands as they were stiff with fluid. It was too painful to type and I could barely hold a pen, says Johnson. Next came the sneezing fits. I couldnt sleep or even talk for sneezing, but I passed it off as a cold or hay fever.
Emily was referred to a rheumatologist, who, after initially telling her it was all in her head, eventually diagnosed seronegative arthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis , where the bodys immune system attacks the joints.
I immediately thought of my gran, who had suffered with it, says Johnson, now 27. I thought: Why have I got this? Im only 20.
So what are the diet lifestyle changes that helped Emily manage her RA?
Fill up on fruit and veg
Base your diet around whole foods and plants, which are rich in anti-inflammatory polyphenols.
Zinc-rich seafood, lentils, eggs and nuts
Let Food Be Thy Medicine
Eating this way putting my health first is certainly more expensive than eating the way I did before. But the way I look at it, eating for my health is the best health insurance money can buy. Im heading off all kinds of potential diseases before they even become a problem to be treated. Heck, Im even reversing some diseases . Im thus avoiding the uncomfortable and detrimental side effects of most conventional medicine. Eating this way is the ultimate in self-preservation and self-care.
And you cant put a price tag on feeling amazing. I turn 32 next week, which puts me at 14 years post-diagnosis. Its also been seven years since I first discovered I could obliterate my arthritis through nutrition. I still stick fairly closely to the Primal Blueprint lifestyle, and my arthritis is still gone. I can hike, backpack, run, CrossFit and dance with not even an inkling of pain. Im not one for hyperbole, but I consider this a modern-day miracle. Only it has nothing to do with modernity, and everything to do with going back to eating real, whole, slow foods.
I often sign our cookbook with this quote from Hippocrates: Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.
To some, this may seem trite. To me, this is my motto. Doing this literally changed my life, and I live now to help others change theirs.
Whats your nutrition story?
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory polyarthritis, says Dr. Rosian. Your body attacks the lining of joints. Over time, this can cause the cushion around these joints to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis causes erosions, she explains. It destroys those joints. This can lead to loss of independence because you cant do things like bathing, dressing and feeding yourself.
Dr. Rosian says rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint in your body. However, it most commonly affects small joints, like those in your hands and feet. Still, rheumatoid arthritis is considered a systemic illness, meaning your whole body feels its impact.
When you have strep throat, the infection is in your throat, but you feel sick all over, says Dr. Rosian. Its similar with rheumatoid arthritis. You feel unwell, almost like you have the flu. You have a fever, but dont run a temperature. Or you may lose weight.
Other common signs and symptoms include muscle stiffness in the morning, swollen joints that are hot to the touch, fatigue and pain thats symmetrical meaning it emerges in both of your hands or both of your feet.
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Why Do I Have Ra
What is causing your joint pain? RA is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders result from your immune system mistaking your normal cells for foreign cells and attacking/destroying them. When your immune system attacks the lining of the membrane surrounding your joints , inflammation occurs. The constant inflammation of the synovium thickens the membrane lining and wears away the cartilage and bone in your joints, causing the physical pain you experience.
The tricky thing about RA is that doctors are still unsure of what the underlying cause is. While genetics seem to be a contributing factor, the baffling mystery is that the majority of people suffering from RA have no family history of it.
Traditional Treatment Going Nowhere
After Fennell was diagnosed, she was immediately prescribed a slate of powerful drugs, including Prednisone and Plaquenil. Each of these drugs had a laundry list of side effects: for Prednisone, theres weight gain , high blood pressure, and psychological changes, among others and for Plaquenil , theres anxiety, blindness , paranoia, irregular heartbeat, and many, many more concerning side effects.
Still, Fennell obediently took her meds but she wasnt getting better. In fact, her symptoms quietly worsened until she became nearly bedridden. At that point, her underlying apprehension about the drugs came to the surface. She asked herself: was healing rheumatoid arthritis naturally an option?
Ive always come from a place of, OK, you want me to take these drugs, but theyre just covering up whats going on. Theyre not actually fixing the problem, Fennell said. I wanted to know: How can I actually solve whats going on?
She felt there had to be a way to deal with the root issue through lifestyle choices despite the fact that her conventional doctors told her there was no cure for her condition, and certainly not any natural cures for rheumatoid arthritis and she resolved to find it. If she didnt, a full-time caretaker would be inevitable soon, plus her livelihood would be taken away from her if she was bedridden.
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Other Supplements And Magnesium Oil
These include joint supplements which can help and are beneficial for the joints. Common joint supplements that may assist you include glucosamine, chondroitin and the well-known pain reliever, turmeric.
Magnesium oil is a mixture of magnesium chloride flakes and water. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have been found to benefit from its application to painful joints.
Apply magnesium oil regularly if you want to reverse rheumatoid arthritis.
Everyday Management Tips For Arthritis
You should certainly see a doctor or health professional if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis so they can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe any necessary treatment.
There Is No One Cause Of Ra
We know there is no single cause of RA, and indeed there may be many different causes that lead to the disease, says Carl Ware, MD, head of the scientific advisory board of the Arthritis National Research Foundation and director of the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.
This is important because it helps explain why some patients have strong results from a treatment that doesnt work well for others. Your doctor should be personalizing your therapy, helping you find which treatments work best for your individual situation, he adds.
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How To Treat Arthritis In The Knees
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 78,758 times.
Research suggests that treatment may slow down arthritis and relieve your symptoms, though there’s no cure for it.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Arthritis occurs when your joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in your joint wears away, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks your joints. Experts say arthritis in the knee is very common because it’s a weight-bearing joint, but you can get arthritis in any joint.XResearch source Although arthritis may interfere with your life, you may be able to manage your condition.
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Key Points About Arthritis
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases cause pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body.
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases can affect people of all ages. They are more common in women than men.
Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, or redness in 1 or more joints.
There is no cure for arthritis. The treatment goal is to limit pain and inflammation and preserve joint function.
Treatment options include medicines, weight reduction, exercise, and surgery.
Wrist Hand Or Finger Splints
If youre going through a bad arthritis flare-up, using resting splints can help quiet the active inflammation and give you some relief, Dr. Osterman says. These are devices, usually made of plastic and secured with velcro, that temporarily immobilize the joint, which allows it time to rest, he explains.
Im only 22, but some of my fingers are already severely bent and fused from having juvenile arthritis. Splints are helpful for the pain and for helping keep them straight so hopefully they dont bend more, says rheumatoid arthritis patient Emma A., from Melbourne, Australia. My favorites are ring splints since they look like jewelry instead of a medical brace.
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Where To Buy Lab Grade Products
There are a lot of extremely inferior products on the market. Still worse, many of the cheap herbal supplements found in Amazon.com and on the shelves of local drugstores are not inspected by third party regulators with FDA oversight. The majority are selling weakly concentrated ingredients, and there is growing concern that many products are testing in the danger zone for toxic chemicals and fillers.
Below are two companies that weve tested and found to produce lab grade turmeric and boswellia serrata. Their cost is higher due to the quality of ingredients and their strict self-imposed testing standards. Still, the cost is small compared to prices of pharmaceuticals.
Getting The Fluoride Out
She started eating a totally organic diet. For 30 days, she ate 100% all organic food. This was to avoid the cryolite, a fluoride-based pesticide that is sprayed on most fruits and vegetables.
She also only ate organic meat, drank organic wine and beer and pretty much followed Melissas advice in The Hidden Cause of Acne to the letter.
She avoided eating anything cooked in Teflon
And she didnt eat any seafood or anything with animal bones that was not organic since fluoride is stored in the bones of animals.
I also got her a fluoride water filter for her birthday gift, so she could filter her water at home.
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Getting An Unexpected Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis
Fennell had had carpal tunnel syndrome in the past, so when her left wrist started hurting in 2008, she didnt think much of it and just bought a wrist guard. Soon her right wrist started hurting as well, and though that seemed odd she shrugged it off and just bought another wrist brace. Im walking around with two carpal tunnel wrist guards on my hands, and it still wasnt working, she remembers. I was just like, Well, maybe it just hasnt worked yet.
Then, Fennell lost the ability to lift her arms over her head and knew that something was really wrong. She made an appointment to see her doctor, who had a hunch about what was happening and referred her to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist ran some tests and was able to confirm: she had rheumatoid arthritis. If youre not familiar, rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory autoimmune disease in which a persons immune system attacks the cells in the lining of your joints, resulting in painful swelling that can cause bone erosion or deformities if left untreated.
More Ways To Treat Ra
Over-the-counter medications treat RA symptoms, but not the underlying disease.
These medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium .
Your doctor may prescribe you stronger NSAIDs, available by prescription only, to combat the inflammation and pain caused by RA.
Corticosteroid medications may also be used to reduce RA inflammation and reduce joint damage. Prednisone can be effective in relieving acute symptoms of RA, but long-term use carries risks.
Physical or occupational therapy can help keep your joints flexible. Assistive devices like beaded seat covers in cars and book stands to give the hands a break can reduce stress on joints when going about daily tasks or enjoying leisurely activities.
Surgery, which can reduce severe joint pain and improve everyday functions, is sometimes elected by people with RA.
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Cultivate A Healing Mindset
Making food and lifestyle changes isnt easy. In fact its very hard. It takes time, preparation and dedication to focus on the goal of becoming pain-free and BELIEVING it can happen. I followed stories of people who had walked this path before me and knew that it was possible. This helped motivate me on the hard days.
I also tried to reframe the illness by seeing the symptoms as information my body was giving me. I used it like a compass to guide me in the direction that reduced pain and inflammation.
What you focus on expands. Focus on Healing.
The mind is a powerful tool which can be harnessed to help heal. I used healing visualizations and affirmations and expressed gratitude each day for the evidence of healing in my body. As the expression goes: what you focus on expands. I wanted my body to heal so that, rather than the pain, was my focus.
Dr Vikki The Miracle Worker
Around that time had moved to Silicon Valley for my new job. A friend at work recommended I go see Dr. Vikki Peterson.
Believe it or not, 20 years later, Dr. Vikki and her husband Rick are still in practice. They do work with patients remotely . If youre interested in working with them, please tell them I sent you.
I worked with Dr. Vikki for 2 years, and it was awesome. I am eternally grateful for her for helping me through my process of healing. It took two years for my gut to heal fully.
I had to avoid gluten and sugar for 2 years. But those were really the only things I had to stay away from. I could eat honey in moderation, and all grains and starches.
Fruit was fine, too, just not in excess. I remember once going to the Juice Club and getting a giant fruit smoothie. I ended up with my head on my desk, dizzy and exhausted too much sugar!
During the 2 years I was healing, Dr. Vikki worked with me and gave me therapeutic grade probiotics.
She also gave me supplements to help support my adrenal glands. When your body is fighting an illness, it taxes your adrenal glands. Being sick had really put my adrenal glands on overdrive, and getting the extra nutritional support made a huge difference.
I felt energetic enough to get up early, work long hours at the office, and even go out dancing and on dates at night. Even though I had to avoid gluten and sugar, I was getting my life back!
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Effects On Your Daily Life
- See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
- If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.
Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.
If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.
You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.