What Is It Like To Live With Rheumatoid Arthritis
If youre fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis, you can live an active, normal life, but you may need to practice self-care to minimize your pain and symptoms. Here are a few ways that those suffering from RA manage it:
Physical Activity. Regular exercise is vital. Staying strong and keeping muscles active is a great way to reduce pain. Suggested activities include low-impact aerobics, dance, Pilates, yoga and other exercises that strengthen muscles and promote flexibility. Patients should see a doctor or physical therapist for recommended activities based on their abilities and then lessen the intensity if any joint damage has already occurred.
Diet. Eating foods that help keep inflammation low can be greatly beneficial to those suffering from RA. Most of these items fall into the traditional Mediterranean diet menu of fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables. Foods to avoid include anything processed like packaged cookies and crackers, and fast foods.
Temperature Therapies. Some Rheumatoid Arthritis patients find relief using heating pads and hot baths to soothe stiff joints and muscles. Alternately, for a rapid reduction of inflammation to numb sharp pain, ice packs can be utilized.
Community. Connecting with others who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or discussing the ailment with supportive friends and family members may help to mentally navigate the condition.
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Natural Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Doctors practicing conventional medicine commonly use a combination of prescription drugs like anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, biologic agents that alter the immune system or painkillers to help control RA symptoms. While these are necessary for some people, natural treatments can also make a huge impact in terms of helping lower pain, reduce swelling, prevent further joint damage and increase someones quality of life. Natural treatments also wont cause unwanted side effects, which are common due to arthritis medication use including liver damage, anemia, low platelet count, hair loss, kidney issues and heart problems.
Here are some ways you can manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and prevent complications from developing naturally:
1. Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet
2. Stay Active
Although RA can cause flare-ups of pain along with limited range of motion, staying active in general is a very important for controlling symptoms and managing joint inflammation. Joint pain associated with RA tends to be worse after periods of inactivity so exercise has many benefits.
3. Manage Stress and Get Enough Sleep
4. Control Pain Naturally
5. Reduce Inflammation with Supplements
Anti-inflammatory supplements that can help reduce arthritis pain include:
- turmeric and ginger extract
Final Thoughts on Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases
The mission of NIAMS is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.
Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-877-22-NIAMS
Other Herbs With Potential For Oa And Ra Treatment
A few other medicinal plants have been investigated in preclinical studies using cellular and animal models, but have not been tested in clinical trials involving humans. Nevertheless, the mechanisms elucidated by these preclinical trials provide insight into the therapeutic potential of these natural medicines for OA and RA. Species of Angelica, Cinnamon, Glycyrrhiza, and Saposhnikovia have been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and known for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects . These herbs diminish the expression of inflammatory mediators, such as IL-1, IL-6, TNF-, PGE2, and COX-2, via modulation of NF-B activation and kinase activity in in vitro and in vivo arthritis models . Furthermore, treatment with these herbs has been found to improve cartilage structure and texture, normalize bone remodeling, and inhibit osteoclastogenesis in animal arthritis models. Such findings suggest the beneficial use of these herbs for treating arthritis in human patients.
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How Do Joints Work
Joints are located around your body in places where two or more bones meet.
For example, knees, hips, fingers, toes, shoulders. Joints allow the body to move and bend in a smooth and correct manner.
Inflammation around the joint is behind many types of chronic joint pain. So, before we get into the detail of how diet can affect your arthritis, lets talk about the basics of how joints work.
It takes a lot more than bones to create movement. First, there are muscles and tendons.
Tendons connect your bones to muscle. But, how do they know when to move?
Thats the job of your muscles.
Not only do they provide crucial support for the joint, they also receive the messages from your brain triggering tendons to pull on the bone to create movement.
But the movement itself, how does that happen? Thats where ligaments step into the spotlight.
These stretchy bands of fibrous connective tissue ensure bones are held in position and enable the joint to move in the correct manner for that part of the body.
So, weve covered what spurs movements and what holds the bones in the right position.
But what about making sure the bones dont grind against each other? This is where human biology gets clever.
Around each joint is a capsule containing synovial fluid. This provides lubrication.
And finally, the cartilage covering the ends of your bones acts as a shock absorber. Together, they enable the bones to glide over each other smoothly.
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Common Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
- Joint painis the main sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Ultimately, the knees, hands, ankles, wrists, and feet are the most affected.
- Joint swellingthat lasts for six weeks or more.
- Joint inflammation, tenderness, heat, and redness.
- Morning stiffnessthat lasts for at least 30 minutes
- Trouble walking, climbing stairs, bending over, and moving normally.
- Loss of appetite
Not surprisingly, symptoms are worse when inflammation levels are high. As a result, the only way to manage rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce inflammation.
In the long run, most RA patients have flare-ups where symptoms suddenly get worse. After a while, inflammation can be controlled, but its only a matter of time before it returns.
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However, experts feel that most home remedies meant to treat rheumatoid arthritis will take a very long time before any reverse in the condition is noted.
The program called The Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis brought forth by Clint Paddison, reveals the actual underlying body conditions that trigger RA in a person, the 5 essential principles of rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and natural methods that will help in eliminating most symptoms associated with RA without having to resort to medication use.
More valuable information is made available within the program that no professional experts will ever reveal about curing this painful condition.
A program meant for curing rheumatoid arthritis in any individual, no matter how serious their condition is or how long they have been suffering from it, is now made available.
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/9massage With Essential Oils
Massaging is an excellent way to get relief from the symptoms of knee and joint pain. Using essential oil for massaging your knees is even more effective. As per some studies, ginger and orange essential oils work quite well in getting rid of knee pain. It releases stiffness and reduces pain in the affected part.
What Types Of Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Having a lifelong illness like rheumatoid arthritis may make you feel like you dont have much control over your quality of life. While there are aspects of RA that you cant control, there are things you can do to help you feel the best that you can.
Such lifestyle changes include:
When your joints are inflamed, the risk of injury to your joints and nearby soft tissue structures is high. This is why you need to rest your inflamed joints. But its still important for you to exercise. Maintaining a good range of motion in your joints and good fitness overall are important in coping with RA.
Pain and stiffness can slow you down. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis become inactive. But inactivity can lead to a loss of joint motion and loss of muscle strength. These, in turn, decrease joint stability and increase pain and fatigue.
Regular exercise can help prevent and reverse these effects. You might want to start by seeing a physical or occupational therapist for advice about how to exercise safely. Beneficial workouts include:
- Range-of-motion exercises to preserve and restore joint motion.
- Exercises to increase strength.
- Exercises to increase endurance .
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What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease. In general, with autoimmune diseases like RA the immune system attacks healthy cells. As a result,RA causes stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joints. On top of that, the disease limits movement and range of motion. Overall, rheumatoid arthritis is generally more severe than osteoarthritis, which is easier to control.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation when the immune system attacks the body. When it comes down to it, RA leads to chronic joint inflammation.
Why does the immune system attack the body?In a nutshell, the immune system gets confused and thinks that healthy cells are part of a disease.
Can Supplements Help Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Its important to discuss supplements with your doctor before starting them, because many herbal supplements are not rigorously studied by the FDA and may potentially interfere with other prescription medications. That said, numerous dietary supplements have been proposed for RA treatment, and research suggests that some of them appear promising.
Fish oil, for instance, contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and studies have suggested that this substance may help relieve tender joints and morning stiffness, reducing the need for anti-inflammatory drugs. But fish oil should be used with caution because it can interact with blood pressure medication.
A review published January 2017 in the journal Nutrients found that marine oil supplements can help reduce pain in patients with RA.
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A Warning About Supplements
A few RA studies show that certain supplements and natural remedies can help. But the research is still in its early stages, so the bottom line isnât clear yet.
NCCAM: “Rheumatoid Arthritis and Complementary and Alternative Medicine ” “The Use of Magnets for Pain” and “Thunder God Vine.”
Session 3: Joint Nutrition Society and Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute Symposium on “Nutrition and autoimmune disease” PUFA, inflammatory processes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis Today: “Supplement Guide.”
What Happens In A Joint Affected By Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system can cause inflammation inside a joint or a number of joints. Inflammation is normally an important part of how your immune system works. It allows the body to send extra fluid and blood to a part of the body under attack from an infection. For example, if you have a cut that gets infected, the skin around it can become swollen and a different colour.
However, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, this inflammation in the joint is unnecessary and causes problems.
When the inflammation goes down, the capsule around the synovium remains stretched and cant hold the joint in its proper position. This can cause the joint to become unstable and move into unusual positions.
The following can play a part in why someone has rheumatoid arthritis:
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What Happens In Ra
With continuous swelling and inflammation of your joints, the joint capsule remains stretched and can no longer hold the joint in its proper position. As a result, the joint may become unstable and this can lead to joint damage. The joints affected and the extent to which this happens varies a great deal from person to person. RA usually affects the small joints in your hands and feet, but it can affect many joints including your ankles, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck and shoulders. The pain, stiffness, fatigue and whole-body symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be disabling and can lead to difficulty with daily activities. Effective treatment by a rheumatologist can prevent joint damage and reduce other symptoms of RA.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally
Dr. David Williams
Arthritis means inflammation of a joint. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is the wear and tear type that usually develops as you age. Another form is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune diseasemeaning the immune system attacks the bodys own tissues. In this case the tissue under attack is the synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joints.
Oftentimes, joint problems occur because the cartilage surfaces inside joints have little, if any, direct blood supply. Think of this cartilage as a sponge. It gets most of its nutrients for repair from the fluid within the joint capsule itself, called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid contains a couple of compounds called hyaluronic acid and lubricin.
As the joint is moved through its full range of motion, the sponge is compressed and released. This action helps squeeze out waste material from the cartilage cells. And, just as a sponge sucks in water, nutrients are pulled into the cartilage cells when pressure on the cartilage is released.
The synovial fluid also provides lubrication and shock absorption for your joints. Thus, nourishing your synovial fluid is important for supporting healthy joints and treating rheumatoid arthritis naturally.
Lots of drugs also exhibit a diuretic effect, particularly water pills used to control blood pressure. Additionally, a diet rich in protein and fat promotes fluid loss.
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Should I See A Doctor
Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.
So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?
If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesnt go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.
Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:
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Fish And Cod Liver Oil
Fish oil supplements are often marketed as being good for joint health. According to many studies, thats not just marketing hype: in a 12-month study, scientists in Scotland gave fish oil supplements to patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were undergoing treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Amazingly, the patients who took fish oil were able to decrease their use of NSAIDs by 59 percent!
According to another British study, as well as one conducted in Germany, cod liver oil appears to be effective for relieving rheumatoid arthritis as well. In the German study, daily cod liver oil supplementation improved symptom in 68 percent of patients. The British experiment with cod liver oil found that nearly 40 percent of patients taking the supplement were able to reduce their NSAID use, versus only 10 percent of the control group.
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The medical establishment is often slow to change, and more research needs to be done before the majority of doctors will recommend taking one of the three aforementioned supplements before conventional treatment. But if you have rheumatoid arthritis, it certainly cant hurt to talk to your doctor about supplementing your current treatment with one of the natural treatments mentioned here. With the help of these three supplements, you can help manage your condition, rather than letting it manage you.
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Check Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D in its active state helps to quell inflammation and balance the components of the immune system so as to discourage autoimmune disease. Individuals who have RA often have low levels of vitamin D. However, once RA develops, the immune cells in the joints become less sensitive to vitamin D.25 Because both rheumatoid arthritis and vitamin D deficiency increase the risk for heart disease, one should have his/her vitamin D level checked. Any insufficiency should be corrected. Patients with active RA under steroid treatment may need supplementation with calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis and to improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.26
Herbal Supplements And Ra
There are a variety of herbal supplements and preparations that may be touted as potential RA treatments. These supplements and preparations are available in different formulations, including as raw herbs freshly harvested, extracts in liquid or powder form, infusions made by steeping an herb or plant in boiling water , tinctures made by steeping an herb in alcohol, and topical preparations. Herbal supplements and preparations listed below are categorized by their main effects, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and sleep-promoting effects.
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Complementary And Alternative Medicine For Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that impacts joints and connective tissue. It is often painful and disabling, and usually requires lifelong pharmacological management. Patients are usually diagnosed between the ages of thirty and fifty, although RA affects all ages. Common co-morbidities include cardiovascular disease, cachexia , depression and impairments to quality of life . Although they have greatly improved the general course of RA, drugs that are commonly used to manage the disease carry some notable side effects as well.
For all of these reasons, patients with RA often look to Complementary and Alternative Medicine for additional sources of relief. In fact, joint pain and arthritis are among the top five most common reasons that Americans seek CAM . Usually, CAM is sought in addition to allopathic treatment to ease symptoms of the disease and side effects of drug therapy. Below is an outline of the currently available research for treatments that are commonly used by RA patients, as well as a synopsis of what may be recommended as safe and possibly effective for this population.