Best Natural Options for Arthritis Pain Relief

By on November 21, 2013
Screen shot 2013 11 21 at 11.29.51 AM 300x336 - Best Natural Options for Arthritis Pain Relief

    Silently, one in six Canadians are living with some form of arthritis. Arthritis is often described as an intense; achy; continuous pain in the joints. Arthritis is society’s great unknown disease where many sufferers go unnoticed by the public. There is a high probability that a family member, a friend, or someone you know is living with this tremendous pain and disability caused by arthritis.  Arthritis has been known to devastate a promising life, and destroy a person’s spirit and independence. 

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage loses the ability to cushion the joint, therefore resulting in a joint that swells with pain, OA may be caused by an acute or chronic trauma or injury to any joint. 
    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissues resulting in an inflammatory condition that affects the whole body resulting in swelling, pain, joint deformities and loss of function. 
    Arthritis sufferers have endured their arthritic pain with determination while they continue on the journey to find some form of relief. In recent years conventional drugs used for treatment for arthritis like Vioxx and Celebrex, have been withdrawn from the market over safety concerns associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.     The key to living better with arthritis is understanding the condition. That has left many Canadians looking for alternative forms of treatments and relief that can be best found in natural medicine. 

Diagnostic Tests
    Arthritic patients should always ask their naturopathic doctor (ND) for tests that can help diagnose arthritis and uncover the deeper root causes. Appropriate diagnostic testing can also help NDs determine the best treatment approach.  
    The intestinal permeability test, food allergy testing and oxidative stress profile test are all tests that further help determine the type of food and nutrition that would be best appropriate for your arthritic condition. The results for these tests would set up the blue print for your diet and help consider the foods you should and shouldn’t eat. One more thing to consider; any test results can be re-tested to show measurements of improvements in the arthritis, so ask to test for your baseline scores before you begin treatment. 
Active Living, for pain relief
    Whether you are suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, a clear, daily plan to maintain an active lifestyle is important for your quality of life. Research has demonstrated that individuals participating in moderate daily exercise, have less pain and slow down the degenerative process of arthritis.
    Arthritic patients can choose from a wide range of traditional activities like walking, running, stationary bike, elliptical machine, aerobic classes at a local gym or leisure stretch in a therapeutic swimming pool. These all can a  be a great way to keep joints limber, increase the range of motion of all joints and decrease pain.
    The John Hopkins Arthritic Centre recently reported that early studies examining the benefits of yoga, Chi Qong and Tia Chi on patients with arthritic pain have shown promising results with some improvement in joint health, physical functioning, and mental/emotional well-being (Garfinkel, 1994).  A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a downward spiral where pain becomes unbearable, leading to more inactivity which leads to greater pain and disability.  

Supplements
    Supplements like fish oil, antioxidants, a potent multivitamin, extra zinc, glucosamine and chondroitin all have shown to help some or all arthritic patients with their pain management. A balanced supplement regime is important.  Having a naturopathic doctor help you with a program will save you time and money.
    Curcumin, a substance in turmeric is currently one of the most researched herbal extracts for inflammation and pain. Time and time again, studies have revealed that highly bioavailable curcumin is more effective in alleviating arthritic symptoms, including tenderness and swelling of joints, than any major drugs.  

Food as Medicine
    Fine tuning your nutrition to eat more foods that reduce your arthritic pain is vitally important.  Doing all of the above mentioned while eating a poor diet won’t get you your desired results.  Increasing the consumption of whole foods, considering a hypoallergenic diet, implementing an anti-inflammatory diet, or alkalanizing your diet should be considered. Determining the perfect diet for your health may need a food allergy test first.       

Finding Arthritic Relief
    The Canadian Arthritis Society has suggested that within a generation, there will be a new diagnosis of arthritis in Canada every 60 seconds. Medical experts do agree that the root cause of arthritis is a combination of poor diet, weak digestion, food allergies, bacterial or viral infection, chemical exposures, genetic susceptibility, and stress. The key to living better with arthritis is to improve upon these areas. Canadians are using more natural and alternative medicine to find relief.

Elias Markou, BSc. (Hons.), RHN, R. Ac., ND was a former firefighter turned naturopathic doctor. Elias Markou has the experience and is an expert in nutrition and vitamin therapies.  He has certifications in intravenous therapy, biopuncture injection therapy and functional medicine. Markou has a clinical interest in environmental medicine, auto-immune conditions, hormonal imbalance, chronic pain and cancer. He is in private practice in Mississauga, Ontario and is the Chief Medical Officer for the Halton Hills Fire Department. Markou is also a natural health expert and blogger who is regularly featured on television, in print and radio. For more information visit: www.mypurebalance.ca

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