Arthritis is a term used to describe a group of inflamed joint conditions.
Arthritis is the name of a medical condition affecting a joint or joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness
Osteoarthritis is perhaps the most common inflammatory condition and refers to a state of degeneration or deterioration of the cartilage that lines the joints as well as a degeneration in the new bone formation beneath the cartilage. The disease is very common in older persons. Osteoarthritis is marked by a progressive stiffness, loss of function, and destruction of the larger, weight-bearing joints of the body. With advancing age, the continued slow damage causes increasing disability. Osteoarthritis typically features pain in the weight bearing joints of the body. The knees, ankles, spine and hips are all common sites of pain and discomfort with this condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the joints, but the causes are quite different to osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease – a condition caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness, meaning it can last for years and Patients may experience long periods without symptoms. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are not confined to weight bearing joints but may appear throughout the body. Redness and swelling and eventual deformity of the joints are often seen in rheumatoid arthritis. There is no definite cause for rheumatoid arthritis, although recent research is starting to suggest that some outside influence such as a bacterial infection may trigger the body to begin attacking itself.
Other inflammatory joint conditions
Other inflammatory joint conditions include psoriatic arthritis – a whole body inflammatory condition that is usually most noticeable in and around the joints. As the name suggests, it is typically seen in people who also suffer psoriasis, and usually follows the development of that condition.
Ankylosing spondylitis is another ‘arthritic’ type condition mainly involving the back and especially that part of the back where the spine joins the hips and pelvis – the sacroiliac joints.
The most common symptom of ankylosing spondylitis is chronic low back pain that seems to just come on for no apparent reason. The pain is typically worse in the morning. On rising from bed, people with this condition may feel stiff and sore and this may take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to pass off.
Integrative Medicine Treatments
Depending on the particular condition, treatment or management of these arthritic conditions will involve reducing inflammation, regenerating joint tissue and supporting bone development.
The immediate aim of any good arthritic treatment is to reduce the inflammation that is contributing to the pain. This is true for both conventional medicine approaches as well as integrated medicine approaches.
The natural substances recommended by your Quality Pharmacist have been carefully chosen for their effectiveness, safety and speed of action.
The traditional Indian arthritis and pain herbal combination of Boswellia (Frankincense) and Turmeric is our preferred initial anti-inflammatory. This formulation is produced by Mediherb, Australia’s foremost herbal medicine company, and has been providing remarkable results for many of our customers. The Boswellia and Turmeric works by reducing inflammation in both of the main inflammatory pathways in the body (where most over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatories will only target one of these pathways) and it also provides a high dose of protective antioxidants at the same time. It is very gentle on the stomach and has no adverse effects on the heart, like some of the more well known conventional anti-inflammatories.
Typically, this Boswellia and Turmeric formulation will be starting to work well within a week of taking it.
Fish Oils have long been known to have a wide range of health benefits for the entire body. They are excellent for brain development, are very effective at lowering certain types of cholesterol, are increasingly being found to benefit inflammatory airway conditions like asthma, and of course, have a long history of use for managing arthritic pain.The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oils are very useful for their ability to reduce inflammation in all parts of the body. In fact, Professor Les Cleland from the Royal Adelaide Hospital was recently quoted as saying that regular fish oil supplementation could save the health system hundreds of millions of dollars in arthritis treatments. There is quite a lot of research to suggest that fish oils have particular benefit for rheumatoid arthritis.
Regenerating Joint Tissue
Glucosamine is now a commonly recommended treatment for degenerative inflamed joint conditions such as osteoarthritis. Once in the body, glucosamine breaks down to form glycosaminoglycans, the building blocks of joint cartilage. Essentially, taking glucosamine will provide your body with the raw material it needs to begin rebuilding cartilage that has worn away through overuse. The average recommended dose of glucosamine is 1500mg/day.
Supporting Bone Development
Calcium supplements have long been popular for helping to maintain bone density. Because some forms of arthritis are caused by wear and tear, the bone tissue underlying the cartilage may also be suffering from damage. Calcium can help to repair this. It is important to choose a form of calcium that is going to be easily absorbed through the digestive tract. Calcium citrate and calcium hydroxyapatite are probably the two easiest forms of calcium for the body to use in this sense. Ask your pharmacist for more information about this if you would like to know more.