More of Alternative Therapies For Arthritis Patients

May 25, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

I found the following report entitled: Beyond the Pill Bottle: Alternative Arthritis Therapies which emphasizes the benefits of alternative therapies for arthritis patients.

“Beyond the pill bottle” may have a serious or funny ring to it, but for most arthritis sufferers whose fingers’ joints are inflicted with the debilitating arthritis, they may not even be able to open the pill bottle. I totally agree, besides I am a total promoter of alternative treatments.

Fingers and hands are particularly susceptible to pain and inflammation that can cause difficulty in gripping, pinching and grasping — motions needed to perform simple, everyday tasks. Non-medicinal treatments — from supplements to specially designed gloves — can help improve pain relief and quality of life for many arthritis sufferers.

I mean…we shouldn’t realy on medical pills alone, especially the ones that render you with harmful side effects. The said report enumarates the importance of mild to moderate exercise. It said: use your joints or lose it!

  • help improve flexibility and reduce pain in the long term
  • help keep joints moving
  • strengthen muscles connected to joints
  • preserve bone health
  • control weight that greatly impacts arthritis pain
  • improve your overall health and fitness

And then the real alternative treatments enumerated are massage, acupunture and acupressure.

Massage is an age-old treatment that has proven therapeutic for a wide range of ailments, including arthritis. Both self- and professional massage can work well. If you choose to have a professional massage, make sure the therapist is experienced in working with arthritis patients.

Acupuncture and acupressure have become widely accepted pain-relief therapies. The World Health Organization views acupuncture as a valid, useful treatment for a number of ailments, including chronic pain. As always, consult your physician when considering acupuncture as a treatment. Be sure the therapist you choose has experience working with arthritis patients.

I assure you that regular massage helps a lot. it has helped improve my circulation as opposed to the blood ciculation meds I was given before that has given me palpitations. Also, It helped improve the movements in my knees and helped relax taut muscles.

I’ve yet to try acupunture just becasue there isn’t an acupunturist in my area. But if I find one, I will surely try it out. Of course, talking leisurely walks (in the mornings or afternoons) helps a lot, especially that I am stucked in front of a computer most of the day.

What about you? What kind of alternative therapies have you used that helped in managing your arthritis?

Cherries May Be Natural Arthritis Pain Relief

May 7, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Clearbrook Farms Michigan Red Tart Cherry PreservesIn lieu of Arthritis Awareness Month this May, it is being said so many times (in practically every report on arthritis that’s coming out) 1 in 5 Americans have arthritis or that’s 46 million adults in America that are diagnosed with arthritis

In fact, arthritis is now being called the “coming epidemic”.

While it is a debilitating condition, researchers are non-stop in the hope to discover how to better manage the disease.

New research is pointing to tart cherries as potential natural pain relief against arthritis pain –this super fruit can naturally reduce inflammation and ease arthritis pain.

Such were the findings of researchers from the University of Michigan:

A new study by University of Michigan researchers revealed a cherry-enriched diet reduced inflammation markers in animals by up to 50 percent(2). Scientists believe it’s the anthocyanins — also responsible for cherries’ vibrant red color — that are responsible for this anti-inflammatory benefit. Other studies indicate that anthocyanins may be beneficial for a range of inflammatory-related conditions, including arthritis(3-5).

Studies also suggest antioxidant-rich foods, like cherries, may help reduce levels of nitric oxide, a compound associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis(6-8). Osteoarthritis currently affects 27 million Americans, with onset typically after 45 years of age(1).

“Cherries have a unique antioxidant profile that works similar to some types of pain medication,” said Russel Reiter, Ph.D., nutrition researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center, who has studied the benefits of tart cherries for many years. “This is an important link in examining the role diet can play in reducing inflammation and preventing and managing related diseases and conditions.”

Indeed, arthritis is debilitating. As people age, so is the possibility of arthritis developing. There are even cases now wherein arthritis is suffered by young people.

So as in the campaign against cancer or diabetes, in arthritis the campaign is also to eat healthy and live healthier. Lifestyle, not only diet changes are being called for.

As America ages, so too will the prevalence of arthritis. Those afflicted are already looking to foods and beverages with health-promoting properties to optimize their health. In fact, a recent survey revealed most respondents would prefer to eat or drink foods with health promoting properties over medical treatment or dietary supplements.

Reducing joint pain and inflammation were among the priority conditions(9). Also in the survey, 81% of consumers said they’d add more cherries to their daily diet if they knew the health benefits were virtually equal to dietary supplements.

One other thing we can add to our diet (as suggested by this report) are tart cherries.

Cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms. One serving of cherries is equal to 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1 cup frozen cherries, 8 ounces cherry juice or 2 tablespoons cherry juice concentrate.

Hmmm…are cherries nice to eat? I do wonder. That’s coming from somebody who hasn’t seen cherries in the fresh form. Are they? How difficult do you think they are in incorporating to America’s diet?

Source: Fox Business

May is Arthritis Awareness Month

May 4, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

May isn’t just Spring and therefore a month of flowers, but it is also the Arthritis Awareness Month in the United States of America (USA).

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 Americans suffer from arthritis pain. It is projected that by the year 2030, 67 million people in the U.S. will live with arthritis, up from current estimates of 46 million.

Arthritis is not only painful but debilitating, thereby directly affecting a person’s physical activity and quality of life.

The motto for this month is GET UP AND MOVE. So very fitting, once again emphasizing how physical activities such as walking and some light exercises are crucial to the managing life with arthritis.

Arthritis can be a painful, life-impacting condition, but its effects may be lessened through physical activity.

Physical activity, such as walking, is crucial in preventing and managing the nation’s most common cause of disability.

In fact, the Arthritis Foundation says Americans cannot afford to be inactive. This simple, inexpensive activity can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of arthritis.

According to Patience White, M.D., chief public health officer, Arthritis Foundation:

“Physical activity is a natural pain reliever for most people suffering from arthritis. Walking just 10 minutes, three times a day can ease joint pain, improve mobility and reduce fatigue often associated with arthritis.

The prevalence of obesity continues to rise even though it can often be prevented by staying active through simple activities such as walking. A weight loss of 15 pounds can decrease the pain due to osteoarthritis by 50 percent.”

Okay folks…let’s walk. 😉 Arrgghhh… I really should get my butt off this chair! Sigh.

As the organization celebrates its 60th anniversary, the Arthritis Foundation is working to inform the public of the benefits of walking to ease the pain of arthritis or prevent some forms from developing. In addition to causing pain, disability and loss of independence, arthritis exacts a hefty financial toll on the U.S. economy, costing the nation $128 annually.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month and to get Americans moving, each year the Arthritis Foundation hosts Arthritis Walk events around the country designed to educate Americans about the health benefits of walking while raising critical funds to fight arthritis.

In order to sign up for Arthritis Walk events, visit www.arthritis.org. For a free copy of the Arthritis Today Walking Guide, including tips on getting started, staying injury-free and keeping it all fun, call 800-283-7800 or visit www.arthritis.org.

Source

Manuka Honey For Arthritic Pain Relief

April 26, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

What do you rub on your joints for arthritic pain relief? I have always relied on Efficascent Oil (Methyl Salicylate Camphor + Menthol) — which could be available under different brand names in other countries.

When my knees become stiff, this home remedy efficascent oil is really a lot of help.

Have you heard of Manuka Honey? Don’t worry, I haven’t either.

Manuka Honey – a special type of honey -has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it a viable treatment solution for people with arthritis.

In treating arthritis and other forms of inflammation, eliminating the underlying cause and inflammation is necessary. Doctors and other medical professionals are now discovering that a particular type of honey called “Manuka Honey” has natural anti-inflammatory properties that are extremely effective in treating these conditions. In addition, Manuka Honey has the ability to diffuse into the depths of skin tissue so as to get to affected areas.

“Manuka Honey is an organic, all-natural substance that is more effective in relieving pain than most analgesic products that are available over-the-counter,” says Frank Buonanotte, CEO of Honeymark International which is a manufacturer of Manuka Honey products. “Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, Manuka Honey is now being considered a viable treatment option for arthritis and other muscle and joint pain.”

Manuka Honey products are manufactured by Honeymark International.

You can purchase Honeymark’s Pain Relief Cream with Manuka Honey by calling 1-866-427-7329 or visiting www.HoneymarkProducts.com.

[Story and Photo Source]

Regular Exercise, Natural Arthritis Pain Reliever

April 9, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Exercise, in arthritis patients, is rather tricky. It is all about finding the right kind (and frequency ) of exercise that will not be extraneous to the patient suffering from arthritis.

Exercise is something I’ve never done in the past, something that I still haven’t succumbed to until after my osteoarthritis diagnosis. I’ve always been lazy I guess, especially these days that I more posted here in front of my PC than anywhere else. At least when I had an 8-5 job, i used to get up and walk.

Now, as reported by a new study, exercise is a natural pain reliever to those suffering from arthritis.

Debunking the myth that exercising can worsen arthritis symptoms, a new study has found that regular physical activity can actually be a natural pain reliever for the patients.

The study has found that regular exercise, especially with the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program can effectively improve and manage arthritis pain.

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program was developed in 1987 to reduce pain and stiffness by keeping joints flexible and muscles strong.

The researchers conducted randomised controlled trials over 346 individuals with arthritis, where they were asked to exercise twice weekly for one hour for eight weeks.

Do you really exercise, despite your arthritis? Or are you like me, that exercise is just trips to the bathroom or the kitchen sink? 😉

And how regular should exercise be?  Daily? Every other day? Most importantly, what kind of exercise?

Arthritis Drug Celebrex® and Arrhythmia

February 11, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

pfizer_celebrex.jpgThe COX-2 inhibitor and a popular arthritis drug Celebrex® is maybe inducing arrhythmia (irregular beating of the heart) as shown in laboratory studies.

A product of PfizerCelebrex® – is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) used for the relief of arthritis pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

Such were the unexpected findings of University at Buffalo researchers while conducting basic research on potassium channels — totally unrelated to the drug’s anti-pain/inflammatory mechanism:

They found that low concentrations of the drug, corresponding to a standard prescription, reduced the heart rate and induced pronounced arrhythmia in fruit flies and the heart cells of rats.

The drug inhibited the normal passage of potassium ions into and out of heart cells through pores in the cell membrane known as delayed rectifier potassium channels, the study showed.

Remember Merck‘s controversial drug Vioxx? This product was withdrawn from the market in September 2004.

Satpal Singh, Ph.D. (associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author on the study) explains:

“The adverse effects of drugs like Celebrex and Vioxx based on their selective inhibition of COX-2 currently are a topic of intense discussion in the medical community

We now have shown an important new effect of Celebrex through a totally different pathway, one that is unrelated to the drug’s effect as a pain reducer.

The adverse effect arising from this unexpected mechanism definitely needs to be studied more closely, because the potassium channels inhibited by the drug are present in heart, brain and many other tissues in the human body.

[Photo Credit]

Could this be a sign that Celebrex is out to have the same fate as Vioxx? Nothing final yet, let’s just speculate and not jump into conclusions.

Find more details from Science Daily.

Missing The Beach and Sand Therapy

January 24, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

It has been more than a month since I last been to the beach for my sand therapy. The holidays and the rainy season prevented me from doing so.

In an old post, I have discussed the benefits of sand therapy for people with arthritis.

From my own experience, sand therapy brings relief to my joints.

Remember though that sand therapy is not a cure. However, sand therapy can relieve the stiffness and pain in arthritis joints. Besides, arthritis patients need some form of exercise that is not straining, right?

I’m not sure if there is a scientific explanation for beach therapy against arthritis pain, but according to a local old wives’ tale, it does work.

But anyway, just think of the exercise (not to mention fun!) that you’ll get at the beach, and the early morning sunshine — if it is good for your bones, it will be good for your joints.

Remember that sand therapy is not a cure. However, sand therapy can relieve the stiffness and pain in arthritis joints. Besides, arthritis patients need some form of exercise that is not straining.

Since the Christmas rush started and family members started coming home for the holidays, I’ve only been to the beach once. ONCE.

Next week I will be able to. Me and my five-year-old son is leaving on Sunday for a beach holiday in Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines.

WOW. The beach, the sand and the sun is a great treat somebody like who has been stuck in this little hole, blogging the days away even in between the holidays.

We leave this coming Sunday to the first real beach holiday that I will take my son too. I have personally resolved in the New Year that this year will be a year that my son and I go places. If not out of the country, even out of town will do.

The Philippines has 7, 107 islands. The majors ones are tropical paradises. Most importantly, I am not going to let osteoarthritis get in the way of traveling.

This one particular beach paradise is waiting for us:

bohol_beach_club.jpg

While I cannot wait to get there, I have work to do.

First of all, I need fill this blog (and my other blogs too!) with posts that will last until the end of next week.

I have less than 48 hours to do just that. Wish me luck. 😉

Beach and sand therapy…here we come!

Some Tips for Easing Arthritic Pain

January 23, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Published in The Indianapolis Star are some tips for easing arthritis pain suggested by Dr. John Hur, Methodist Sports Medicine/Orthopedic Specialists:

Shape up

The more you weigh, the more stress you put on joints, especially hips and knees. Excess weight can mean more pain, no matter how severe your arthritis may be.

My personal note: This is exactly what my nurse friend told me. Because when I dropped too many pounds, I was kind-a worried. But then it turned out that my arthritis pain was lessen when I lost significant weight.

Get moving Exercise

Protects joints by strengthening and stretching muscles around them. Strong muscles help stabilize joints, and reducing stiffness can help reduce pain. But to reduce injury risk, start new activities slowly until it’s clear how your body will react.

My personal note: I am a bit problematic in this area. Like this afternoon, I walked a few blocks (slow pace, not hurried walking). After which my leg muscles feel like cramping. On days that I am immobile, my muscles are often not strong enough to support my stiff knees. I may have to work harder onstrengthening and stretching my muscles withour straining myself.

Use the big joints

When lifting or carrying, use the largest and strongest joints and muscles by holding large items close to your body, forcing yourself to use your arms instead of your hands. This helps avoid injury and strain on smaller joints.

My personal note: I’ve given up on carrying anything at all. Even grocery bags! That may even be bad. But I guess at some point I have to do all the carrying myself. Sometimes it is difficult becoming dependent on somebody all the time.

Get in tune with your body

If you’re in pain, don’t ignore it. Pain after activity or exercise can indicate overstressed joints. If you have more arthritis pain two hours after exercise than before, consider cutting back on your exercise routine or eliminating certain exercises the next time.

My personal note: No problem in this department. I never ignored any pain. The only other problem I can see is finding the balance. Right exercise that won’t strain too much and sticking to it. Because of the pain, most arthritis patients feeling pain may not do any exercise at all. Exercising in water is my solution to this. Hit the beach! Or go regularly to your country club’s swimming pool if you do not have a pool at home.

New Blog in The Blogroll: HelpMyHurt.com

January 13, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Arthritis patients live with pain, right?

So I guess it is just fitting that I add in this blog’s blogroll, b5media‘s pain management blog – Help My Hurt – written by Marijke.

I would like to expand my blogroll, but sometimes I am at a lost for searching blogs about arthritis or someones blog about life with arthritis.

So please, if you ever find such kinds of blogs, please point them in my direction. I’d be happy to add them to the blogroll.

Beach Therapy For Arthritic Pain?

November 9, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Where I am, in 20 minutes we’ll be at the beach. But then for some reason, I do not go there as often as one would think. My lack of own car is not an excuse, around here public transpos such as the jeepneys and tricylcles are very handy and cheap.

rain-beach-play2.jpg

[In Photo: my almost 5-year-old son, at the beach, April 29, 2007]

This year alone, I’ve just been to the beach twice: in April when a couple of my oldest friends came to visit and then this morning (6 am, GMT+8) because I was told that walking along the beach at early morning and burying yourself in the sand for a while (15-10 mins) is good for alleviating joint or arthritic pain.

Getting up that early is a feat for a night owl like me. However, going to beach this morning and burying myself in the warm sand was indeed therapeutic. And for better results, i should go there daily. Maybe I should. Nothing beats a dip in the ocean, and around here, the sea water is most often warm.

On top of the regular reflexology i am getting! Believe me I’d do anything just to reduce the amount of medicines i need to take everyday.

I’m not sure if there is a scientific explanation for beach therapy against arthritis pain, but according to a local old wives’ tale, it does work.

beach-sand.jpg

But anyway, just think of the exercise (not to mention fun!) that you’ll get at the beach, and the early morning sunshine — if it is good for your bones, it will be good for your joints.

Remember, that exercise is critical in the treatment of arthritis — mobility without hurting the joints, that is.

And that water is the best place for people with arthritis to exercise.

So, if the beach is accessible to you, make sure to go there regularly. If not for a swim, then for a walk on the shore or for burying yourself in the sun. Even if you do not have arthritis, you will benefit from stretching your legs or for sweating under the sun.

Just make sure that you go there early in the morning to avoid the harmful rays of the sun. 6-7 am is still very good, warm enough but not scorchingly hot on the beach.

Enough blabber, I should go back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

What about you? Do you benefit from going to the beach regularly?

Leech Therapy Against Arthritis Pain

November 6, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

These days, leeches have medicinal use such as treatment of blood clotting problems after surgery.

leech_therapy.jpg

Now, in a study lead by Dr. Gustav J. Dobos from Kliniken Essen-Mitte, found that leech saliva contains anti-inflammatory substances and other chemicals, which could help relieve symptoms of arthritis.

In a study of patients with knee arthritis, Dobos’ team compared a single treatment with 4 to 6 leeches with that of a 28-day regimen of topical diclofenac-a common treatment for arthritis.

Leeches were applied to painful points of the affected knees of 24 patients and left in place for about 70 minutes, until they detached by themselves.

After 7 days, pain scores had improved to a much greater extent in the leeches group than in the diclofenac group.

Moreover, benefits in function, stiffness and total arthritis symptoms were maintained through 91 days of follow-up, the report indicates.

Wow, how’s that?! Leeches better than topical diclofenac! I guess, if you aren’t queasy about having leeches hanging on your knees and ankles. I will be queasy, believe me. Especially that as I child I was told to stay away from leeches. Until now, I am not scared of spiders and cockroaches, but I still stay away from swaps where leeches normally are.

Do you watch the hit show on ABC, Grey’s Anatomy? There’s one episode (in season 3) there where leeches were used in the treatment of one man’s (I’m not sure if it was) melanoma. The man has some sort of blood clots under the skin at the tip of his nose and fingers.

Watching that particular episode made me cringe from the insides, how much more if I would be the one being treated with them leeches, even for arthritis pain?

Would you agree to treatment with leeches?! I’d rather pop a pill – which is a lot easier for me.

Anyways, findings of the above study of leeches against arthritis pain were reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

According to the study’s authors, the treatment was safe and well tolerated, but leech therapy does carry certain infectious risks.

“But he doubts that the effect was probably anything more than would be seen with a skin irritant.

The more exciting aspect of this work is the potential for the discovery of a novel analgesic agent that could be safely administered without the need for a leech bite.”

So, leech therapy anyone?! Remember it is better than topical diclofenac against arthritis pain.

Source: Pakistan Tribune

[Photo Credit: BBC Health News]

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.