Do you suffer from stiff, sore, or swollen joints? Do you find it difficult to engage in some of the activities you used to enjoy? Joint pain, stiffness, and soreness affect a significant proportion of the population, and the numbers of individuals suffering from joint pain continues to grow. The most common symptoms of arthritis or inflammatory joint pain are sore, stiff joints (often worse on waking in the morning), pain and stiffness made better with movement, limited range of motion of the affected joint(s), and loss of joint function.
What Causes Arthritis
Although Arthritis is thought to be a result of ‘wear and tear’ on the joints and is associated with increasing age, the underlying cause of arthritis and its associated signs and symptoms remains unknown. The increasing number of young people affected by joint discomfort indicates that factors and causes, other than simply aging, may play a role in the development of an inflammatory joint condition. Other factors to consider in determining the underlying cause of joint pain include nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities and/or allergies, hydrochloric acid deficiency, dehydration, insufficient thyroid function, Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) deficiency, autoimmune disease, and heavy metal toxicity
Arthritis sufferers commonly self medicate with anti-inflammatory non-prescription drugs like Advil or Aspirin. Although these drugs provide temporary pain relief, they are masking the symptom of pain, and DO NOT treat the underlying cause of inflammation. Without any intervention(s), arthritis is usually a progressive health issue and the pain and stiffness will increase over time. Alternatives to traditional anti-inflammatories are available. These alternatives are safer than Aspirin, Advil, and prescription COX-2 inhibitors, are free from dangerous side effects, and generally do not interact with other prescription or non-prescription medications
Joint Pain Self-Care
- Stay hydrated with a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of pure, filtered water daily
- Avoid calcium-depleting beverages (e.g. coffee, black tea, soda pop, high meat diet)
- Include lots of fresh fruits & vegetables (or a green supplement if necessary) to maintain a balanced body pH (an acidic body pH will pull calcium from bones in an attempt to create a less acidic body pH). Animal products and wheat are considered acidic foods, so limit these to infrequent consumption
- Determine unknown food allergies or sensitivities or avoid known food allergens/sensitivities
- Avoid members of the solanacea family: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, green peppers, paprika, cayenne, and tobacco (including second hand smoke)
- Include a daily Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) supplement to reduce inflammation and lubricate joints
- Use plant based proteolytic enzymes (e.g. digestive enzymes, Wobenzyme) in between meals for an anti-inflammatory effect
- Include anti-inflammatory supplements like tumeric, bromelain, or devil’s claw
Keep in mind that although arthritis and inflammatory joint pain are common, and the signs and symptoms are fairly universal, the underlying cause and subsequent treatment is considered and developed on an individual basis. There is no magic bullet for joint pain. Each individual has a unique set of nutritional and lifestyle requirements, and these should be taken into consideration when attempting to treat any health care concern. Work with your Naturopathic Doctor to create a treatment plan that will help you live pain-free.
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