Home Remedies for Arthritis

Modern medical treatments for arthritis are thank¬fully very effective both in minimizing the acute symptoms of pain and swelling, preventing the progressive damage to joints, and most dramati¬cally of all, replacing damaged joints altogether. None, however, are completely effective, and pa¬tients will always have a degree of pain and discom¬fort from their symptoms for which there are probably more home remedies than for any other condition. These range from copper bracelets and bee stings to thrashing the affected joints with nettles. Some of the following home remedies will be well known to those with arthritis but those that are not are well worth a try.

Heat: Hot or warm baths twice a day are life saving for many of those with arthritis. A Jacuzzi is even better for those that can afford it and if they cannot there is always the option of paying a visit to the local health club.

Ice; Sprains and other acute injuries of the muscle are best treated with an ice pack (or packet of frozen peas) wrapped in a towel and applied directly. Heat is an inappropriate remedy here as it encourages the release of fluid from the damaged muscles which then increases the size of the swollen area dramatically. Ice packs are also an appropriate remedy for tennis elbow and similar conditions as described by Judy Swaine, physiotherapist from Essex: 'Oil the skin and place an ice pack over the elbow for five to ten minutes, twice a day. Rest the arm but ensure you can fully straighten the elbow twice a day. If still very painful after seventy-two hours seek further medical help.'

Towels: This remedy is very similar to that recom¬mended for sore throats and here is described by Pauline Caseley from West Sussex. 'First wring out a towel in cold water which should be wrapped around the affected joint and covered with a wool¬len scarf or garment, not too tightly. This should be fastened securely in place. Then put on your pyjamas and go to bed. A gentle heat will begin to permeate the joint comforting and relieving the pain and swelling. Remove in the morning.'

Tape: The tape remedy as described by Professor Paul Dieppe and colleagues from Bristol may be a useful supplementary treatment along with 'quads' exercises for those with osteoarthritis of the knee: 'The principle is that the malalignment of the patella in the knee joint may cause an abnormal distribution of pressures in the knee which is corrected by placing a tape directly over the patella so that it shifted towards the midline.' Specialist advice from a physiotherapist is probably necessary to learn the precise technique, but afterwards it can be applied regularly at home.

Massage: An instinctive reaction to any ache or pain is to massage it, thus improving the circula¬tion and bringing warmth to the affected part. Massage, preferably with the aid of essential oils is an excellent treatment, though interestingly the results always seem much better when someone else is doing it.

Wax: Wax treatments provide wonderful relief for painful and swollen joints in the hands. This Do-It-Yourself recipe comes from an excellent book; "Arthritis: What Really Works" by Dava Sobel and Arthur Klein:

'Melt a couple of packages of canning paraffin in a tall pot to fill it about half way and then mineral oil should be added until it is three-quarters full and the mixture should be stirred well. Next the pot should be removed from the heat and left to cool until a light skin forms over the paraffin. Then keeping the fingers slightly apart dip one hand and wrist in quickly and out again. The paraffin should be allowed to dry slightly between dips which should be repeated about ten times. The hands should then be covered with a plastic bag and wrapped with a warm towel left on for twenty minutes during which time the hand should be kept still or alternatively hand exercises can be performed in the soothing heat. The paraffin should then be peeled off and saved for use another time. The process should then be repeated on the other hand and when finished the hands and fingers should be massaged with the mineral oil that remains on the skin.'

Diet: Arthritis, like any other condition, may be relieved or exacerbated by certain foods, though which foods are relevant for which individuals can really only be found by trial and error. Fish, par¬ticularly oily fish, is thought to be particularly beneficial while the exclusion of dairy foods, toma¬toes and white potatoes from the diet can some¬times bring dramatic relief.

In addition some people find their arthritis made better or worse by the most unlikely of foods as the following two accounts illustrate. It is well worthwhile to be on the lookout for similar situa¬tions. Mr. Andrew Stronach from Kent suffered from chronic low back pain and lumbago for a period of ten years. He had been advised by two separate specialists that he would need to have an operation to relieve the pressure on the nerves in the spinal cords which were responsible for his symptoms. He noticed on reading The Times one day a reader's letter which claimed that many people had experienced lumbago as a result of eating lettuce:

'As I had suffered the torture of the damned on and off for over ten years I decided to stop eating the stuff. No more pain, no more stiffness! A look back at the events of the past proved convincing. I had first had the problem while on an artillery exercise during National Service when, for some reason, we had been given lettuce every day for a fortnight – rare enough to be memorable. Since then I only suffered when living with my wife or my mother both of whom always gave me regular salads (when living on my own I never bothered). Subsequently I have been free of pain except for those few occasions when I have succumbed to temptation and eaten lettuce. Even a leaf in a sandwich can give me the odd twinge the next day. The symptoms are definitely not psychoso¬matic nor am I a believer in alternative medicine. I just happened to be lucky enough to have found the cause of something that was wrecking my life. I wonder how many others are not so lucky.'

CBD Oil And Arthritis – A Real Treatment?


The free radicals play an essential role in homeostasis, which is the capacity of the body to maintain healthy internal equilibrium when they ate exposed to external or environmental factors. These molecules are reactive and unstable, meaning they can lead to the deterioration of cells. For a person with normal body functions, the endocannabinoid system helps the homeostasis process and improves the general duties of the body. However, if this function does not function normally, the patient has to order CBD oil to enhance the responsibilities of this vital system.

Cannabidiol is one of the phytocannabinoids from the hemp plant, which acts on the endocannabinoid system and helps some cells with the immune functions.

Some of the substances from the environment that could be the cause of arthritis are the free radicals from the air, such as tobacco smoke and fats. If you are a smoker and you also have weight problems, then you are probably predisposed to arthritis, and you can consider integrating CBD in your daily diet.

Arthritis is a condition affecting mainly the eldest population, and it is usually associated with obesity and heart problems. All these diseases are the effect of free radicals, which can also lead to other severe medical conditions.

It is possible for the patient not to know that he has arthritis, as the pains associated with this condition can easily be blamed on something else. However, the immune system signals that there is a problem by releasing antibodies to fight with free radicals. This is an autoimmune response that could be easily helped with CBD.

CBD and arthritis

CBD is safe for people of all ages, and it can prevent the oxidative stress and degradation of cells. Cannabidiol has anti-inflammatory properties that would prevent damage to the blood vessels.

CBD can help people with arthritis in different ways. First, it will fight the very cause of this condition, but it will also ease the pains and other side effects of this disease. The best way is to take it as oil and to integrate it with your daily meals, but there is also the possibility to buy topical creams and other hemp extracts that could help you with this problem externally.

Cons of taking CBD for arthritis

Some patients taking CBD believe this is enough, and they renounce their conventional medical treatment. Well, you can do that if you live in the USA where you can get cannabinoids as medical treatments. In other countries such as the UK, you can only take CBD oil as a completely natural method for the medical therapies designed to cure arthritis.

There are no significant side effects of CBD, besides the deceiving impression that it is enough. There are not enough studies to fully understand how they work, so you should consult your doctor to determine how you can integrate cannabinoids in your diet without affecting other treatments that you are following.

Start with a small dosage of cannabinoids daily and increase the dose as you get results. It is possible for one brand of hemp extracts not to work for you, so you might need to try several brands before deciding which is the best CBD oil for arthritis.

Book Review: Arthritis: Fight it with the Blood Type Diet

The cover of the paperback book that I purchased, Arthritis: Fight It with the Blood Type Diet, written by Peter D'Adamo, a naturopathic physician, has these words visibly placed right in the center: "The individualized plan for defeating the pain of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other inflammatory conditions."

I would imagine that a lot of people suffering from the debilitating pain caused by these all-too-common diseases might be interested to learn more about an individualized plan like that!

A slim volume and a short read

At the beginning of the book the author devotes about thirty pages to what he calls a basic primer regarding blood type and arthritis. This covers the dynamics of arthritis, with descriptions of various arthritic diseases; the blood type – arthritis connection; and fighting arthritis with conventional and blood type therapies. All of this information seemed to be pretty general in nature.

Since Dr. D'Adamo doesn't offer really anything in the way of clinical trials or other scientific evidence, it didn't take long for me to get to the hub of the book, which is the charts he has compiled telling the reader the good, bad and the ugly as far as food choices to follow for the person's blood type.

Approximately 50% of the population is blood type O, about 40% is blood type A, and the other10% of the population is somehow divided between blood types B and AB. I am blood type A, so that is the information that interested me.

The blood type A food charts

As I studied the food charts, the first thing that I noticed is that they are very easy to interpret. There are eleven categories for foods, such as meat/poultry; fish/seafood; dairy/eggs, etc. Within each of these categories the foods are listed under five headings: super beneficial; beneficial; neutral: allowed frequently; neutral: allowed infrequently, and avoid. He also has suggestions for supplements and exercises, and then offers a 4-week success strategy plan.

What jumped out at me

There were quite a few surprises. First, many of the foods that I have discovered to be troublesome for me are in the avoid group. These include most meats; aged cheeses; butter; tomatoes; oranges; and aspartame and MSG.

Certain of the foods to avoid surprised me as I hadn't connected them with being a problem. These include clams; crabs; shrimp; smoked salmon; Brazil nuts; cashews; chickpeas; navy beans; kidney beans; wheat germ; cabbage; peppers; potato; rhubarb; bananas; and honeydew melons.

Super beneficial foods for blood type A

Fortunately, I like most of foods that fall in the "most happy" group for blood type A. Some of the super beneficial foods listed are: cod; salmon; trout; olive oil; walnuts; tofu; broccoli; celery; garlic; kale; onions; spinach; Swiss chard; blueberries; cherries; pineapple; watermelon; my favorite spices; and green tea.

My conclusion

The verdict is out for me as to the validity of the information in this book, mainly because the author doesn't give any supporting data as to why foods are listed as beneficial or to be avoided.

Quite a bit of the information from the food charts did ring true to me, however, and because of that I plan to do some experimentation of my own by including and then excluding certain foods at different times. I would like to see for myself if by doing so I can actually tell the difference about how I feel.

Dr. D'Adamo does caution people to discuss dietary changes with their physician, and to continue on their doctor's regimen rather than stopping that in favor of just making dietary changes.

I purchased this book from amazon.com at a time when I was ordering other books and qualified for free shipping. Since it is only $6.99, you would do well to just buy it at a bookstore unless you were ordering other items online.

If, however, you are planning to purchase the DVDs from amazon.com that I reviewed just prior to this book review, i.e. Movie Review: Flywheel, Facing the Giants and Fireproof, then this little paperback by Dr. D'Adamo could be tucked into that order so that you could then get free shipping.

As always, the individual reader must reach his or her own conclusions and act accordingly.

The Contributor has no connection to nor was paid by the brand or product described in this content.

Is it Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis?

As we age, most of us will experience some osteoarthritis. It is simply the degeneration of joints and loss of cartilage due to wear and tear. It is painful and can lead to loss of use of a joint over many years. Pain medications, supplements and therapy are used to combat the effects of osteoarthritis, along with surgery in many cases to replace worn joints. Osteoarthritis generally does not require aggressive and early treatment to slow the progression of the disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an altogether different condition that also affects the joints, as well as the entire body. It is classified as an inflammatory autoimmune disease. It does require aggressive and early treatment to avoid joint deformity. Left untreated, rheumatoid disease will, in most cases, leave the patient with deformity of hands, elbows, knees and feet and permanent disability. Unlike osteoarthritis, it can strike at any age, even in childhood.

Since I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, people have often asked me how it differs from osteoarthritis. People who are experiencing their own aches and pains are curious as to how my symptoms compare with theirs. Usually, they are relieved to know that their symptoms are not the same as mine, since rheumatoid disease treatment is much more complex and aggressive.

Rheumatoid disease, also known as crippling arthritis, happens when an overactive immune system mistakenly attacks the fluid surrounding the joints, causing inflammation, fever, bone destruction, muscle atrophy and intense pain. Rheumatoid disease is a systemic inflammation meaning it can affect all areas of the body, including the heart, lungs and kidneys. It is chronic and requires medication for the rest of your life, in most cases. And, yes, it is quite likely that a person with rheumatoid disease will also have osteoarthritis, as I do.

In my case, I noticed some unusual, severe and persistent pain in certain joints over the months preceding the acute onset of the rheumatoid disease. Along with the pain, I was experiencing intense fatigue and some weight loss. When the disease struck in full force, it was seemingly overnight and extremely acute. I was reduced to being unable to pull myself out of bed or dress myself without help. My hands and wrists became virtually useless in less than 48 hours.

My wrists and hands were very swollen, painful and felt hot to the touch. I had zero gripping strength so that even holding a toothbrush was excruciating and next to impossible. I couldn’t open a bottle or a car door. It felt like both of my wrists and hands had been crushed. My feet were also affected but to a lesser degree. Rheumatoid arthritis is usually bilateral, affecting the same joints on both sides of the body, often in multiple sets of joints.

Frightened and baffled as to what could be wrong with me, I went to an urgent care facility on a Sunday morning and they immediately suspected rheumatoid disease and quickly arranged an appointment with a rheumatologist within the next few days. Thankfully, I was treated aggressively with prednisone, methotrexate and a biologic drug, that together over approximately a year brought the disease under reasonable control. I was able stop the prednisone once the biologic drug became effective, at around three months into treatment.

Osteoarthritis will usually progress over time but will not affect other parts of the body. The joint will not become deformed but may produce some calcification causing enlargement and loss of movement. If left untreated, rheumatoid disease can rapidly progress from swelling and intense pain to bone erosion, joint deformity and loss of use.

Permanent joint damage from rheumatoid disease can occur within the first year, so seeing a rheumatologist quickly is a good idea. In my case, early medical intervention got the disease under control within a few months and helped prevent possible permanent disability.

Living with Juvenile Arthritis

Juvenile arthritis is something that I was born with so pain is a normal part of my life. When I was 25, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I did not change my life nor worry about the future, as I needed to live in the reality.

Like many Americans, I do not have insurance, which means I cannot get prescription medications without paying a steep price. Even when I had insurance, and could afford the medications, they really did not help me out as the doctor claimed they would.

Yes, this disability does limit me at times especially in the early morning when I am stiff or at the end of the day when I have simply done too much walking or work. I can sit maybe for an hour before the pain becomes unbearable. I can only be on my feet for an hour before my feet start to hurt. It is how my body works. I realize this and rest when needed.

Yes, that I could get Social Security disability however, I know that I am still able to work and bring in money to support my family as a single mom. I work from home, this way I can sit or stand whenever I have to.

I learned long ago that life is always painful when it is damp. Sometimes I work through the pain, but it always gets worse until I get my legs warm once more. I simply need to sit down with my legs covered in a blanket to keep my joints warm to keep the pain at a minimum.

Yes having rheumatoid arthritis does interfere with intimacy, as it hurts to be in some positions. Right now it does not matter as I am single, but when I am involved in a relationship the intimacy parts of the relationship suffer because of the RA. I realize this and this is why I choose to be single.

I have often heard getting more exercise will ease the pain. However as anybody that has any form of arthritis will tell you, some days are painful enough that exercise is the farthest thing from your mind. Those are the days to kick back, cuddle under a blanket, and endure the pain.

Losing weight is often rumored to help ease the pain. I have not found that to be the case. When your bones hurt, they hurt. They hurt as much when I weighted 140 as they did when I weight 235.

I have noticed that when I changed my diet to low salt and quit eating a lot of red meat I did began to feel better throughout my body not just with the arthritis but also with everything. When you put garbage in your body, you are going to get a rundown feeling. Now days I eat healthier foods that are rich in calcium, low in fat and salt and this seems to help with this pain of arthritis.

I know someday my body will seize up and quit working as the rheumatism cripples my body. So far, I have no crippled areas. I thank God for that every day. I still need to move around and do what I need to do in order to survive. I cannot function as needed if I am crippled. I know that someday I will be in a wheelchair but I am not ready to slow down yet.

Book Review: Living with Arthritis: Everything You Need to Know by John Marcus Thompson

Depending on which Doctor you ask, I have either Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus. The symptoms are extremely similar for both…and the results are not far off each other either. They are both autoimmune diseases and are treated with the same drugs, so I don’t sweat the discrepancy at all. As a result though, I find myself pouring over Internet sites and various local bookstores for more info on both. I’ve skimmed many a book and Living With Arthritis: Everything You Need to Know caught my attention enough to go ahead and purchase.

Living With Arthritis is written by a Rheumatologist named John Marcus Thompson. What he promises in the forward is to tell you things that your own doctor probably won’t. That’s how he nabbed me. I want to know it all. I want to know what to expect both worst case and best case. Unfortunately, Thompson didn’t really deliver as promised. I learned little new, and got some conflicting info from this book… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Thompson covers all the various forms of Arthritic ailments, both inflammatory and non-inflammatory. He tries to cover as much ground as possible on what you can expect to happen with each, various symptoms, but all he manages to do in many instances is talk himself in circles, never really nailing himself down to an answer. This is very frustrating. Granted, I may know more than most already with the amount of time I’ve spent scouring the web so perhaps that’s why he had no new info for me… but I don’t really think that’s it at all… he just seems to skim the surface.

He goes over the various tests that should be run, but aren’t always followed through. Here’s where the first glaring discrepancy happened. With regards to Lupus he mentions the Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Test. Now, the vast majority of what I’ve found is that the ANA is not anywhere near reliable. Some Lupus patients go 20 years without a high ANA. It seems to be that for the most part a high ANA is a good indicator of Lupus, but a normal ANA is not an indicator that the patient is Lupus-free. Thompson makes the statement that the ANA comes out negative in only 5% of the cases. Huh? Just does not jive with everything else I’ve read on the subject at all… which makes me a bit leery about everything else in this book.

The other thing he goes over is various medications and treatment modes for each diagnosis. This was great the first two chapters…but it gets redundant fast. Since so many of the various Arthritic problems use the same drugs, he repeats himself every single time. I kinda saw this as ‘book padding.’ heh. He only needed to describe each drug once… what they do, what the contraindicators are, and side effects. Then he could refer to that section over and over. But no. Typed out in full countless times. Ugh.

He does have a very easy writing style though and he does not talk over anyone’s head in this. It’s easily understandable by us laymen. Any term he does use that may be confusing is fully explained. The one thing I did learn was that a pain I was having around my right ovary is actually indicative of further hip degeneration. That was extremely helpful in itself and worth the price of the book.

I guess I’m going to go with 3 stars for Living With Arthritis, and say that it is a good place to start if you’ve been recently diagnosed, or suspect that you may have an Arthritic condition. I do caution you to not believe everything that is in print though, do further digging and compare notes… but I’d advise that on any research…

Managing Arthritis

Two forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, plague their victims each day with pain, stiffness, and sometimes deformities. Learning to manage the pain is imperative to living life with arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by limited joint movement and pain associated with activity, as well as stiffness and occasional swelling. In advanced stages, deformity can occur. A person suffering from osteoarthritis may noticing a grinding sensation in their joints as they move about. Osteoporosis (bone loss) and obesity may contribute to the disease. Also, weather conditions may affect the severity of pain and stiffness.

Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage breaks down within joints, causing bone to rub against bone. This occurs over time. A person affected will notice an increase in pain and stiffness as the day wears on.

Although there is no cure, there is treatment that is available. Your physician will assess how severe your case is and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Depending on how much damage has occurred and how much pain the patient is in will depend on the level of treatment. Your physician may prescribe an exercise program to keep joints mobile. Also, if you are overweight, he may suggest losing weight to help reduce symptoms. Heat and cold therapy as well as medications may also be used to alleviate symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by some of the same symptoms, such as joint pain, swelling and stiffness. A victim of RA may also experience fatigue, fever, and decreasing appetite. RA usually affects the wrists, hands, elbows, shoulders, knees, and ankles. It occurs when the immune system attacks itself. Rheumatoid arthritis is not only limited to the joints. It can also affect the body's organs. With time, RA can be crippling.

If rheumatoid arthritis is suspect, your physician may order a lab test to search for 'rheumatoid factor,' an antibody. It is found in 80% of people diagnosed with the disease. Your physician will also examine your joints to see if they are swollen or tender. If he finds RA to be the culprit, he will suggest treatment. The earlier you begin treatment, the quicker you can prevent further damage to your joints. Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers may be prescribed as well as medications to slow joint destruction. When the disease flares up, you may take Corticosteroid injections to quickly alleviate the symptoms. These may be taken at certain intervals to control acute discomfort. The goal is to control pain, maintain joint health, and prevent permanent disability.

Living with arthritis isn't always easy, but by working hand in hand with your physician you can learn to manage your pain and discomfort. To maintain muscle strength and to keep your joints active, you may want to incorporate a regular exercise program. Be sure to check with your physician first as he will know just how much and what type of exercise you need. Swimming is an excellent exercise if you're experiencing pain in your knees, ankles, and hips. Your doctor may prescribe exercises that stretch, strengthen, and condition your muscles. If you find that stress aggravates your symptoms, you'll need to find a way to alleviate stress. Listening to soothing music, taking an evening stroll, or finding an activity that is enjoyable may help.

If you find that certain activities at work aggravate your arthritis, it may be time to mention it to your employer. It's possible you can tailor your activities at work at different intervals so they won't stress your joints as much. Rearranging your work space may be an option to prevent reaching. Make sure you're aware of activities that aggravate your symptoms.

Awareness can help you control your pain. It may be time to enlist help of friends and family members for your more difficult tasks. Also, make sure you take breaks throughout the day to stretch out your limbs. You may also be advised to make changes in your diet to help control your pain. A healthy diet low in salt, cholesterol, and saturated fats, and high in fiber and complex carbohydrates will go a long way to helping you maintain your health. Also, vitamin D and calcium are important for joint and bone health as well. And make sure you talk to your doctor about any changes, worsening of pain, that occur. He may be able to change your treatment to suit you better.

Today, almost 70 million people in the US are victims of arthritis. 1% of the American population are affected by rheumatoid arthritis. It is more common and severe in women than men. Twenty million people are victims of osteoarthritis. Arthritis usually begins affecting people from the age of 30-50, however, it can strike at any age. The main thing is to have regular checkups to keep your doctor aware of any changes, and to follow his advice about managing your pain and treatment.

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Of the many different forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is probably thought to be one of the worst, because the joints swell, and become deformed-making it difficult to walk or perform some of the simplest tasks. RA is different from osteoarthritis (OA), in that OA is caused by wear and tear on the joints. RA is caused by inflammation, and is believed to be an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the synovial tissue that lines the joints. It is not fully known what causes the immune system to attack the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women, than in men. It manifests between the ages of 20 and 50; however RA can strike young children and seniors over 50 also. RA is not curable; however, by making lifestyle changes and following your doctor's treatment plan most people live long productive lives. It is believed that the inflammatory process may be triggered by an infection. Certain genes may be sensitive to the bacteria or viruses. If the gene becomes sensitive to the organisms, the immune system may then be activated to attack the synovial membranes. Since women are more at risk to develop RA, it is believed the hormone, estrogen is a factor. In women, the symptoms get worse as she gets older, but then after the age of 80, her symptoms begin to be less severe. Smoking also seems to be a factor; it seems that the symptoms in people who smoke regularly are more severe than in those who don't.

The signs and symptoms of RA are: low grade fever; painful joints; swelling-leading to deformed joints; pain and stiffness of muscles; immobility of joints; fatigue and generalized malaise. When RA first begins, you may experience pain and swelling of the hands, wrists and knees. As RA continues to spread throughout the body, you may experience pain and stiffness in the jaw, neck, shoulders and hips. RA seems to affect both sides of the body equally, where in OA, the arthritis symptoms are felt where wear and tear are the worst. RA causes small lumps (nodules) to form at pressure points under the skin of your hands, feet, elbows and Achilles tendons. These nodules can also form in the lungs, scalp and on the knee. RA nodules vary in size from 0.25 cm to 2.5 cm, but they usually do not cause any pain or discomfort.

Rheumatoid Arthritis does not only affect joints, as osteoarthritis does. RA causes inflammation to the salivary and tear glands, the linings to the heart and lungs, and also the blood vessels. It is a chronic progressive disease that varies in severity. The signs and symptoms become much more severe during flare-ups. The patient may have periods of remission followed by increased inflammatory action, called flares. The deformity of the joints caused by synovial swelling may limit flexibility and movement of the joints.

If you haven't been diagnosed with RA and you have painful joints on both sides of your body, or if you are being treated and have side effects to your medications, see your doctor for an evaluation. The side effects of medications that treat RA can be quite bothersome with drowsiness, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, and black tarry stools. Your doctor may order tests, and scans to diagnose or rule out the presence of RA. A blood test, called an ESR-also known as sed rate-measures the sedimentation rate of erythrocytes (red blood cells), which is an indicator of RA. Patients with RA tend to have elevated ESRs and people with OA tend to have normal ESRs.

The medications most commonly used to treat RA are NSAIDs, such as Advil, Anaprox, Aleve and others; and another group of meds called COX-2 inhibitors. Which is another class of NSAIDs that is easier on the stomach-one such medication is Celebrex. COX-2 inhibitors have to be given with caution, even though they are easier on the stomach, they can in some patients cause high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and heart attacks. The COX-2 inhibitor, Viox, had adverse side effects related to strokes and heart attacks and was taken off the market.

Medications for short term, such as corticosteroids, may be used. However, corticosteroids become less effective when used over a long period of time. There are serious side effects associated with steroids-leading to bone thinning, weight gain, round face, and the onset of diabetes. It is believed that Rheumatoid arthritis patients may be at a higher risk to develop osteoporosis and heart disease, which may be attributed to the use of corticosteroids to treat RA. The inflammatory process of RA in the cardiovascular system may also play a role in the development of heart disease.

To limit bone damage in patients with RA, physicians prescribe disease modifying antirhumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as Plaquenil, Ridaura and Rhematrex. It may take several weeks for improvement to be noticeable. There are other drugs that work to suppress the immune system. Due to serious side effects-higher rate of infections of the respiratory system-they are used with extreme caution.

Surgery is an option for people suffering with joint pain, in the form of joint replacement. Once the arthritic joint is removed the pain will be relieved, when healing has taken place. Another option to patients with severe pain is a treatment in which the blood is cleansed of the antibodies that causes the inflammation of RA. This treatment is called the Prosorba column treatment. This treatment is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, heart or clotting problems.

If you are trying to maintain care at home, follow your doctor's plan of care, exercise regularly, eat healthy and control your weight. Apply heat when necessary to ease pain, and apply cold packs for the flare-ups. It helps to practice relaxation techniques to control pain and discomfort. The mind controls the body; try to keep a positive outlook. Changing your attitude to be more positive changes how you relate to pain. Pain is always worse when we cry or get upset. Use whatever assistive devices you need to take stress off your joints. If you believe a cane or walker will help you, ask your doctor to prescribe the items you need. Your insurance may help pay for these items.

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is no respecter of persons. There's evidence that it's hereditary, but in my case, I was the first member of my family to be afflicted with RA. It hit me like a sledgehammer. I'd had the odd aches and pains – I was 44, and I lived in Cornwall, England, which is a very beautiful county, but also a very damp county, and the damp used to head straight for my knees. However, I wasn't prepared for the suddenness and severity with which RA made its presence felt.

I had a great job, working as an Airline Catering Supervisor at Plymouth Airport. I sat down to lunch with my colleagues a reasonably fit woman. Half an hour later, I went to stand up to go back to work and couldn't move. Every joint in my body had downed tools and stopped working. In the weeks that followed, I felt they'd never work again.

The reason I was hit so badly and so quickly was that I had a combination of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, which my Rheumatology Consultant dubbed 'Rupus.' RA affects the joints, and Lupus, put simply, is like RA of the organs, so it was a double whammy that hit me, and my body just wasn't ready for it.

After many painful months, when I was mostly housebound, my medical team arrived at a balance of drugs which allowed me to lead a reasonably pain-free existence. That's the real downer with RA – you're on drugs for the rest of your life, and some of the drugs have side effects, which you need other drugs to counteract. For someone who'd hardly ever popped a pill in her life, this took some getting used to, I can tell you.

While you're going through the test and treatment stage, you have a lot of pain, but at least you're kept busy with appointments and things. Once the medication is balanced, you have time to think about your condition, and that's when the 'Why Me?' stage kicks in. I'm not proud of it now, but I 'Why Me'd' for England! I was 44, with a good job, a happy marriage and everything to look forward to. All of a sudden, it looked as if I'd never be fit for work again, and the future held nothing but pain and pill popping.

Luckily for me, the charity Arthritis Care chose Plymouth to road test it's new Arthritis Management Course, and my doctor said it had come at just the right time to save my sanity. (And his – I was a very bad patient!) I went along with some misgivings – I'm sceptical by nature, and I couldn't see how anyone could talk me out of my RA, because that's all they were going to do was talk, right? Wrong!

The course was run by specially trained RA patients, so they knew the problems we all faced on a daily basis. The course leader's first words were. 'I bet every one of you has said 'Why Me?' But now I want you to say 'Why Not Me?' There's nothing special about us, except that having RA allows us to do things other people can only dream of doing.'

That opening gambit set the tone of the course, and turned my life with RA around. We were asked to make two lists that first day. The first list was entitled, 'Things I can no longer do because of RA.' My personal list comprised – take long walks; work for my living; go to the gym; jump out of bed in a morning.

I was hoping to return to the workforce at that stage, but my doctor had advised against the long weekend hikes we enjoyed, and visits to the gym, as that would place too much stress on my joints. And anyone with RA will tell you how excruciatingly painful it can be to perform the simple task of getting out of bed when your joints just don't want to co-operate.

The second list was, 'Things I've always wanted to do, but earning a living got in the way.' This list was longer – write articles and poems, read more books, travel, study for a degree, make my own jams and pickles, travel around Europe.' The body may have gone on strike, but the mind was ready for new challenges, and that day I started to realise that instead of fighting RA, I had to call a truce with it and work out a way we could live together. After all, it was 'Til death us do part,' even though I hadn't taken the vow in front of the minister.

Well, the rest, as they say, is history. I studied for my degree – not being one to do things by halves, I doubled up and got a BA and an MA. I did the reading, the preserve making and the trips around Europe. In the last couple of years, I've published a lot of writing on the internet, and also landed a job as a content editor for a website. The great thing is, I do all this work from home, so there's never a day when I have to call in sick.

Two years ago, we sold up in England and moved to the Costa Blanca in Spain. We live near the salt lakes of Torrevieja, which is the healthiest place in the world for people with arthritis and breathing problems. As the Lupus mainly affects my lungs, I'm now living in the best place for my condition. My joints are better here, so I can swim and walk again, as long as I stick to level routes so as not to put a strain on my lungs or knees.

Given the choice, I'd obviously prefer not to have RA, but that's not an option. Since I learned to stop fighting the disease, and live within the limitations it imposes on me, life has been so much better and happier. Living with RA is like any other live-in relationship – to get the best from the situation, you have to make compromises and lower your expectations a little.

Septic Arthritis: What is it and What Causes It?

Septic Arthritis is a disease of the joints. All the joints in the body contain synovial fluid, which is a jelly like substance that functions as a lubricant. This fluid becomes an ideal location for bacterial and viral attacks. When a disease-causing microbe attacks any of the joints, it may lead to the formation of sepsis, which is a painful condition. This painful infection of the joints is medically referred to as Septic Arthritis.

Possible causes of septic arthritis.

Generally, Septic Arthritis starts with some joint injury. The condition is completely curable with antibiotics, and proper care. But there is a complicated variant of septic arthritis. This variant is caused by pathogens that are actually responsible for other primary illnesses. The pathogens causing an illness can eventually affect the joints as well. This secondary infection hampers the body’s movement because joints start hurting. Therefore, it is essential that the primary infection should be treated quickly.

Symptoms of septic arthritis

Septic arthritis symptoms are similar to many other infections. The patient suffers with high fever, severe chills, joint stiffness, and general weakness. In addition to these, there is swelling and redness at the joint that is tender to touch. The joint feels warmer when compared to the surrounding tissue. Uncontrolled fever, chills and stiffness of the joints are characteristic symptoms of septic arthritis.

How is septic arthritis diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests for septic arthritis start with complete blood count or CBC. In this, the Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) is crucial information. Increased levels of Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, (ESR) generally indicate the invasion of microbes in the body. Apart from the blood tests, an analysis of the synovial fluid (lubricating fluid of the joints) can be done by taking a sample with a needle, from an affected joint. Under laboratory conditions, this sample of synovial fluid is subjected to culture and sensitivity tests. Effectively, these tests enable the pathologists to identify the specific bacteria, viruses, or fungi responsible for the septic arthritis

How is septic arthritis treated?

Following the diagnostic tests, the physician begins treating the patient with antibiotics known to be effective against the pathogens causing the sepsis. The correct antibiotic can be found by doing the culture and sensitivity test. Antibiotics for Septic Arthritis are usually given in combination; the patient may be injected with medication, and also asked to take oral antibiotics. Apart from the antibiotics that control the microbes in the synovial fluid, the patient is also given pain medications, and medication to control fever.


Septic arthritis is a secondary infection caused by disease causing microorganisms and microbes, which enter the fluids of the joints. So, if an infection is detected in the body and treated timely, the joint infection can be controlled with the same medication. If an injury due to accidents is involved, disease causing bacteria enter into the blood stream and into the joints through the wound. Periodical dressing of the wounds using topical antibiotic preparations can help to control microbe invasion and possibly prevent the onset of septic arthritis.