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Dr Sharma Diagnostics



Arthritis


Arthritis is the medical term for inflammation of a joint. Arthritis is divided into acute and chronic, depending on the longevity of the discomfort. Pain may be a dull ache or a sharp and severe pain. The joints may be inflamed and deformed or show no external changes at all.

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the most common forms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease whereby the body attacks its own joints. Autoimmune disease is a huge and different subject.

Osteoarthritis is an ageing process created simply by wear and tear on joints. Individuals who have or had sporting and physically active lives often struggle with osteoarthritis more so than those who are sedentary because of repeated small injuries to the joints.

It is worth noting that studies have shown that smoking worsens arthritis. Another study has shown there is less arthritis in women who wear gold.


Investigations

Conventional Medicine will take blood for inflammatory and autoimmune ‘markers’ and will use x-ray and other scans if necessary to firm up a diagnosis and to help decide which pain killing or anti-inflammatory drugs might be of benefit.

Functional/Integrated medicine tries to look deeper in to the causes and focuses attention on the ‘Leaky Gut’, immune over activity, chronic infection, food allergy/intolerances and the effect that stress and supressed emotions have on immunity.


Acute arthritis

Acute arthritic conditions are triggered by infections such as viruses, bacteria and other parasites but certain drugs and injuries can all cause an acute attack.

There is a frequent association between inflammation of joints and problems in the bowel. There is evidence that mild inflammation in the gut may cause an increased permeability of undigested food molecules through the bowel wall into the bloodstream. It is thought that this leaky gut syndrome may cause the body to trigger an autoimmune response. The body recognizes a protein sequence in an absorbed food and, if it resembles a protein sequence in the joints, antibodies are formed that attack both. This so-called ‘molecular mimicry’ may explain many aspects of autoimmune disease.

Recommendations


General Advice
  • Ice wrapped in a flannel applied to the joint reduces the inflammation temporarily without influencing the healing ability of the body. If ice does not ease the discomfort, try a heated application instead.

  • As a general rule, rest the joint until improvement is certain.

  • Persisting discomfort in a joint should be reviewed by a complementary practitioner with knowledge of osteopathy, chiropractic and especially acupuncture, which can be instantly relieving.

  • Consider investigations to show a leaky gut and food intolerances/allergies.


Herbal/natural extracts
  • Homeopathic remedies such as Arnica if the joint is better for resting or Rhus toxicodendron if the joint is better for motion and warm applications should be used.

  • Application of an Arnica cream several times a day can be beneficial


Orthodox
  • Avoid anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections because these will remove the pain but allow movement, which in turn can increase the damage. Anti-inflammatory treatment can also prevent healing from taking place.

  • Painkillers with low anti-inflammatory effect, such as Paracetamol and acetominophen, may be used to take down the pain. If this and the naturopathic recommendations are not working, then consider using anti-inflammatories.


Chronic arthritis

This is a persistence of pain in a joint or joints. The causes can be loosely divided into: persistence of injury or infection, rheumatoid arthritis, other autoimmune diseases, and osteoarthritis.

Pay special attention to the possibility of food allergies, which should be tested for in all cases of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the progressive decay of joints that is associated with overuse and ageing. All joints will have some evidence of osteoarthritis as we age and all joints will show some stiffness. Treatment can be useful at all stages of arthritis from stiffness to pain.

Recommendations - For all chronic arthritis

General Advice
  • Copper bracelets may be effective but only if the level of copper is normal in the body. Each individual has his/her own normal copper level so a copper bracelet needs to be used with copper supplements to be effective.

  • Wear gold next to the skin in the form of jewellery, such as a wedding ring.

  • Reflexology, especially in conjunction with massage, is beneficial.

  • Yoga and Qi Gong are of long-term benefit.

  • Tai Chi has been shown to improve arthritis, especially in the winter months.

  • Writing about stressful events can reduce the overall disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis. As this has been proven it would suggest that counselling or psychotherapy is likely to help.


Nutritional
  • Chicken cartilage is a Russian treatment. The cartilage from a chicken carcass should be eaten once a day. This includes the mobile part of the breast bone and the cartilage of the wing and leg joints. There is currently no preparation of this and a friendly butcher or chicken farmer needs to be approached.

  • The juice of an avocado daily or eaten whole may be protective.


Supplemental
  • Take selenium (100µg twice a day), vitamin C (1g three times a day), vitamin E (200mg twice a day) and evening primrose oil (2g with each meal). These can all be reduced as improvement is forthcoming.

  • Vitamin B5 and vitamin B3 (both at 25mg per day) can be taken but not at night.

  • Test for hydrochloric acid production in the stomach and, if low, supplement with hydrochloric acid tablets.

  • Carnosine, taken at the dosage recommended on the packaging, may have an anti-inflammatory effect and be beneficial in arthritis.


Homeopathic
  • Homeopathy is undoubtedly useful and the choice of remedy should be made on the symptoms of the arthritis. A homeopathic prescriber is best utilized but attention can be paid to the remedies Rhus toxicodendron, Bryonia, Apis and Pulsatilla.


Herbal/natural extracts
  • Six drops of rosemary and chamomile essential oils can be added to a bath or can be applied directly if mixed into almond oil. Sesame oil can be effective by itself when rubbed in and may be even more effective if the oil is slightly heated with cayenne or ginger.

  • Green-lipped muscle extract, 100mg twice daily.

  • Glucosamine sulphate, 500mg taken with each meal.

  • Chondroitin sulphate, 500mg with each meal. Do not use chondroitin if there is any possibility of having prostate cancer.

  • Methyl-sulphonylmethane (MSM) a potent antioxidant and high sulphur-containing compound has been shown to be beneficial in arthritis.


Peptide therapy

I am very excited by the possibilities held out by this emerging therapy:
http://www.rctherapy.com/cell-therapy/osteoarthritis


Magnetic Therapy

Recent studies indicate that the use of magnetic bands around specific joints as well as possibly the simple use of a magnetic wristband may benefit not only the local joint but also the joints in general.


Far Infra Red Therapy

Please look at the following site for information on this pain relieving therapy; www.get-fitt.com and look at their research page on arthritis. Contact Mr Mark Givert on their number for further advice.

Orthodox
  • Aspirins, NSAIDs and steroids are first-line orthodox treatments and should be left until last because of the high incidence of side effects.

  • A new form of anti-inflammatory known as COX-2 inhibitors are likely to become first choice as they have fewer gastrointestinal side effects than aspirin and NSAIDs.

  • Regenersen is an anti-ageing ‘designer drug’ that is extracted from placenta, pancreas, testes and other tissues and may stimulate protein biosynthesis in degenerative conditions.


Rheumatoid arthritis

This is a chronic autoimmune disease. Quite why it effects some people and not others is in part genetic and mostly of unknown origin. Symptoms and inflammatory changes occur in the body’s connective tissues, predominantly in the joints and related structures. The symptoms, as in any arthritic condition, are of pain, limitation of motion and joint deformities.

Recommendations


General Advice
  • Use the recommendations opposite.

  • Avoid all tobacco, which is a solanum.

  • I have noticed that tea may exacerbate arthritic conditions and should be avoided for three or four weeks and reintroduced as an experiment if an improvement has been noted. If the discomfort returns, then tea may be a culprit.

  • A six-day water-only fast has shown efficacy in acute arthritis affecting chronic sufferers. This should be done under complementary medical supervision.

  • Smokers, especially those smoking more than twenty cigarettes a day, have a much higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis and so they should stop smoking.


Nutritional
  • Avoid members of the solanum plant family, specifically potatoes, peppers and tomatoes.

  • If improvement is not forthcoming, avoid wheat, corn and animal proteins (including cheese, milk and eggs) and consider food allergy testing.


Supplemental
  • Glucosamine sulphate (500mg) can be taken with each meal. Chondrotin (500mg) may be used as well.


Herbal/natural extracts
  • Green tea has been shown to improve symptoms.

  • Methyl-sulphonylmethane (MSM) a potent antioxidant and high sulphur-containing compound has been shown to be beneficial in arthritis.


Orthodox
  • Orthodox treatment is not curative. All drugs are geared towards relieving the pain but not helping to improve the structure of the joint. They should be used only as a last resort.

  • Under medical supervision only, use 10g of fish oil per day. Patients and their clinicians must be aware of a slightly increased risk of brain haemorrhages and the white blood cell count must be monitored. This treatment should only be encouraged in very severe and non-relenting arthritis.

  • If the above do not show improvements, then surgery may be considered as an option for large joints.



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