Arthritis - the reason behind your aches and pains?

Do your knees, hips and ankles creak? Do you experience a sharp shooting pain from your shoulder to your elbow? No big deal you might think. However, this should not be taken so lightly as they may not be mere signs of ageing. You could be suffering from arthritis. So what is arthritis one may ask?

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints. It involves the breakdown of cartilage. In normal circumstances, the cartilage protects the joints and allow for easy movement. Additionally, it also helps to absorb shock when pressure is placed on the joint. Without the cartilage, the bones rub against each other causing swelling and stiffness.

First, we should understand the anatomy of a joint. A joint is where two bones are connected to each other. They require a cushion, to stop them grinding against each other. These cushions are called cartilage.These cushions require lubrication, so the joint can move freely, so the joint is contained in a capsule filled with fluid.


 Anatomy of a Joint

The two basic categories of arthritis are

1) Rheumatoid arthritis - where the body's own immune system goes haywire, and starts to attack the synovial membrane. This is the lining of "capsule" which surrounds the joint, and contains the fluid that lubricates the joints)  and

 2) Osteo-arthritis, in which the "rubbery cushions" or cartilage in the joint breaks down, causing the bones to rub against each other 

Within this, there are various types of arthritis, therefore it is important for one to get a proper diagnosis for them to be treated accordingly. The more common types of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus

Pay close attention to symptoms which include joint pain, joint swelling, reduced ability to move the joint, redness and warmth of the skin around a joint and joint stiffness ( mostly in the morning).

Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may experience tremendous pain. Your immune system goes haywire and your joints become swollen or in some cases, even damaged. Fortunately, there are ways to boost your immune system and help to relieve you of the pain. A wealth of treatment options from exercise and alternative supplements to medications are available Doing so helps to minimize joint swelling and discomfort. In extreme cases, there is an option to go for joint replacement surgery.

Pain when not treated can have a tremendous effect on every part of your life. The way you interact with others and how you handle your life. It is a serious problem and should not be ignored. Talk to your doctor if you suspect that you are experiencing any of the symptoms of arthritis.

Preventative measures

It is often said that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”, and of course this is true of arthritis.  You can help yourself in many ways:

1. Exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet
2. Avoid injuries, or activities that may damage your joints
3. Keep your weight down if you are overweight
4. Take supplements that support  the renewal  of cartilage, e.g. Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, SAMe, Celadrin etc.

Living with the pain of Arthritis

Arthritis can cause anything from mild discomfort to crippling pain.  Omega 3 oils, boswellia and curcumin  can help reduce the inflammation that is associated with arthritis.

First, you should try Boswellia, which is very good at reducing inflammation and pain from arthritis

Curcumin, a natural compound found in turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory agent

Bromelain, taken without food at a dose of about 350 milligrams twice daily. can help to decrease inflammation (and pain as a result of that).

Omega-3 Fish oils  inhibits the production of inflammatory compounds in the body.