What Is Arthritis?
The word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation” and is often used in reference to rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic diseases include more than 100 conditions, including gout, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and many more. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a rheumatic diseases, affecting about 1 percent of the U.S. population (about 2.1 million people.)
Arthritis causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. Several features distinguish it from other kinds of arthritis:
- Tender, warm, and swollen joints
- Fatigue, sometimes fever, and a general sense of not feeling well.
- Pain and stiffness lasts for more than 30 minutes after a long rest.
- The condition is symmetrical. If one hand is affected, the other one is, too.
- The wrist and finger joints closest to the hand are most frequently affected. Neck, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle, and feet joints can also be affected.
- The disease can last for years and can affect other parts of the body, not only the joints.
Exercise is critical in successful arthritis management. It helps maintain healthy and strong muscles, joint mobility, flexibility, endurance, and helps control weight. Rest, on the other hand, helps to decrease active joint inflammation, pain, and fatigue. For best results, arthritis patients need a good balance between the two: more rest during the active phase of arthritis, and more exercise during remission.2
Nutrition for the Arthritis Patient
Arthritis medications help suppress the immune system and slow the progression of the disease. But for those who prefer an alternative approach, nutrition may provide complementary support. Some evidence shows that nutrition can play a role in controlling the inflammation, and possibly also in slowing the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.
Some foods and nutritional supplements can be helpful in managing arthritis:
- Fatty-acid supplements: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Several studies point to the effectiveness of these fatty acid supplements in reducing joint pain and swelling, and lessening reliance on corticosteroids.4,5
- Deep-sea fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, and halibut, are sources of EPA and DHA. GLA is found in very few food sources, such as black currants and borage seed.
- Turmeric, a spice that’s used to make curry dishes, may also be helpful. A 95 percent curcuminoid extract has been shown to significantly inhibit the inflammatory cascade and provide relief of joint inflammation and pain.
- Ginger extract has been shown to be beneficial in terms of inflammation.
- Nettle leaf extract may inhibit some inflammatory pathways.
- A vegetarian or low-allergen diet can help with the management of rheumatoid arthritis as well.
What Can Your Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
If you suffer from arthritis, your doctor of chiropractic can help you plan an individualized exercise program that will:
- Help you restore the lost range of motion to your joints.
- Improve your flexibility and endurance.
- Increase your muscle tone and strength.
- Allow your body to work the way it was designed by taking pressure off misaligned joints
At West End Chiropractic and Wellness our doctors of chiropractic have helped many patients with arthritis live better lives. If you or someone you know has been dealing with arthritis call us today at (952) 500-8477 to see how we can help. To learn more visit us online at westendchiromn.com