Arthritis pain. We’re bombarded by television advertisements for pills, creams, copper devices and more created to alleviate or reduce the pain of Arthritis. But, do we know what Arthritis really is, are there multiple types, who gets it, why, and what can we do about it?
What is Arthritis and its symptoms?
Arthritis is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have Arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.
Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years but can progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs.
Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints. (Arthritis.org, n.a.)
Types of Arthritis
There are over 100 types of Arthritis but some of the most common types are: Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Arthritis, Psoriatic or Inflammatory Arthritis, Arthritis from Injury, Rheumatoid and Juvenile Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis – occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down. The wearing down of the protective tissue at the ends of bones (cartilage) occurs gradually and worsens over time. Joint pain in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, or hips is the most common symptom. (Eustice, 2019)
Rheumatoid Arthritis -is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet. In Rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, including joints. In severe cases, it attacks internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis affects joint linings, causing painful swelling. Over long periods of time, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone erosion and joint deformity. (Mayo Clinic, n.a.)
Psoriatic Arthritis or Inflammatory Arthritis – a form of arthritis that affects some people who have the skin condition psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, which may flare and subside. Many people with the condition are affected by morning stiffness. Even mild skin psoriasis can have a significant degree of arthritis. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019)
Arthritis from injury-Post-traumatic arthritis – is caused by the wearing out of a joint that has had any kind of physical injury. The injury could be from sports, a vehicle accident, a fall, a military injury, or any other source of physical trauma. Such injuries can damage the cartilage and/or the bone, changing the mechanics of the joint and making it wear out more quickly. The wearing-out process is accelerated by continued injury and excess body weight. (Cleveland Clinic, 2014)
Juvenile Arthritis – is the term used to describe arthritis, or inflammation of the joints, in children. The most common symptoms of juvenile arthritis are joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that don’t go away. Juvenile arthritis is usually an autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disorder, the immune system attacks some of the body’s own healthy cells and tissues. (NIAMS n.a., 2020)
Who gets Arthritis?
Arthritis is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. Arthritis is more common in women than men and in people who are overweight.
What are the best things we can do to avoid getting Arthritis?
- Stay at a healthy weight. Extra pounds put pressure on weight-bearing joints like hips and knees
- Control your blood sugar
- Avoid injuries
- Quit smoking
- Eat well and get sufficent rest
- Get routine preventive care such as Functional Medicine and Spinal Adjustments
Common treatments for Arthritis
The most common treatments for Arthritis involve medications both oral and topical, prescription and non-prescription. They can be any of the following NSAIDS-Aleve, Motrin, Advil, Counterirritants such as creams or ointments with menthol or capsaicin bases, Biologic Response Modifiers (think Enbrel), or painkillers from Tylenol to Tramadol to OxyContin.
Alternative Therapies for Arthritis without Invasive Treatments of Medications including Functional Medicine, Functional Neurology and Naturopathic Therapies
Functional Medicine seeks to find the core causes of Arthritis and treat these causes reducing or eliminating pain, inflammation and other symptoms. A complete diagnostic panel is completed including blood and other medical tests and a questionnaire to discover food sensitivities, lifestyle, environment, stressors, medical history, medications and much more. Once testing is complete, recommendations can be made as to dietary changes, activity and exercise levels, lifestyle changes, supplementation and naturopathic therapies.
Therapies for the Management of Arthritis pain, inflammation, stiffness and movement
LED Red Light Therapy
Infrared light therapy, or “low-level light” therapy, uses specific wavelengths to stimulate a natural response in human tissue to enhance overall cell performance on a microscopic level. The low-level light energy penetrates painlessly through multiple layers of skin to reach muscles and nerves. Body cells absorb the energy and become more active, and blood flow to the area increases to further support cell regrowth and regeneration. This combination of cell activity and circulation works to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis.
Low-pressure Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric chamber treatment, through the de-inflammatory and reparative action of healing, angiogenesis and osteogenesis improves immunological function, reduces edema and pain.
Hyperthermic Ozone and Carbonic Acid Treatment
In the treatment of arthritis, ozone therapy is making recovery faster. As they start feeling better, the state of mind of patients also improves. This enables them to return to their day-to-day activities earlier, which increases their quality of life. Also, because it does not involve the use of drugs, ozone therapy has no side effects. All of this explains why ozone therapy is increasingly being used for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and conditions with chronic inflammation such as arthritis. In fact, it is also being used to treat other disorders such as herniated discs, lower back pain and cervicalgia. It is a quick, effective and painless technique.
Low frequency pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) can provide noninvasive, safe and easy to apply method to treat pain, inflammation and dysfunctions associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) and PEMF has a long-term record of safety. The use of PEMF for arthritis has conclusively shown that PEMF not only alleviates the pain in the arthritis condition but it also affords chondroprotection, exerts anti-inflammatory action and helps in bone remodeling and can is a viable therapy for arthritis.
To learn more call Michigan Health and Wellness for a FREE consultation. Functional Medicine, Functional Neurology, and their relation to the treatment of symptoms of the many types of Arthritis are managed by our clinical director, Dr. Tony Aboudib, DC. Dr. Aboudib attended post-graduate studies at Carrick Institute for graduate studies in clinical neuroscience, American Functional Neurology Institute, Functional Medicine University, Institute of Functional Medicine and Kharrazian Institute for graduate studies.
For more information call 231-421-5213 or learn more about therapies listed above on our Services We Offer page.
Arthritis. (2020, n.a.) Retrieved from https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis
Eustice, Carol. (2019) An overview of degenerative arthritis. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-degenerative-arthritis-189342
Mayo Clinic. (n.a., 2020) Osteoarthritis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019). Psoriatic Arthritis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354076
Cleveland Clinic. (2014). Post-Traumatic Arthritis. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14616-post-traumatic-arthritis
NIAMS. (n.a. 2020) Juvenile Arthritis. Retrieved from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/juvenile-arthritis#:~:text=Juvenile%20arthritis%20is%20the%20term,is%20usually%20an%20autoimmune%20disorder