Archive for the ‘Osteoarthritis’ Category


Osteoarthritis: A Complicated Disease That’s Hard to Treat

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Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It affects more than 20 million Americans and that figure is going to increase with the graying of the Baby Boomer population.

Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects the cartilage, the gristle that caps the ends of long bones in the joint.

It is difficult to detect early in humans and the processes that lead to cartilage destruction are poorly understood.

There are different schools of thought as to whether osteoarthritis is primarily a cartilage disorder or whether it is a bone disorder that eventually leads to cartilage damage. As a result of several studies using a variety of animal models, it appears that both theories may play a role.

Another area of scientific interest is the synovial macrophage, a scavenger white blood cell that originates in the lining of the joint. This cell appears to drive much of the destructive inflammatory change seen in osteoarthritis.

Another area of interest centers around the phenomenon of oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species, a group of chemicals that accelerate destruction, are apparently in abundant supply in osteoarthritic cartilage. This is because the levels of scavengers of reactive oxygen species – these scavengers serve to protect against the ravages of oxidative stress- are low. Therefore, the more oxidative stress, the greater chance for cartilage cell damage and the subsequent onset of osteoarthritis.

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Another area of interest in the study of osteoarthritis has focused on the role of destructive enzymes. These enzymes include cathepsin K, aggrecanases, and metalloproteinases.

Specially bred mice who have abnormal levels of the above enzymes show a significant propensity to develop abnormalities in bone, cartilage, and synovium.

Other factors that influence cartilage integrity include growth factors such as transforming growth factor beta, bone morphogenic protein, insulin growth factor, and fibroblast growth factor, to name a few.

It is clear that regardless of all the complexity, the development of osteoarthritis is due to an imbalance that occurs between cartilage cell growth and cartilage cell death. Most studies have demonstrated that age causes cartilage to become less responsive to growth factors.

Multiple attempts have been made at developing pharmaceutical agents that modify the biochemical abnormalities described above. Because animal models of osteoarthritis are so different across species, it has been difficult to establish standards for determining true efficacy.

As a result, these attempts have met with little success. Translation of benefit to humans also appears to be a daunting task.

So what can be done?

It’s pretty evident that osteoarthritis is a complicated problem. To date, any type of pharmaceutical agent which has purported effects for slowing down cartilage damage does not really work.

The search for the Holy Grail continues. Most recently, there has been work down on using biologic strategies involving matrix elements supplemented with autologous stem cells (a patient’s own stem cells). While still too early to determine the extent and duration of improvement, the early findings are promising.


Natural Remedies For Osteoarthritis Pain Relief

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A very common type of arthritis called osteoarthritis is now one of the illnesses that are greatly affecting millions of people all over the world. This illness is commonly caused by damage in the cartilages located between the bones, particularly the knee and hip bones. These accumulated damages triggers pain and swelling in the affected joints. When the condition is not given proper treatment there will be a loss of cartilage which will eventually lead to damages to the bones. When the bones are damaged, mobility of the joint is greatly affected. Accumulated damage to the bones can then lead to damages in the muscles surrounding the bones. These complications can be avoided if the illness is treated as early as possible. There is no known cure for osteoarthritis; however, there are natural remedies for osteoarthritis pain relief.

There are several medicines that have been introduced for arthritis which are meant to lessen the pain and avoid further complications. These medicines are not intended to cure the illness as mentioned earlier there is no known cure for it. Osteoarthritis is irreversible. Once a person experiences it, it becomes a part of his or her system. The only thing that can be done is to avoid the occurrences and ease the pain and throbbing. Severe cases of osteoarthritis may sometimes lead to the need for surgery. Oftentimes, it is the joints or the bones that are being replaced because of too much degeneration.

Natural remedies for osteoarthritis pain relief are deemed safer compared to taking in medicines as too much medication can have negative effects to the system.

The problem with natural remedies for osteoarthritis pain relief is the reliability as there is no scientific proof to support the efficacy of the natural alternatives. This pushes people to experiment with many types of remedies until they find one that suits their needs. Several treatments are also often based on the testimonies of people close to the person inflicted with the illness. The pain caused by osteoarthritis is said to be minimized by increasing the flow of blood and allowing the muscle to relax.

  • Acupuncture, for example, is known to be very effective in manipulating the energy flow of the body and improve the condition of the muscle, bones and joints. This method is one of the most effective natural remedies for relieving the pain of osteoarthritis.
  • Massage is also very helpful, together with other herbal remedies and herbal liniments and oils.

Home Remedies For Osteoarthritis Pain

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There are many different types of arthritis, and osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis. This condition affects the bone joints in the body, especially those joints which bear weight including the hand, hip, spine and knees. It is a degenerative disease that results from changes in the joint cartilage structure which is meant to function as the shock absorber or padding of the joints.

The symptoms of the disease are joint pain, stiffness, warmth, swelling and deformation. This disease can affect all or specific parts of the body. There is no established cure for Osteoarthritis but there are remedies which can significantly reduce the symptoms and pain. Here are some natural remedies you can prepare at home and some tips to reduce the pain.

  • Lifestyle Changes. As much as possible do not involve yourself in any activity that requires you to strain joints with unwanted stress. No matter which part of the body is affected, it is best to not tax your body in anyway.
  • Rest. If the person is suffering from acute inflammation then they must rest otherwise the pain aggravates. A little rest can greatly reduce the pain
  • Exercise. Regular exercise can go a long way in reducing arthritis pain significantly, according to health experts. The exercise builds muscle strength which also helps make the joints stronger. It also relieves stress and reduces he pain. You should consult your doctor before you start exercising as they can tell you what will work best in your condition.
  • Healthy Diet. You must avoid food items which are acidic. Fruits and vegetables are a must in any diet.
  • Food. Add items such as herbal tea of alfalfa, eggplants, garlic, green gram, bananas, sesame seeds etc. to your daily diet.
  • Calcium. You need to take calcium in form of calcium lactate which is easily absorbed and gives great results.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids. Include nuts like walnuts in your diet as it is a good source of essential omega 3 fatty acids. It helps to renew the cells in the body and corrects any wear and tear.
  • Salt baths or sea bathing. The salt contains iodine which is an important nutrient as it rebuilds tissues and vitalizes the body.
  • Massage. The massage improves circulation of blood, soothes the muscle spasm, tension, stiffness and help relieve pain and inflammation. Apply a thin layer of Biofreeze into the painful area. BIOFREEZE is a natural pain analgesic that can help to treat the pain caused by arthritis and neuropathy.
  • Heat and Cold Therapy. The therapy involves applying a heating pad and then ice packs to relieve the pain caused by osteoarthritis. This method is commonly used by athletes and others with injuries. In both cases the therapy soothes stiffness and joint pain.

The natural remedies are effective when the condition is in the initial stages. If the person suffers from moderate or severe osteoporosis then these homemade remedies may not be very effective. In such conditions you can go for over-the-counter pain relief drugs or consult your doctor for other prescription drugs which provide effective relief from the pain caused by osteoporosis.


Osteoarthritis and Inflammation

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One of the primary differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis has to do with inflammation. Although inflammation is generally thought of as a negative or undesirable condition, it is actually one of the body’s many responses to a metabolic crisis usually bought on by the presence of one microbial pathogen or another. The heat that is often generated by inflammation – as in the case of fever – is actually the body’s way of attempting to literally cook the intruder to death in combination with increased activity of your white blood cells and various chemicals. In a healthy metabolism this is obviously meant to be a short lived process where the intruder is effectively dealt with and the system can return to balance. Without this mechanism the body would be unable to prevent infection and heal wounds.

There is another form of inflammation that can exist in the body without the local heat, redness and swelling. This is inflammation that exists in a more general sense – a sort of ongoing low grade type of chronic inflammation that is a result of the metabolism falling out of balance. This is the type of inflammation which leads to what have become known as auto-immune diseases like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, colitis, Crohn’s disease and arthritis to name just a few. In a sense this type of inflammation leads to a biological situation of the body attacking itself and damaging tissues.

As with most health problems, one can trace this imbalance back to dietary input and the metabolic environment created by the foods we eat. Our biological predisposition is uniquely adapted to run on certain key macro and micro nutrients which we obtained from our traditional environment. If these necessary food items are not available to the metabolism, it’s not too much of a stretch to suspect that this might cause a problem. It would also follow from this line of reasoning that if there is an over abundance of low nutrient or harmful foods in the diet that there could also be problems. To make matters even more complicated, there is the contemporary issue of exposure to an ever-growing list of negative environmental factors. In short, the environment from which we now feed has in a fraction of evolutionary time become anything but traditional. I’ll explore in more detail the actual causal components of our modern diets that lead to this and other conditions in future articles, but for now let’s keep the discussion to the outcome of such a diet, which is inflammation.

With regards to rheumatoid arthritis a couple of factors come into play. First, there is the acidic and low oxygen environment that develops through an improper diet. This allows for an increased presence of microbial fauna in the form of anaerobic bacterias, yeasts, moulds, and ultimately fungus in the worst cases. Some of these pathogens like to colonize particular parts of the body. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis this obviously occurs in the joints causing in turn the localized inflammation and discomfort. The protocols to treat rheumatoid arthritis are most effective with a two pronged approach involving alkalization of the metabolism through dietary modification – which reduces the chronic inflammation – in conjunction with the use of natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agents to go after the particular colony of pathogens residing in the joints.

Osteoarthritis is a somewhat different creature and is generally accepted to be a condition brought on by excessive wear and tear or simply by age. Although metabolic inflammation does come into play, the discomfort caused by osteoarthritis is not a result of pathogens colonizing your joints. Any localized inflammation which does occur is usually later in the development of the symptoms and is more a result of sufficient cartilage being eroded to the point that bone starts coming into contact with bone. This is often accompanied by the formation of bone spurs which contribute to the irritation of local tissues, leading to increased discomfort and ultimately inflammation.

The medical mainstream consensus view is that this is a mechanical issue and the only viable treatment is replacement of the affected joint or joints. This of course stems from the consensus refusal to recognize and take advantage of the body’s inherent abilities for regeneration of tissues when it’s provided with the necessary raw materials.

History is not exactly full of people complaining of aching joints and the statistical occurrence of osteoarthritis has been increasing steadily; like many diseases in lock step with the industrialization of our food supply and the increased presence of environmental toxins. If nothing else, this infers a dietary deficiency coupled with toxic exposures that place us outside of our evolved patterns of metabolism. This in turn leads to impaired tissue regeneration (insufficient raw materials) and over-burdening of toxicity (lack of minerals to clear waste). It is this scenario which I believe has led to this condition of chronic inflammation, which appears to have become a cultural commonality.

There are many dietary myths and factors that pervade the mainstream consensus, making it difficult for a lay person to make informed decisions about the correct diet for ultimate health. Despite newer research pointing to flaws in current modalities, the corporate interests profiting from the infrastructures built around these myths continue to protect these interests through ‘paid for science’ and obfuscation of the facts. The low fat myth and the high carbohydrate diet coupled with a misrepresentation of the relationship between LDL, HDL and total cholesterol, are just three factors that contribute to the systemic problem of low grade chronic inflammation.

As I’ve stated before, osteoarthritis can be viewed as a canary in a coal mine. Relative to the pantheon of different severe diseases/symptoms that can be brought on by ongoing inflammation, the discomfort caused by osteoarthritis could be considered minor, though annoying. Tissue regeneration is a metabolic process that goes on throughout the life experience and in this regard the cartilage between your bones is no different. If headway with symptoms is to be made there is no doubt that your metabolic environment needs to be adjusted through dietary modifications. One of the many biological systems that become affected by chronic inflammation is the endocrine system. Within the myriad of enzymes both manufactured and absorbed by the body are those that modify the proteins to create the various proteoglycans responsible for cartilage maintenance. This is just one of the many biological sub-systems that are affected by improper diet and the resulting chronic inflammation.

So when it comes to osteoarthritis, is inflammation the chicken or the egg? The answer appears to be both.


Osteoarthritis and the Perception of Disease

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The general meaning of the word disease, according to Wikipedia, “is that it describes an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. The signs and symptoms of which suggest a particular medical condition which will be caused by external factors or internal dysfunction.” An example of the former would be an infectious disease while the latter would be typified by something like an autoimmune disorder.

Is it possible that the way in which we perceive disease has led to the many problems within our current healthcare model and its increasing ineffectiveness?

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Instead of looking at disease as a set of symptoms which speak to the overall condition of the biological system which is your metabolism; we give them names. In doing so it’s as if we give them a life of their own and think of them as independently arising circumstances that happen to us as a result of genetic predisposition and/or the luck of the draw. In true interventionist form we then attack the symptoms rather than stepping back to perhaps see what fell out of balance in the first place and thereby attempt to re-establish the balance lost.

This naming and focus on treatment through intervention, without regard for the metabolism as a whole has also led to the mainstream creation of many strands of specialty throughout the medical profession. All of these specialists have particular sets of tools in the form of drugs and surgery with which to intervene and make war on symptoms. For example an oncologist is trained to fight cancer with chemo-therapy and surgery. Under the ‘best practices’ model there is little consideration for what metabolic shortcomings or environmental factors led to the cancer in the first place. The orthopaedic surgeon only knows to replace the damaged joints of an osteoarthritis sufferer; with no consideration of why the patients body stopped regenerating and replacing cartilage.

This fracturing of medicine into separate disciplines has naturally made it almost impossible to receive treatment as a whole person. Instead of creating and maintaining well-being we have become consumers of health. To the medical establishment we are nothing more than individual collections of symptoms, conveniently catalogued and named. The pharmaceutical companies with there co-responding treatments for ongoing management of these diseases coupled with the side effects of treatments, provide a never ending stream of drugs; in effect creating a perpetual money engine.

Whether evolved or designed, there is simply no discounting the remarkable example of bio-engineering that is represented by the human metabolism. It is a system which exists only through an inconceivable number of interrelated processes carried out by an equally diverse number of micro-organisms and cellular machinery. Not to mention the complex symbiotic relationship with bacteria which provides for digestion and a majority of the immune system. In each one of the more than a trillion cells that make up the human body, there can be one hundred thousand processes going on in each one of those cells at any given moment. This system is sustained by the variety of organic and inorganic (mineral) elements traditionally available to us from our environment. How could balance not be a part of such an inconceivably complex biological system? The fact that these bodies are adaptive, regenerative, organized, self balancing and self healing when provided with the right fuel, is completely ignored by the interventionist mainstream approach.

Osteoarthritis is not a disease that attacks your joints. It’s a collection of symptoms that indicate a metabolic hunger for the components of tissue repair. In this case the cartilage that pads your afflicted joints. Taking NSAIDs and carving out the problem will do nothing to attend to the underlying metabolic need that caused the problem to begin with. I suppose it could be likened to a coal minor ignoring the fact that the canary in the cage beside him is dead and casting the canary aside, works on anyway.

If you are content to give yourself over to the mainstream treatment for your osteoarthritis then so be it. After all freedom is about choice but in choice, there is also freedom to be found and perception is everything. Metabolic health is the ultimate freedom from disease, medically imposed pain and financial hardship. I know this to be true after correcting the symptoms of my own osteoarthritis without drugs or surgery.

In my e-book “Curing Osteoarthritis” I explore through my own experiences a different way of approaching so-called disease. Having been debilitated with the pain and discomfort of Osteoarthritis myself for some time, I am now symptom free and have been so for about five years now. The book not only explores the way in which we look at Osteoarthritis, but also the way we perceive disease in general as well as providing in handbook form the protocols I used to cure my own condition.


Osteoarthritis Pain: Effective Natural Treatments

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Joint pain increases as we get older.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint pain in the world. Just in the U.S. it affects an estimated 42.7 million adults in the U.S. and over 20% of populations worldwide.

The name of this disease comes from osteo (bone) and arth (joint) and itis (inflammation). It happens when the cartilage between bones breaks down or wears away. Since cartilage normally reduces friction and cushions shock, when it’s not there the result is pain and limited range of motion.

In traditional Chinese medicine, arthritis falls in the category called, “Wind Cold Damp Painful Obstruction.” If you’ve ever known anyone with arthritis this will ring true to you since they will often feel worse when the weather is windy, cold and damp.

There are two considerations when reducing this type of joint pain. The first, as you might suspect, is to reduce the pain and increase range of motion. The second, less obvious approach is to pull the plug on whatever is creating the pain in the first place.

Relieving Symptoms

There are many Chinese herbal formulas used to reduce this type of pain. They all have qualities of warming the cold stiffness in the joints and reducing the occurrence of pain.

If you want to self-treat, this is a difficult way to go since each formula is fine-tuned to the overall health and symptom pattern unique to each person. To treat the symptoms this way you’ll need to seek out a qualified herbalist trained in Chinese medicine.

However there are other ways you can explore for joint pain relief.

One of these is capsicum, derived from hot cayenne peppers. The best way to use it is in the form of a topical preparation you rub directly on the affected joints.

From a traditional Chinese medicine point of view, the reason this works is that it drives the cold out of the joint. From a Western medicine point of view, the active ingredient, capsaicin, temporarily reduces a chemical in the nerves responsible for transmitting pain sensations. When the pain is gone, it’s easier to move.

Other good treatments to relieve symptoms include acupuncture, doing water aerobics, and alternating hot and cold compresses on the affected areas.

Deeper Relief

My view is that the body is naturally designed to work perfectly. With this in mind, any symptom is a signal that something is interfering with this perfect functioning.

In the case of joint pain, there are some obvious, and some not-so-obvious contributing factors. When you can identify those that apply to you and make the appropriate adjustments, it’s very common to see joint pain and other health issues disappear.

Here are the most relevant factors to consider:

Dietary Factors:

  • Concentrated Sugars
  • Processed, Refined Foods
  • Wrong Foods for Your Metabolic Type
  • Insufficient Basic Nutrient Intake, especially Vitamins C & D
  • History of Injury to the Area

Toxic Exposure: Heavy Metals (lead, mercury, etc.)

  • Other Environmental Toxins
  • Chronic High Stress Level
  • Excessive Weight

Each of the above factors can be addressed naturally.

There are other ways to support the body and restore health once the conditions creating the pain are addressed. These include restoring adrenal health, improving digestion & detoxification and strengthening the body through exercise.


More on the Science of Stem Cells for Osteoarthritis Treatment

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Although they originally come from bone marrow, adult (or as they are often called, “mesenchymal”) stem cells can be derived from a variety of body tissues. These tissues include fat, the thin lining on the surface of bone called the periosteum, joint lining (synovium), muscle, skin, baby teeth, and cartilage.

Their purpose is simply to act as repairmen to replace and regenerate cells that are lost as a result of injury, normal turnover, and aging. Think of them as the handyman around the house!

There have been attempts at defining exactly what constitutes a true mesenchymal stem cell. Various cell surface markers have been used to describe these cells and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)appear to share certain traits and characteristics in common. Finally, it has been agreed that a true MSC is capable of differentiating into bone, cartilage, as well as fat.

Although MSCs harvested from different tissues look the same, it’s not clear if they behave the same or have the same capabilities.

One study, for instance, showed that the MSCs most able to become cartilage were stem cells derived from joint lining (synovial) tissue. Other MSCs that showed a good ability to become cartilage were those from bone marrow and from periosteum.

Another issue is quality of MSCs. How effective will they be under different circumstances? It’s clear that stem cells placed in an environment with certain stimulatory growth factors differentiate better. On the flip side, there have been some studies indicating that advanced age may slow stem cell multiplication and division. However, other studies indicate that regardless of age, enough good quality MSCs can be obtained that do have adequate potential to differentiate into cartilage cells. (At our center, we usually use 75 years of age as our cutoff, although a few of our best results have occurred in older individuals.)

The potential application of MSCs to differentiate into cartilage cells and be used to repair cartilage damage in osteoarthritis is a hot topic nowadays.

It is a very complicated process though, and current research has used normal cartilage as the model to emulate. Most stem cell research models of cartilage have a few things in common. First, they use MSCs. Then, a matrix or scaffold is incorporated. This framework serves as a “home” for the MSCs. Finally, the stem cells are exposed to a variety of growth factors used to stimulate differentiation and multiplication.

In many experiments done in laboratory settings, the quality of cartilage derived from MSCs has been disappointing. It appears that the both the quality of stem cell as well as the extracellular environment is critical for the normal development of viable strong cartilage. The exact “key” remains elusive. There appears to be a complex interplay between enzymes and proteins that degrade cartilage such as matrix metalloproteinases and factors that build cartilage such as transforming growth factors, bone morphogenic protein, and parathyroid hormone, to name a few.

One final interesting point is that MSCs have a unique property that is often overlooked. They have immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory functions that have been demonstrated both in the laboratory setting as well as in animal models. This has a lot of potential impact, particularly when considering their use in arthritis treatment.

For a more scientific discussion of the intricacies of MSC biology as it pertains to cartilage regeneration, readers are referred to the excellent works written by Drs. Faye Chen and Rocky Tuan.


Will Alternative Treatment Methods Relive Osteo-Arthritis?

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There are lots of men and women around the globe who have got to withstand the anguish affiliated with joint pain. However, despite the fact that there are lots of over the counter as well as prescription treatments available they could cause uncomfortable side effects in most afflicted individuals. For this reason lots of people are currently deciding to check out utilizing an alternative treatment method with regard to rheumatoid arthritis instead.

Using alternative remedies a man or woman being affected by osteoarthritis finds out the treatment options that will help them to stop utilizing drugs which in turn will not function in conjunction with what they’re utilising presently. On the other hand, alternative remedies will help not only to give them pain relief but in addition increase their range of motions.

Yet in addition to this form of therapy pertaining to osteoporosis assisting the sufferer with pain relief it will also help them in different ways. Numerous learn that as time passes that their health and fitness increases overall as well as their well being is actually much better. This is usually due to the therapy concentrating not only around the spot impacted by the osteoporosis but the body in general.

The main reason why so many individuals are actually deciding to test natural methods for eliminating rheumatoid arthritis is really because they still really feel uncertain regarding many of the drugs prescribed by doctors. In actuality there are specific recommended prescription drugs which have been recommended as the solution for your rumatoid arthritis, however in actuality induce a lot more complications. For instance Vioxx is actually one such doctor prescribed medication which might help to ease the pain sensation associated with osteoporosis yet has led to quite a few users experiencing various other health issues among them problems to the heart as well as in some instances individuals enduring strokes.

In terms of the treatment of osteoporosis employing holistic approaches there are plenty of to pick from. However one that’s worthwhile considering is Tai Chi. By using this unique physical exercise you have to control the motion of one’s body since every thing has to be performed far more gradually. In addition the actual moves which you do necessitate your body to be stretched. Therefore when you perform the actual workout routines related to Tai Chi you’re working not merely the actual joints but in addition the muscle groups around them. This with time helps make these locations substantially tougher plus much more mobile.