Joint Care

Your Joint Psychology

At birth you have over 300 bones.  As you grow, some bones fuse together and you are left with 206 bones as an adult.  The place where two bones meet is called a joint.  There are over 100 different types of joint but they are generally categorized by the amount of movement which they allow.  Some joints move and others don't.  You have over 230 moveable and semi-movable joints in your body.

Fixed or Fibrous joints are fixed in place and allow no observable movement.  Your skull has some of these joints called sutures which close up the bones of the skull.  An example is the parieto-temporal suture which runs along the side of the skull.

Slightly movable (Cartilaginous) joints allow some slight movement.  The ends of bones, which are covered in articular or hyaline cartilage, are separated by pads of white fibrocartilage and slight movement is made possible only because the pads of cartilage compress.  In addition, the pads of cartilage act as shock absorbers.  The intervertebral discs are examples of this type of joint.

Freely movable (Synovia) joints are the ones that allow you to twist, bend, and move different parts of your body.  It is the most common type of joint in the body.  There types of joint are categorized according to the movement they make possible:

Human Joint Types
  • Ball & Socket (shoulders & hips)
  • Hinge (knee)
  • Saddle (thumb)
  • Ellipsoid (wrist)
  • Gliding (tarsals / metatarsals - cluster of bones making up the foot)
  • Pivot (neck)
The Synovial joints are surrounded by a Capsule which has an internal lining, called a "Synovial Membrane".  The membrane secretes a fluid called "Synovial Fluid" which helps to produce Friction Free Movement.  Bones are held together at the joints by ligaments (bands of tough, fibrous tissue), which are like very strong rubber bands.

Synovial Joint Diagram


Joint Inflammation & Arthritis

Joint inflammation is the literal meaning of arthritis (arth = joint, ritis = inflammation).  Normally, inflammation is the way the body responds to an injury or to the presence of disease agents, such as viruses or bacteria.  During this reaction, many cells of the body's defense system (called the immune system) rush to the injured area to wipe out the cause of the problem, clean up damaged cells, and repair tissues that have been hurt.  Once the "battle" is won, inflammation normally goes away and the area becomes healthy again.

In many forms of arthritis, the inflammation does not go away as it should.  Instead, it becomes part of the problem, continually damaging healthy tissues and engendering a long-term cycle of more inflammation and more damage.  The damage that occurs can change the bones and other tissues of the joints, sometimes affecting their shape and making movement hard and painful.  Diseases in which the immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy parts of the body are called autoimmune diseases.

There are over 100 kinds of arthritis that can affect many different areas of the body. 
In addition to the joints, some forms of arthritis are associated with diseases of other tissues and organs in the body.  People of all ages, including children and young adults, can develop arthritis.

It has been estimated that as many as 70,000,000 Americans (about 1 in 3) have some form of arthritis or joint pain.  Currently there are 46,000,000 (more than 21%) living with arthritis in the United States.  By 2030, health officials are estimating that 67,000,000 adults will have arthritis in the United States along with 294,000 children.  Prevalence extrapolations based on U.S. statistics indicate that over 795,000,000 people suffer from arthritis worldwide. 

Some of the more common types include:

  • Osteoarthritis - This is the most common type of arthritis.  Osteoarthritis results from overuse of joints.  It can be the consequence of demanding sports, obesity, or aging.  It occurs when the cartilage covering the end of the bones gradually wears away. Without the protection of the cartilage, the bones begin to rub against each other and the resulting friction leads to pain and swelling.  Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but most often affects the hands and weight-bearing joints such as the knee, hip and facet joints (in the spine).  It often strikes early in life with athletes or those who suffered an injury in young adulthood.  Osteoarthritis in the hands is frequently inherited and often happens in middle-aged women.  Since osteoarthritis often occurs as the cartilage breaks down, or degenerates, with age, it is sometimes called degenerative joint disease.  27 million adults in the United States suffer from osteoarthritis.  It can also co-exist with Gout and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

  • Progression of Osteoarthritis

  • Gout - This is a painful condition that occurs when the body cannot eliminate a natural substance called uric acid.  The excess uric acid forms needle-like crystals in the joints that cause swelling and severe pain.  Gout most often affects the big toe, knee and wrist joints.  IT most commonly affects men between the ages of 40 and 50, people who are overweight, people who frequently drink alcohol, and people who use diuretics to lower blood pressure or treat heart failure.  Over 6,000,000 Americans have been diagnosed with gout and it currently affects about 2,000,000.


    Gout

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis - This is a long-lasting disease that can affect joints in any part of the body but most commonly the hands, wrists, and knees.  With rheumatoid arthritis, some of your body's cells recognize a protein as a foreign intruder.  The exact protein involved in rheumatoid arthritis has not yet been discovered. Some experts believe the immune system becomes "confused" after infection with a bacteria or virus and begins attacking the normal joint tissues.  Immune cells called lymphocytes are stimulated to react to this protein.  The reaction causes the release of cytokines, which are chemical messengers that trigger more inflammation and destruction. This battle between the body's chemicals occurs mainly in the joints and causes the joint lining to swell.  The inflammation then spreads to the surrounding tissues, and can eventually damage cartilage and bone.  In more severe cases, rheumatoid arthritis can affect other areas of the body, such as the skin, eyes, and nerves.  1.3 million adults suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in the USA.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
Other types of arthritis include Polymyalgia Rheumatica (711,000), Sjorgen's Syndrome (400,000 to 1,300,000), Juvenile Arhritis (294,000), Lupus (161,000 to 322,000), Giant Cell Ateritis (228,000), Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis (together affect between 600,000 to 2,400,000 adults).

Symptoms

The following table offers a cross-reference of common symtoms to help you distinguish between the common types of arthritis:

Description
Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gout
deep, aching pain in a joint
X
X

fatigue X
X

fever
X

heart and lung problems
X

joint may be warm to touch X
X
X
loss of appetite
X

morning stiffness X
X

ongoing stiffness
X

pain occurs in symmetrical combinations
(i.e. both hands)

X

pain when walking X
X

rashes
X

red or purple skin around the joint

X
stiffness after resting X
X

sudden, intense joint point

X
swelling of joint X
X
X


Diagnosis

X-Ray of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The diagnosis of arthritis requires a pattern of symptoms and test results to pinpoint the type of arthritis present.  Your doctor will first perform a physical examination to identify visible signs and symptoms that indicate arthritis.  If there are relevant symptoms, then the following blood tests are used to collect more evidence:

  • Rhumatoid Factor - this is an antibody or immunoglobulin which is present in 70 to 80% of adults who have rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) - is also known as sedimentation rate or sedrate.  The test is an indicator of the presence of nonspecific inflammation.

  • C-reactive Protein (CRP) - this is a protein which is produced by the liver following tissue injury. Plasma levels of CRP increase quickly following periods of acute inflammation or infection, making this test a better indicator of disease activity than the sedrate which changes more gradually.

  • Anti-cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Antibody Test (anti-CCP) - this is a blood test which has become more commonly used and is ordered if rheumatoid arthritis is suspected. Moderate to high levels of anti-CCP in a patient's blood confirm the diagnosis in someone who is felt clinically to have rheumatoid arthritis. The test is more specific than rheumatoid factor.

  • Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) - these are abnormal autoantibodies (immunoglobulins against nuclear components of the human cell).  The test is based on indirect immunofluorescence.  Moderate to high antinuclear antibody levels are suggestive of autoimmune disease. P ositive antinuclear antibody tests are seen in more than 95 percent of systemic lupus erythematosus patients, 60 to 80 percent of scleroderma patients, 40 to 70 percent of patients with Sjogren's syndrome, and 30 to 50 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients, among others.

  • Complete Blood Count - The complete blood count determines the WBC (white blood cell count), RBC (red blood cell count), hemoglobin, hematocrit, several red blood cell indices and the platelet count.  Elevated white blood cell counts suggest the possibility of an active infection.  Patients taking corticosteroids may have an elevated WBC due to the medication.  Chronic inflammation can cause a low red blood cell count.  Low hemoglobin and hematocrit may be indicative of anemia associated with chronic diseases or possible bleeding caused by medications.  The platelet count is often high in rheumatoid arthritis patients, while some potent arthritis medications can cause platelets to be low.

  • HLA Tissue Typing - Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) are proteins on the surface of cells.  Specific HLA proteins are genetic markers for some of the rheumatic diseases. P atients may be tested to see if they have the genetic markers.  HLA-B27 has been associated with ankylosing spondylitis and other spondyloarthropathies.  Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with HLA-DR4.

  • Uric Acid - High levels of uric acid in the blood (known as hyperuricemia) can cause crystals to form which are deposited in the joints and tissues, causing painful gout attacks.  Uric acid is the final product of purine metabolism in humans.
Medical Imaging (x-rays) are pictures of your bones and joints which do not show cartilage, muscles, and ligaments.  They reveal deformaties and abnormalities in your joints.  MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans) provide cross-sectional images of your body to reveal precise information about your bones, joints, and soft tissues.

Western Medicine

Western medicine relies on aggressive and costly prescription drugs and prohibitively-expensive surgery to deal with problems related to arthritis.  These methods generally address only the symptoms of arthritis and not the underlying causes.  As soon as you stop using the drugs, the problems return!  And these prescription drugs often result in unwanted and even dangerous side effects.

Arthritis Medications


Commonly prescribed medications are
Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs - Ridaura, Imuran, Sandimmune, Neoral, Myochrysine, Plaquenil, Arava, Rheumatrex, Trexall), Biologic Response Modifiers (Orencia, Humira, Kineret, Enbrel, Remicade, Rituxan, Simponi), Glucocorticoids (Celestone, Deltasone, Meticorten, Orasone), Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs - Celebrex, Voltaren, Ecotrin, Relafen, Naprosyn, Colchicine, Motrin, Advil), Analgesics (Tylenol, Faverall, Tempra, Ultram, OxyContin, Roxicodone) and Corticosteriod / Steroid Injections. The most common drug for preventing Gout attacks is Allopurinol which decreases production of uric acid in the body.

The combined COMMON side effects of these drugs include abdominal pain, absence of menstrual periods, acne, agitation, anxiety , back pain, bronchitis, burning sensation, clumsiness, confusion, constipation, cough, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry skin, gas, general unwell feeling , hair loss, headache, heartburn, increased hair growth, indigestion, inflammation of the eye, mouth or skin, joint disorder, loose stools, mild nausea or vomiting, mild stomach pain, mild tiredness or weakness, nausea, ringing in the ears, runny nose, sinus infection, sleeplessness, stomach upset, stuffy nose, texture change in nails, tremor, twitching, upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, vomiting, weakness, and weight loss.

The combined SEVERE side effects of these medications include bleeding disorder, blisters on the inside of eyes, nose or mouth, blood in the urine, bloody or black, bluish discoloration of the skin or nails, change in the amount  of urine produced, chest pain, clayed-coloured stools, confusion, congestion, dark urine, decreased urination, depression, excessive tiredness, fainting , fast or irregular heartbeat, fever, chills or persistent sore throat, hallucinations, hearing loss, Hives, increased blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, trouble concentrating, chest pain, numbness and seizure, increased sensitivity  to light , infertility, Itching, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), lighteadedness, loss of appetite, low fever, matallic taste, mental and mood changes, muscle cramps, including leg cramps, night sweats, numbness of an arm or leg, numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes, one-side weakness, pale skin , pinpoint bruises, pneumonia, purple blotches or unusuual skin spots, purple spot on the skin, and/ or seizure (convulsions), Rash, red, swolllen, or blistered, or peeling skin, seizures, severe headache or dizziness, severe or persistent stomach pain or nausea, severe vomitting, shortness of breath, slurred speech, sudden or unexplained weight gain, swelling of hands, legs or feet, swelling of the mouth, face and lips or tongue, swollen glands, symptoms of liver problems , tarry tools, thickening of the tongue, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, trouble sleeping, trouble walking, unusual bruishing or bleeding, unusual joint or muscle pain, unusual lumps or masses, unusual skin lumps or growths, unusual tiredness or weakness, vision or speech changes, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, wheezing, white patches in mouth or throat, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.

The goal of Osteoarthritis treatment is to provide pain relief and increase joint mobility and strength. Treatment options include medication, exercise, heat/cold compresses, use of joint protection and surgery. Types of surgery include Arthrodesis (fusion of joints), Arthroscopy (replacement with artificial joints), Total Knee Replacement, and Total Hip Replacement.
Your treatment plan may involve more than one of these options.

Ayurvedic Medicine

yogi

Ayurveda, the science of life, prevention, and longevity, is the oldest and most holistic and comprehensive medical system available.  Its fundamentals can be found in Hindu scriptures called the Vedas - the ancient Indian books of wisdom written over 5,000 years ago.  Ayurveda uses the inherent principles of nature to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind, and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.

India Herbs has a seasoned group of Ayurvedic doctors specialized in Kaya Chikitsa, one of the eight major specialties of Ayurveda that deals with Internal Medicine. It is the branch of Ayurveda that offers therapies for purification and detoxification. Kaya Chikitsa dwells deep into defining the root cause of a disease and prescribes the therapeutic use of various herbal medicines and holistic treatments for enhancing the capabilities and vigor of your body's healing capabilities while strengthening the body and overall well-being.

India Herbs' Kaya Chikitsa doctors combine a proprietary herbal formula based on centuries' old wisdom with advice on diet, exercise, mental training, and relaxation to help men and women address chronic joint inflammation.

Recommendations
You can optimize your long-term joint health by:

1) Providing Phytonutrient Nourishment - Years of stressful living caused damage to your body. To help address this, Arthmender releases hundreds of phytonutrients that act at the molecular level to promote joint suppleness and flexibility.

2) Increasing Omega-3 Intake - Omega-3 essential fatty acids can dramatically reduce inflammation. Increase your intake of Omega-3 with fish oil, ground flax seed, minimal-mercury tuna, wild-caught salmon, and sprouted walnuts.

3) Decreasing Omega-6 Intake - Omega-6 essential fatty acids can increase inflammation. Decrease your intake of polyunsaturated oils in your diet that contain Omega-6 such as sunflower, safflower, soybean, and corn oils.

4) Increasing Monounsaturated Fats Intake - Olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated oil that is used in the Mediterranean diet (a diet praised for its anti-inflammatory effects on the body). Monounsaturated fats can also be found in raw almonds, cashews, and avocados.

5) Increasing Fiber Consumption - A low-fiber diet can contribute to systemic inflammation. Liberally add ground flax seed (which is also high in omega-3 fatty acids) to many of your favorite recipes, smoothies, shakes, and salads. Also try coconut flour which is 58% fiber!

6) Eating Fruits Rich in Vitamin C - These fruits help relieve inflammation. Choose blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, peaches, mango, cantaloupe melon, and anti-inflammatory fruits like apples. However, try to moderate your intake of citrus fruits that may be too acidic and irritating, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.

7) Eating Fresh Produce High in Carotenoids - Carotenoids are found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. A British study at the University of Manchester Medical School showed that subjects who ate a diet high in dietary carotenoids dramatically reduced their risk of inflammatory arthritis. Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe are some examples of foods that contain carotenoids.

8) Eating Superfoods Rich in Antioxidants - When you're at the supermarket, just remember this rule of thumb: the deeper and richer the color of the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidant power it has. Choose the most colorful fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle to benefit from powerful antioxidants. Vibrant choices include blueberries, red grapes, mangos, pomegranate, dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach), brussels sprouts, red cabbage, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash.

9) Increasing Calcium and Vitamin D Intake - If you suffer from arthritis, you may suffer from coexisting bone conditions as well. In order to protect your bones, choose foods that are naturally high in calcium such as mustard greens, broccoli, spinach, collard greens, and turnip greens. Foods rich in vitamin D include mercury-minimal tuna, sunflower seeds, and wild-caught salmon. Also, moderate exposure to sunlight increases vitamin D production, which helps the body absorb calcium.

10) Adding Anti-Inflammatory Spices - Herbs like turmeric, ginger, and garlic have powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that naturally help boost the immune system.

11) Choosing Low Glycemic Index Carbohydrates - Complex carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index such as brown rice, raw apples, and winter squash. Avoid simple or refined carbohydrates (sugar, white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers) which are inflammatory.

12) Moderating Alcohol Consumption - Use moderation and preferably choose wine, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

13) Exercising and Losing Weight - While it may sound painful to exercise with arthritis, there are techniques that you can use to keep yourself flexible. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are three types of exercise that are best suited for people with arthritis: Range-of-motion exercises help maintain normal joint movement and relieve stiffness. Strengthening exercises (weight training) help keep or increase muscle strength. Strong muscles help support and protect joints affected by arthritis. Aerobic or endurance exercises (bicycle riding, swimming) improve cardiovascular fitness, help control weight, and improve overall function. Weight control can be important to people who have arthritis because extra weight puts extra pressure on many joints. Some studies show that aerobic exercise can reduce inflammation in some joints. Your healthcare professional may recommend physical therapy to help create a low-impact exercise plan that is tailored for your level of physical ability. The focus of physical therapy should be to protect the joints, while increasing strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

14) Stop Smoking - Cigarettes contain many chemicals that increase inflammation, and greatly aggravate chronic conditions.

Results: The precise combination of ingredients in Arthmender along with a mind-body focus precisely addresses your joint rejuvenation needs!


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