Autoimmune Arthritis: What You Must Know
Do you ever experience swollen joints and muscle stiffness? Do the tips of your fingers have bony nodules? Do both of your knees ache and swell when walking? Have you ever been diagnosed with “Inflammatory Arthritis”, and then told that your only recourse is taking medications that may or may not temporarily help with inflammation, yet not the disease itself? If it is indeed Arthritis, how do you determine which type, and what natural changes can you make in your lifestyle to reduce inflammation? There are over 100 types of arthritis and related conditions, and each type has a variety of natural methods to help alleviate its secondary conditions, by addressing its root cause and primary condition. 46 million people currently have Arthritis in the U.S., and that number is expected to rise to 70 million within by the year 2030. Let’s touch on the most popular types, Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), listed below:
Rheumatoid Arthritis: A chronic disease that affects nearly 2.1 million Americans, approximately 75% of those affected are female. According to the Journal, Arthritis & Rheumatism, an estimated 300,000 children under age 18 have arthritis or a rheumatic condition, which is roughly 1 in every 250 U.S. children. It is also the most popular cause of disability in U.S. adults for the past twenty years. It tends to affect pairs of joints; for example, both knees and both hands, and can affect the spine as well. It is NOT structurally based, and can be aggravated by the body’s reaction to inflammatory foods and improper diet. It is closely linked to a condition called “Leaky Guy Syndrome.”
Psoriatic Arthritis: A chronic skin and inflammation disease that is most prevalent in people in their 40’s or 50’s, affecting both genders equally. It can occur in many joints; most often in the tips of fingers (distal phalanges) and toes. They look like a pair of mini nodules that are hard and tender. Roughly 80% of patients who suffer with this type of Arthritis develop the skin disease Psoriasis earlier in life. Generally milder than its cousin Rheumatoid Arthritis, it does not affect matching pairs of joints. Symptoms unique to this condition include bony nodules on digits, pitted nails, sausage-like appearance of fingers and toes, eye inflammation, and grayish spots on the elbows, knees, and lower spine.
Lupus (SLE): Another cousin to Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis, Lupus occurs in approximately 2 million people in the U.S. In fact, more people suffer with Lupus than cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, and multiple sclerosis combined. This condition is nine times more prevalent in women than in men. Interestingly, the term “Lupus” means “wolf”. Symptoms unique to Lupus are a “red butterfly rash” in the face that spans under the eyes, across the bridge of the nose, and into the cheeks. This red coloration, “Erythematosus“, means “redness”. It affects many parts of the body, and is often accompanied with skin rashes, fever, fatigue, and kidney problems. Lupus can have “flare-ups” as well, often caused by medicines, environment, inflammatory foods, and stress.
All three Arthritides listed above are classified as Autoimmune diseases, and occurs when the body attacks its own cells, causing swelling in joints, redness, stiffness, pain, and can cause deformity in bone, and surrounding soft tissue. These conditions can also affect various soft tissues and organs in the body, including the digestive tract (where the majority of your immune system is located). Because Autoimmune Arthritides have a genetic component, people inflicted can react in varying ways.
Chiropractic care can help many people affected by these types of Arthritis by gently mobilizing joints and decreasing pain with spinal and extremity adjustments. Along with spinal correction by a structural based chiropractor, stretching is very important. Stretching helps to lessen tightness in muscles, and increase blood flow and oxygenation in joints to promote healing.
Nutritionally, consuming anti-inflammatory foods are extremely helpful, along with Omega-3 fish oils and Glucosamine. Glucosamine can help aid in repair of cartilage, muscles and ligaments, by assisting in producing glycosaminoglycan, a necessary molecule used in the formation and repair of joint cartilage. Inquire with your doctor before considering. In addition, consuming an anti-inflammatory diet is a must: Avoid all dairy (yes, even cheese), foods based with white flour, pasta, potatoes other than yams, and white rice, as all cause swelling and bloating. Foods such as pineapples, lemons, papayas, berries, and ginger root, turmeric, green and white teas, kelp, broccoli, yams, shiitake mushrooms, and extra virgin olive oil, are terrific natural inflammatories.
There are several natural methods to address autoimmune arthritides. Many people are more than ever seeking natural corrections to address the causes of autoimmune diseases, and not merely “patch or cover-up” its pain and other associated secondary conditions.