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 Integrative Medicine: Arthritis Pain-Effective Natural Therapies 
Joint pain, known as arthritis, comes in many forms. The most common type is osteoarthritis, known as "wear and tear arthritis." The joints mainly affected by osteoarthritis are the finger, knee, and hip joints.

A more severe form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is and results in hot swollen joints. It is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the joints. I suspect that infections are common triggers for this attack.

The American College of Rheumatology has defined the following criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Morning stiffness of over 1 hour
  • Arthritis and soft-tissue swelling in over 3 of 14 joints or joint groups
  • Arthritis of hand joints
  • Symmetric arthritis
  • Subcutaneous nodules
  • Rheumatoid factor at a level above the 95th percentile
  • Radiological changes suggestive of joint erosion

At least four of these criteria need to be met, although patients are sometimes treated despite not meeting these criteria. The childhood form of this disease is called Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.

In addition to using long-term antibiotic therapy with minocycline in rheumatoid arthritis, it is worth considering dietary changes as well. Diet can play a major role in inflammatory arthritis. A recent study tested the role of diet in 60 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 30 patients were given a standard American diet and the other 30 an anti-inflammatory diet low in meat and high in fish oil—with supplements given to supply approximately 2 g of omega 3 fish oils daily—for eight months. The patients on an anti-inflammatory diet had a 28 percent decrease in the number of tender joints. In addition, decreasing inflammation by giving borage seed oil (supplying 1.4 g of GLA—Gamma Linolenic Acid) decreased the swollen joint score by 41 percent in the active group vs. a 40 percent worsening in the placebo group. No patients had to withdraw because of side effects.Many other nutrients, including pantothenic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, boron, copper, zinc, and selenium have been found to be deficient and/or helpful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, see the article on inflammation for more information on treating rheumatoid arthritis with diet and supplements. High doses of fish oil (e.g. 1 to 2 Tbsp a day for at least 3 months) have been shown to be especially helpful in over six studies. As always, use fish oil that is mercury and lead free.

As baby boomers begin reaching the age of retirement, the number of Americans developing arthritis-type disorders is expected to soar. This increase will add to already significant arthritis rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of four American adults has been diagnosed with arthritis and another 17 percent may be suffering from it without having been diagnosed. In 2002, the percentage of those diagnosed with one or more forms of arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis and gout), lupus, or fibromyalgia ranged from a low of 17.8 percent in Hawaii to a high of 35.8 percent in Alabama. Thirty-six million workdays are lost each year because of osteoarthritis. A CDC (Center for Disease Control) arthritis expert stated that the number of cases of arthritis in America is huge compared to most other diseases. Fortunately, there are many natural and prescription therapies that can be effective.

Natural Therapies
I prefer using natural rather than prescription therapies for osteoarthritis. The most common prescription medications in use (NSAIDs like Motrin®) kill over 16,000 Americans yearly and do not slow, and may actually hasten, the progression of the arthritis. I recommend you begin with a natural treatment program that will decrease inflammation and help repair the joints.

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 Comments Add your comment 
sagaroja wrote
   2/4/2010 4:07:00 PM    (report abuse)
Joint pain strikes people of all ages and activity levels, and if not properly treated or dealt with, typically gets progressively worse. This information will really helps the ones who are suffering with Joint pain. Sagar.
 About The Author
Jacob Teitelbaum MDJacob Teitelbaum MD is author of the popular free iPhone application "Cures A-Z" and author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! (3rd revised edition, Avery/Penguin Group) and Pain Free 1-2-3-A......more
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