Tuesday, April 23, 2013


OSTEOARTHRITIS AND NATURAL REMEDIES

It is not often that I think, "would've, could've, should've". But in this post on osteoarthritis, it will all be said. If I could have known the importance of properly caring for my joints I would have taken the right steps nutritionally including vitamins and supplements to insure their health for future years. But I will plead ignorance to what I should have done and say that gratefully, it wasn't too late for me.
In my 20's and 30's I was raising a family and taking care of a household pretty much on my own. This involved a lot of physical activity both inside and outside the house. With a diet that wasn't the best nutritionally and overexertion of my body, I soon started developing numerous joint aches and pains. They seemed to take turns in my body's different joints. One day my fingers would hurt, another day it was my knees, neck or shoulders. Tylenol became a daily part of my life. Finally, in my late 30's I was in the doctor's office looking for answers. Routine blood work was done and also testing for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc. The tests came back negative, I was told it was osteoarthritis and a prescription for Naproxen was ordered. A few times I had steroid shots in my thumb and index finger because they were swollen and difficult to bend. This was my treatment for a couple years. But the Naproxen was causing a lot of gastrointestinal problems for me and I had to stop taking it.  
At the end of my 30th decade and into my early 40s I started listening to a radio show with an alternative doctor. It was all so new to me and my upbringing on traditional medicine. But slowly, so much of what he said made complete sense to me. This was when I first heard about the use of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate to not only ease the inflammation and pain in joints, but help reverse and repair the degenerative process! These substances are classified as amino sugars and are used in the structure of body tissues including tendons, ligaments, bones, skin and joints. I started taking the supplements and currently use, drs. best glucosamine & chondroitin Within a month, improvement started. Not only was I finding relief from the discomfort and pain in my joints, but further destruction was being halted while cartilage was being rebuilt. Now, almost 25 years later, they are a daily part of my vitamin and supplement regiment. 
It is important to take them regularly and consistently. Our joints take a beating for years, it stands to reason they can't be repaired over night. In cases where there is very little cartilage left in a joint, there may not be a chance for improvement. But I know for a fact that the cartilage in my knees is in pretty good shape. Both times the meniscus was torn in my knees, the MRIs showed very little loss or degeneration of the cartilage in either knee. 
An excellent book on osteoarthritis is The Arthritis Cure by Jason Theodosakis, MD. It goes into great detail on the subject and also discusses the use of ASU which is derive from avocado and soybean oils. I used this product when experiencing the meniscus tear in my right knee. Taking MSM supplements every day has also enhanced the health of my joints by relieving inflamation
There are many other natural treatments for osteoarthritis discomfort and pain but I am not sure of anything else that actually helps rebuild cartilage like glocosamine and chondroitin. The sooner a person starts taking care of and halting damage to their joints, the better. I am pleased to say that being physically active in my 60's and not facing joint replacements, is something I am grateful for each day.

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2013
 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

PAIN RELIEF WITH NATURAL REMEDIES

It has taken quite a few years to find natural pain relievers that work for me and my specific problems/conditions. But knowing I am not using anything that could cause undesirable side effects, has made it worth the time and effort. Before I go into detail about my remedies, here is a reminder about over-the-counter pain medication. 
The non steroidal pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) can cause serious gastrointestinal problems if taken for long periods of time. In addition to doing nothing beneficial for the actual problem and masking the pain they can also lead to liver damage. Stronger prescription pain relievers such as Naproxen and Celebrex are even potentially more dangerous.
Up until about 20 years ago, I also used Tylenol on an almost daily basis for my aches and pains. But transitioning into alternative medicine led me to the first natural pain reliever I tried, white willow bark. It actually contains compounds from which aspirin is derived but without the harmful side effects. It was very helpful for relieving my headaches, backaches and joint pain, all of which I was experiencing on a regular basis. But it should not be used during pregnancy, only because it may interfere with the absorption of iron and other minerals. Also, people with an allergy to aspirin should not take it. At this time, I was also becoming religious with taking glucosamine and chondroitin for my joints and know that after a matter of months, joint pain was becoming less and less.
But my tendons and ligaments were a different story. So the next natural remedy I started was for the different types of tendinitis that started to plague me. Tennis elbow was the first and so painful that I couldn't even touch my elbow. Of course after my GP diagnosed it, he wrote me a prescription for Naproxen. After taking only a few pills, my digestive tract was so distressed, that I had to seek other pain relief. It was then I discovered MSM which stands for methylsulfonylmethan, a natural substance present in the human body and food. This turned out to be so effective that it became, and still is, a regular in my vitamin/supplement regiment. Using a topical cream with MSM and glucosamine is also very helpful. When the pain flared in intensity I used DMSO topically, which is derived from trees and MSM is made from it. These became the staples of my treatment plans while suffering with tendonitis, plantar fascitis, torn meniscus, back problems, etc. Along with not being harmful, MSM is beneficial to all types of inflammation in the body. But I learned to be patient for relief as these natural remedies are not the "magic bullet" like traditional medications.
The last pain reliever I will discuss is the homeopathic wonder, Arnica montana. After discovering this gem about 10 years ago, I am never without it! Taken in pellet form under the tongue, it relieves minor muscle or joint aches and pains, strains, sprains, bruised, backache or over exertion. I use the 30c potency 3 to 4 times a day if I have physically over exerted myself and find it quite helpful. My younger daughter used only this as pain relief during both of her home births! But the real gem of Arnica is when used in cream or gel form, such as Boiron Arnicare Arnica Gel and everyone should have it on hand. The moment after you bump or bruise yourself, applying it topically will not only help reduce swelling and pain, but also keep the area from turning black and blue (or at least keep it to a minimum)! There is always a tube of the gel form in my house and handbag. 
While there are many other natural pain relievers, these are the ones I have used and still use the most for all of my needs. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have questions about the remedies, dosages I use, etc.

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2013