Arthritis affects roughly 40% of Americans and around half of all people worldwide. Arthritis is more common than cancer and heart problems and dates back thousands years. Worldwide, more pain is caused by arthritis than any other cause. Arthritis alone is responsible for the sale of billions of dollars worth of pain relief medications in this country.
It is widely believed that the famous Roman baths were created not only to promote good hygiene, but to help ancient people ease the aches and pains caused by arthritis.
What is arthritis and why is it so prevalent?
Arthritis exists in two common forms: Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own cells, often resulting in joint deterioration. Osteoarthritis is simply caused by wear and tear, leading to arthritis that comes with age (although improper diet or lifestyle can contribute as well).
The joint lining, or cartilage, acts as a shock absorber. It consists of water and protein fibers called collagen. The collagen matrix (that gives cartilage its shape and strength), is insulated by a net of proteglucans. These are filled with water to protect and nourish the cartilage tissue.
Proteglucans are long molecular chains that include chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, which are two important building blocks.
Glucosamine is absolutely essential to the production of water-binding proteins in cartilage, and chondroitin sulfates draw fluids that aid with ease of movement and attract the nutrients necessary for cartilage repair.
Injury, wear, or corrosive enzymes can weaken this protection, and the cartilage loses the ability to repair itself. It slowly deteriorates and forms crevices and clefs that impede movement and cause arthritis pain.
The traditional approach to treating arthritis joint pain is well known: arthritis pain is suppressed with NASDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc). Relieving the symptoms, these drugs simply mask the pain caused by arthritis while the joints continue to deteriorate.
But luckily, there are other ways to deal with arthritis. Recent research shows that supplementing your body's natural supply of the two important cartilage building elements (Glucosamine and Chondroitin) can aid in joint restoration and relief of arthritis pain.
Another helpful nutrient is methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM), a
form of sulfur contained in a lot of common foods, including fish, fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and milk. MSM helps to relieve arthritis pain and inflammation in joints and muscles. It also boosts the blood supply, reduces muscle spasms, and softens scar tissue.
Capsium, the ingredient in cayenne pepper extract (the hot spice) has also been found to be helpful in relieving arthritis pain.
Due to its small molecular weight, emu oil easily penetrates the skin membranes and delivers its soothing relief to sore arthritic joints. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it very popular among health professionals and sportsmen.
Your habits and lifestyle can also help you avoid the discomfort of arthritis pain. People who keep their body in shape and live an active lifestyle enjoy a much smaller risk of developing osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis affects the weight-bearing joints first. If your joints have to handle extra weight, the cartilage wears out faster than it can repair itself.
Despite the common belief that osteoarthritis sufferers shouldn't exercise, research indicates the opposite. Moderate exercise helps to keep your joints healthy. Even if they already have arthritis, working them stimulates the restoration process.
Here is a simple exercise that you can do to keep your knee joints in good shape: Bend your knees like you're going to do at sit-up. Keep your knees close together and move them in circular motions, first in one direction and then the other.
You might not feel like moving around when your arthritis is acting up, but a combination of moderate exercise, a proper diet, supplements, and topical ointments can prevent your arthritis from keeping you from enjoying your favorite activities.
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