Beat Arthritis:  A Natural Approach

By: Andrea Hauser, Homeopath

 

Arthritis is the most common chronic disease, affecting 15% of the population according to the National Institute of Health.  Arthritis is not just a disease seen in the elderly, in fact each year more and more children and young people are being diagnosed with arthritis.  It is deemed by most conventional healthcare practitioners as a progressive, and incurable disease. 

As someone who has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and spondylitis since the age of 17, I can tell you first hand that arthritis not only affects you physically, but mentally-emotionally, socially, and spiritually as well.  I also know that there is hope for arthritis sufferers!   There is a world of safe and effective natural alternatives out there that can work with conventional medicine should you chose. 

In my personal journey Homeopathic Medicine changed my life and prognosis.  That is why I decided to become a homeopath!  Although an individualized treatment plan and a constitutional homeopathic remedy are always recommend, below are a few tips that I have learned along the way that I have found helpful  personally as well as in clinic with my patients.

 

The Basics:  Arthritis 101

  • There are two main types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Osteoarthritis is by far the most common.
  • Osteoarthritis, considered to be a ‘wear and tear’ phenomenon, is actually due to a complex of nutritional imbalances, body toxicity, free radical damage and underlying predispositions and weaknesses in the body’s structural tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease in which the disordered immune system creates a destructive inflammatory reaction in and around the joints.
  • Arthritis is a painful conditions of the joints that can be inflammatory or degenerative in nature
  • Arthritis occurs three times more in women than in men
  • The goal in Western Medicine is often palliation and pain management where as in Homeopathy the goal is to rebalance your entire system, calm irritation, and prevent further progression of your condition (i.e. preserve)
  • Homeopathy cannot reverse damage that has already been done to your joints but it can improve range of motion, swelling and associated pain almost completely
  • Homeopathy can help to heal tissue/joint damage in cases of blunt trauma or overuse injuries
  • Dental issues are often associated w Rheumatoid Arthritis and must therefore be simultaneously addressed
  • There is a link between an unhealthy gut flora and arthritis therefore the gut must often be reconstructed with probiotics etc.
  • Arthritis is a chronic condition by nature and therefore requires a constitutional (individualized) homeopathic prescription by a trained Homeopathic Practitioner that will address all health concerns and disharmony in the body from Heat-to-Toe!

 

The 3 Natural Keys to Reducing Arthritis Symptoms

  1. Nutrition – Avoid/minimize aggravating foods and introduce healing foods.
  2. Exercise - Improve your range of motion and the strength of your muscles and bones with gentle movements such as walking, swimming, dancing and light weight-bearing exercises.  Loosing excess body weight also beneficial especially in Osteoarthritis.
  3. Homeopathy & Natural Supplementation – Seeing a Homeopath for an individualized remedy can help eliminate your symptoms gently and naturally.  Supplementation is also highly beneficial in many cases.

 

Nutrition & Arthritis

Poor nutrition is a barrier to cure (aka. a maintaining cause) in Homeopathy.  Ask yourself what is storing this chronic state of inflammation in the body and keeping me in limbo?  A contributing factor could be the ingestion foods that produce inflammation.  These foods must be eliminated while you heal with homeopathy as arthritis sufferers are already in a state of inflammation.

DECREASE or Eliminate for 4-8 weeks

  • Foods High in OxalatesSpinach, asparagus and rhubarb.  they create crystals in connective tissue and are particularly bad for gout.
  • Top Food Allergens:  Wheat, dairy, corn and soy as they increase inflammation.
  • Nightshade family:  Tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, peppers.  They ontain Solanin, which triggers inflammation.
  • Convenience Foods:  Rich in chemical additives, preservatives & flavoring.
  • OTHER:  Non-organic Foods, Non grass-fed meats, especially red meat, fried foods, refined sugars & flours, dairy, alcohol & caffeine.  These foods all increase the acitidy in your body.

INCREASE

  • Foods High in EFAs especially Omega 3:  Salmon, Mackerel, and Flaxseed, Sea bass, tuna, trout.
  • Foods High in Sulfur: (repairs cartilage) Onions, cabbage and garlic
  • Anti-inflammatory Herbs:  Ginger, curcumin and tumeric.   They inhibit the formation of pro-inflammatory compounds and act as a strong antioxidant to heal tissue.
  • Flavonoids: Cherries, blueberries, hawthorn berries.  They exhibit membrane and collagen stabilizing, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory actions.
  • Foods high in Bromelain:  Pineapple and papaya helps pain and inflammation
  • Vitamin E sources:  Vit E has been found to be low in joint fluid of RA patients.  Eat broccoli, almonds, avocados, mangoes, peanuts, sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts.  They exhibit antioxidant properties and protect joints from free radical damage.

Extra Nutritional Tips

  • Keep Hydrated!  Dehydration has been linked to arthritis. Drink half your body weight in ounces a day to keep your joints lubricated and your body hydrated.
  • Adopt an Anti-Inflammatory diet
  • Reset your pH balance by following an alkaline diet as most arthritis sufferers have an acidic pH.  Eating alkaline foods such as milk, almonds, coconut, fruits, and dark green leafy vegetables will also improve your calcium absorption.
  • Eat a whole foods diet.  Whole foods/grains etc are less processed and thus contain more natural nutrition, including fiber (which is key to healthy digestion and to feel full for longer).
  • Include these super foods in your diet:  Kale, artichoke, celery, turnip, mustard greens, barley, millet, black berries, black mission figs, limes, black currents, olive oil, seaweed, almonds, cherries and pineapple.

 

Nutritional Supplementation

Although improving your diet should always come first, supplementation is often needed as we age.  However, many individuals have difficulties absorbing and assimilating supplements if they do not address the imbalance of the ‘whole’.  This is where Homeopathy plays a role in nutrition – When your body is functioning optimally after taking your homeopathic remedy, often supplementation is no longer needed OR certain required supplements can be better absorbed and utilized by the body.

Helpful Supplements

*Note: The following are NOT indicated for everyone.  See a homeopath or naturopath for an individualized treatment plan.

  • Fish Oils high in Omega 3 and particularly EPA : Lubricates joints and reduces inflammation
  • Glucosamine with Chondroitin Sulfate:  Rebuilds cartilage and reduces joint pain
  • Vitamin E & C:  For collagen synthesis and repair (a major component of bone)
  • MSM:  Has natural anti-inflammatory benefits and contains sulfur, an important component of cartilage
  • Curcumin (Tumeric Extract):  Anti-oxidant and Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Bromelain:  Anti-inflammatory effects

Hydrotherapy

Soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts or mineral salts for at least 20 minutes.  The minerals will help replenish the body’s own mineral stores and provide some pain relief.

Medicinal Tea

For arthritis associated with cold hands and feet or worse in the wintertime make tea by boiling 20g cinnamon (stick) and a 30g of fresh ginger in 2cups of water.  Let the cinnamon and ginger boil until only half the liquid is left, then strain.  Drink ½ cup twice a day.  Not suggested for those who suffer from hot flashes.

Homeopathy @ Home

Homeopathic Ointments by Heel are a natural and effective topical alternative to strong smelling arthritis creams.

  • Traumeel can be applied to swollen and painful joints as well as muscles.
  • Zeel is particularly recommended in osteoarthritis.  It is for local pain relief from stiffness, inflammation and arthritis.

Book a complimentary information session with Andrea Hauser, Homeopath, to learn more about her services - 519-573-6700