Arthritis: Aching for Pain
Relief and Finding a Solution
Two out of every three people over the age of 35 have arthritis that can affect virtually every part of the body. The symptoms include a dull aching feeling from the feet to the knees, hips, back, neck, shoulders and fingers. As the oldest known affliction to man, arthritis has become an unwelcome household word. Pain and arthritis are synonymous, and even the famous Roman baths were designed to temporarily provide some relief from the pain over a thousand years ago.
What is Arthritis?
The word Arthritis is derived from the Greek word arth, which means joint, and itis, which means inflammation. However, in many kinds of Arthritis, the joint is not inflamed, so a more accurate description would be, "degenerative joint disease". The affliction not only affects the joints, but the surrounding tendons, ligaments and cartilage as well.
There are a variety of arthritic conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. In each major kind of arthritis, a different joint tissue is involved. In rheumatoid arthritis, the problem is chiefly synovitis, that is, an inflammation of the synovial membrane. In gout, the problem is crystals that form in the joint space and cause inflammation and pain.
In osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, the problem is a breakdown of the joint articulator cartilage; the smooth glistening substance attached to the end of the bones. Healthy cartilage is soft, smooth and spongy; whereas damaged cartilage is rough, dry and brittle. The symptoms for osteoarthritis include mild, early morning stiffness, stiffness following periods of rest, pain that worsens with joint use, loss of joint function, local tenderness, soft tissue swelling, creaking and crackling of the joint with movement, bony swelling, restricted mobility, enlargement and deformities of the afflicted joint or joints with inflammation possible in the advanced stages.
The favorite targets for osteoarthritis are the fingers and weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips, neck, lower back and some joints in the feet.
As the disease progresses, joint components deteriorate facilitating crippling and disabling effects.
What causes Arthritis?
Arthritis is caused by a variety of factors including joint instability, age related changes, altered biochemistry, hormonal factors, and genetic predisposition. Yet environmental and psychological factors have also been found to bring on the disease.
Even though causes of Arthritis can definitively be identified unfortunately a cure is not as readily forthcoming.
What kinds of treatments are available for Arthritis?
Most conventional physicians today treat arthritis with drugs designed to minimize inflammation and attempt to control or manage pain. A Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) will most likely be prescribed. Available over-the-counter drugs include ibuprofen, Motrin, Naprosyn, Clinoril and others.
Although these NSAIDs are affective in managing the effects of Arthritis, they do not come without considerable risks and/or side effects of their own. They are rapidly becoming a concern in the medical and health communities
Studies show that NSAIDs deteriorate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. According to the National Institute of Health, consistent use of NSAIDs over prolonged time periods increase the incidence of hospitalization for stomach ulcers by six and a half times.
The most serious problem from taking NSAIDs is their degenerating effect on cartilage; NSAIDs actually prevent the growth of collagen in the joints.
When researchers added aspirin to normal and osteoarthritic cartilage cultures from animals and humans, they found that the synthesis of proteoglycans (the water absorbing cells in cartilage) slows down significantly. The doses used in lab-dish cultures equaled the usual doses taken by arthritic sufferers for pain. This means that aspirin, when taken internally prevents cartilage from repairing itself- and speeds up the progression of osteoarthritis! In similar experiments with animal cultures, other NSAIDs inhibited cartilage synthesis.
In an ironic twist of medical fate, the only NSAID that stimulates proteoglycans is benoxaprofen, now banned for causing liver and kidney damage related deaths.
Further potential damage caused by the use of NSAIDs is nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, memory loss, inability to concentrate and allergic reactions.
What is a pain sufferer to do?
A growing number of very exciting studies pouring forth from research centers and hospitals in Europe and Asia have forced health practitioners look at specific nutrients that many feel can reverse arthritis. These nutrients have been shown in studies to provide the raw materials for cartilage regeneration. The names of these three nutritional supplements are glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and gelatin.
Glusosamine is made of glucose, the sugar that the body burns for fuel, and an amino acid called glutamine. Glucosamine is an important part of the mucopolysachiarides, which provide structure to the bone, cartilage, skin, nails, hair, and other body tissues. It is a major building block of the water- loving proteoglycans, one of the substances that cartilage needs in order to thrive. Without these water-attracting molecules in place, there is cartilage damage. With cartilage losing its ability to absorb shock, it becomes more susceptible to cracking, fissuring, and possibly wearing through completely.
Glucosamine is an all-natural source that helps relieve arthritis symptoms and reconstruct cartilage health by forming the proteoglycans that healthy cartilage must have.
The second nutrient that works synergistically with glucosamine to enhance cartilage health and bring further relief of pain is chondroitin sulfate. Also called the "water magnet" or "liquid magnet", this supplement draws in precious depleted fluid, while protecting existing cartilage from premature breakdown. This function is crucial because the more fluid that flows into cartilage, the more shock absorbent it will become; like a dehydrated sponge that you pour water over, the cartilage becomes more cushioned.
Gelatin is a source of collagen. One of the functions of collagen is to assist the body in the regeneration healthy collagen fibers.
Studies in Europe now show that gelatin provides building blocks of cartilage; effectively providing nutritional support required for cartilage regeneration. Cartilage is largely made of collagen fibers. The entire structure flexibility and strength of cartilage is due to collagen fibers. The absence of collagen fibers to hold cartilage in place as buffers would result in bones grinding against each other.
A study published in Therapiewoche by Adam ET. Al. (1991), using randomized double-blinded crossover trial of 52 patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis, found that gelatin supplements improved symptoms related to joint pain compared to a placebo.
Another study in 1994 by Beuker and Rosenfeld, using a randomized blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 92 geriatric patients, found that gelatin appears to have a significantly positive affect on joint health by reducing the sensation of pain and enhancing mobility compared to a placebo.
On the cutting edge of research, the Arthritis Assist™ supplement contains a unique blend of these three extraordinary nutrients: glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and gelatin. Working together synergistically, they have been known to alleviate pain and swelling, and studies have shown that they provide the raw materials for cartilage regeneration, thereby helping to reduce the pain associated with arthritis over long periods of time. In addition Arthritis Assist™ contains whitewillow bark and curcumin, natural anti-inflammatories, to help alleviate pain and swelling.
If you, your family members and/or friends are suffering from the pain of arthritis then Arthritis Assist™ would be a great gift.
OTHER ARTHRITIS RESOURCES:
[Rated #1 by The Glucosamine Foundation]
Arthritis Resource Center - Latest News!
Glucosamine - Breakthrough Osteoarthrits Remedy
JAMA Report on Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Synflex - #1 brand of glucosamine by The Glucosamine Foundation
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Running with arthritis: Joints in Motion
Joint Pain in Pets
Arthritis and Intrasound
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