Arthritis “Unloader” Knee Braces – Single Hinge Vs Double Hinged

According to USA Today, the number of knee replacement surgeries has grown substantively over the last 20 years, costing our government over 5 billion dollars. That amount will continue to grow as the baby boom generation continues to age.New technologies are being utilized to reduce the need for knee replacements.

Stem cell treatments, partial knee replacement, arthrosurfacing and HemiCap Implants are just some of the new treatments being utilizing as an alternative to the joint destructive procedure known as the total knee.

Another existing conservative treatment is the utilization of the arthritis or “unloader” knee brace. These rigid framed braces have been used for over a decade, and are designed to reduce the “bone on bone” contact between the femur and tibia. These arthritis braces are limited given the fact that they can only be used uni-compartmentally. If both compartments of the knee (medial and lateral) demonstrate severe arthritis, with lack of cartilage and joint fluid, the unloader type of braces are not effective. In instances of patients with either medial or lateral unicompartmental osteoarthritis, these types of knee braces can have a substantial impact on a patient's activity by reducing the pain and swelling associated with arthritis of the knee and extend the life expectancy of the knee until such time that these new technologies can be applied.

Most unloader knee braces work in two ways, utilizing the same principle effect of removing stress of one of the two compartments of the knee joint. When the medial or inner compartment of the knee is affected, a varus deformity or bowing of the knee joint can be seen on x-ray and if severe, can be seen clinically when a patient is standing.

Likewise, with the lateral or outer compartment is affected, a valgus deformity or knock kneed developments. Some braces, like the Breg Fusion and X2K OA Knee Braces work by applied pressure directly at the knee joint in an attempt to correct the varus or valgus deformity and “make the knee straight”. This has the effect of reducing the pressure of the affected component of the knee and redistributing the weight to the brace and the other compartment.

Braces like the DonJoy Nano or OA Adjuster work by bending the thigh and leg into a straighter position, rather than exert direct pressure on the knee joint. This type of unloader knee brace works well with patients with severe arthritis, and palpable pain and pressure at the knee joint leve. In severe arthritis with patients suffering severe pain, the results can be quite instantaneous.

Over the last several years, single hinged arthritis braces have entered the market, with the advantages of being lighter weight and more comfortable to wear.

So how does a doctor or patient choose between a single hinged arthritis brace or dual hinged? And how do you choose between direct knee correction or thigh / leg correction?

The choice really depends on the patient and certain factors that would eliminate some of the choices you have.Typically younger individuals benefit from dual hinged braces as they provide added knee stability to protect the meniscus, collateral ligaments and ACL / PCL.

Active athletes and people participating in higher impact and contact sports have added benefits when utilizing a dual hinged brace. Older individuals or people with more sedentary lifestyles may benefit better with single hinged braces, due to the added comfort and fit of these devices.

Patients with substantial swapping in the knee, or knees that do not conform to standard off the shelf measurements may benefit from singe hinged braces, again to provide a better fit and less restriction of knee swelling.Newer models are designed for women, addressing a wider pelvis and increased Q-angle.

When choosing a knee brace, it is always best to consult with your treating doctor, therapist or healthcare professional. They will be able to determine which unloader knee brace is best for your situation based on clinical and radiological findings.

Going online and buying an arthritis knee brace without knowledge of your condition can make your situation much worse and increasingly painful. It is always recommended that if you go online to purchase an arthritis knee brace, that you choose a company that has experience in these types of medical products and can help guide you and your doctor in the right direction.

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Osteoarthritis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder in which there is a preliminary loss of the protective cartilage covering the end of the bones. It is more common in the weight bearing joints of the body like the knees, hips and spinal joints. Occidentally, it can also affect the joints of the fingers, toes and neck.

It usually starts between 40-50 years of age although it can occur earlier if there is an underlining condition condition like rheumatoid or septic arthritis. Women are more commonly affected than men.

The exact cause of osteoarthritis is not known but is believed to be age related. Aging puts stress and strain on the joint cartilage leading to its inflammation and erosion. As the cartilage typically wears off, there is stretching of the surrounding ligaments and tendons causing pain and stiffness of the affected joint.

Risk factors

Age and obesity are the main risk factors. Obesity increases the pressure on the aging joints. Other under risk factors associated with osteoarthritis are injury of the joints, excessive stress on the joints and genetic defects in the cartilage. Conditions like diabetes and gout can also lead to osteoarthritis.

Symptoms

The main symptom of osteoarthritis is gradually increasing joint pain and stiffness. Walking or stretching relieves both pain and stiffness to some extent in early stages of the disease. But in later stages, walking may cause increased pain. There may be swelling of the joints due to effusion and collection of fluid. The bones may rub against each other producing a crackling noise known as 'crepitus' and cause agonising pain.

When osteoarthritis affects the finger joints, hard bony enlargements known as Heberden's nodes may be formed. These are not painful but can limit the movement of the joints.

Some people may have no symptom at all and osteoarthritis may be discovered only when the patient is examined for some other condition.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of osteoarthritis can generally be made by the clinical history and examination. X-rays can confirm the diagnosis. X-rays show loss of joint space, uneven cartilage, bone cysts and new bone growths called osteophytes.

Arthroscopy is a minor procedure in which a small camera is introduced into the knee joint to examine it under direct vision. It can be very useful to diagnose, assess as well as treat osteoarthritis.

Management and Treatment

The mainstay of management of osteoarthritis is lifestyle models. Losing weight causes less strain on the joints, decreasing pain and increasing flexibility. Exercises and physical therapy help in the loss of weight. Painkillers, rest during exacerbations or flare-ups and walking aids also help decrease the symptoms.

In later stages of osteoarthritis, these measures may not help and joint replacement surgery with physiotherapy may be needed.

Osteoarthritis gradually worsens over time – there is no cure. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle may decrease the rate of progress of the condition and help improve pain and movement of the joints.

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The Best Foods for Gout Relief and Gout Prevention

More and more people with gout are looking for natural ways, not only to relieve their symptoms, but also to prevent gambling gout attacks. This can be achieved through diet. In this short article, you'll find lists of the best foods for gout relief and gout prevention …

High uric acid levels in the blood leads to the formation of urate crystals in joints and surrounding tissue. It's formed as a byproduct of the breakdown of 'purines' as part of the body's normal metabolizing process. Purines are important chemical compounds found in our bodies and our food.

Uric acid itself is a powerful antioxidant and your kidneys' job is to process the uric acid being produced, excrete excess out of the body via urine, and leave healthy amounts circulating in the bloodstream.

The problem occurs when there is either too much acid being produced or when the kidneys are not working to their full potential. Under either of these scenarios insufficiency is being excreted, leading to high blood uric acid, crystal formation, and then gout.

Best Foods for Gout Relief

Gout is probably the most painful form of arthritis and is often referred to as 'gouty arthritis.' Gout can be excruciating and highly debilitating so the first task, at the sunset of a gout attack, is to relieve the pain and inflammation and reduce swelling.

This can be achieved by eating lots of certain types of foods that have known natural anti-inflammatory powers. Some of the best foods for gout relief are:

  • cherries
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • celery

Cherries and celery are particularly effective for relieving gout symptoms.

Best Foods to Prevent Gout

As we consume and digest food throughout the day the purines in the food are continuously being broken down and producing uric acid. In order to help prevent gout we need to keep our uric acid at healthy levels. This is generally agreed to be below 6 mg / dL (milligrams per deciliter).

One important way that we can do this is through a diet that is relatively low in purines – more purines = more uric acid – which we can do by avoiding those foods that are relatively high in purines. These are foods such as:

  • red meat
  • offal (liver, heart, etc.)
  • game
  • poultry
  • fish (especially anchovies, sardines, herring, and mackerel)
  • shellfish (especially mussels, scallops, shrimp, and prawns)
  • yeast / yeast extract

We can then consume more low-purine foods like:

  • complex carbohydrates (pasta, rice, cereals, etc.)
  • essential fatty acids (nuts, seeds, flaxseed, small portions of tuna and other oily fish, etc.)
  • foods high in vitamin C (tangerines, red bell peppers, potatoes, red cabbage, etc.)
  • low-fat dairy
  • fresh vegetables (especially dark green leafy vegetables)
  • fresh fruit

Not only will eating low-purine foods lead to lower uric acid production, some foods, such as those high in vitamin C, have been found to actively reduce uric acid levels.

Some vegetables are moderately high in purines and should also be avoided or at the very least cut back on:

  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • legumes
  • mushrooms
  • dried peas
  • spinach

So there you have it, the best foods for gout relief and gout prevention.

Note: It's very important to pay close attention to frequently repeating gout because this can lead to permanent joint damage, kidney problems, diabetes, stroke, and even heart disease, if not managed properly.

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A Simple All Natural Cure for Gout

Since you're reading this, you're probably suffering from gout and looking for an all natural cure for it. You've come to the right place; In this short article I outline one of the most popular and affective natural gout treatments there is …

First though, gout flares are the result of having high uric acid levels in the bloodstream – a condition called “hyperuricemia” – out of which tiny, needle-like crystals form in the blood and eventually collect in the joints.

So any cure for gout, natural or otherwise, has a two-fold purpose: first, to relieve your agonizing symptoms, then, to reduce your uric acid to healthy levels to prevent repeated attacks that can have seversequences.

Before looking at an all natural gout cure / remedy it's beneficial to understand how drug-based medicines work to treat your gout …

Medical Approach to Curing Gout

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen are usually recommended by your doctor at the sunset of a gout flare. But, depending on the circumstances, other types of pain relievers may be advised, such as colchicine.

Your doctor also knows that once having a gout attack you have gout for life! So they'll usually recommend a uric acid lowering drug to prevent repeating gout attacks, as these can lead to a number of serious health issues including stroke, heart disease and sudden heart attack.

But these medications have a range of side effects that make them unsuitable for some sufferers, while many first-time sufferers can be put off their use, especially uric acid reducing drugs because they have to be taken for life. So gout victims, like yourself, are increasingly seeking natural gout cures …

All Natural Cure for Gout

There are many natural remedies for gout that can relieve the symptoms of your gout flares and reduce your blood uric acid, in much the same way as those drug-based medications, but without the side effects.

You need look no further than a lot of the fruit and vegetables that are readily available to us. Many are packed with natural chemicals called flavonoids which have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and others are particularly rich in vitamin C which studies have shown to be able to lower uric acid in the body.

Berries such as cherries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackcurrant, raspberries, bilberries, and cranberries, are full of flavonoids and vitamin C. So eating loads of these can be an effective natural treatment for gout.

One of the most popular of these particular natural remedies is cherries. Several studies have concluded that not only do cherries reduce inflammation and pain, they also lower uric acid levels in the blood.

So, for many people, cherries are an ideal all natural cure for gout. It has been suggested to take between thirty and forty cherries every four hours during a gout attack with a similar amount, once a day, for maintenance after the symptoms have abated.

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Is This the Best Cure for Gout in Your Big Toe?

Gout in your big toe is caused when uric acid crystals form in the toe joint and surrounding tissue as a result of high uric acid levels in the bloodstream. In this short article you're going to discover, not only one of the best cures for your gout, but also, why gout prevention may be a matter of life or death for some of us.

The symptoms of gout – redness, swelling, inflammation, stiffness, hot to touch and very great pain – can occur in any part of your body, but the big toe is the most common location.

When first diagnosed with gout, patients are usually prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs to help alleviate the painful symptoms and, after the attack has abated, uric-acid-lowering medication to help maintain healthy uric acid levels in order to reduce the risk of crystal formation .

However, all of these medications have side effects that can affect many patients. In addition, many of us simply prefer not to use drugs wherever possible. This is especially the case with drugs to lower uric acid as these generally have to be taken for a lifetime!

So more and more gout sufferers are looking for natural treatments for their condition. And there are many natural cures for gout out there. Perhaps one of the best natural cures is cherries …

Cherries contain large amounts of anthocyanins which are known to have inflammation-reducing powers. And studies have found that, not only do cherries help to reduce the inflammation and pain of a gout attack, they can also lower uric acid because of their high vitamin C content.

The amount of cherries to take to be effective varies across studies, but at least one suggests taking 30 to 40 every four hours during an attack and thereafter 30 to 40 per day to maintain healthy uric acid levels.

Note that once having had your first gout attack you are now at a much higher risk of repeating gout which, studies have shown, puts you at a higher risk of permanently damaged joints, kidney disease / stones, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and sudden heart attack. You need to do everything in your power to prevent further attacks.

Now, although “cure” is used in the title of this article and, in all probability, you used that in your search query, it should be noted that there is not a known medical cure for gout as yet. But it definitely can be managed and, if you do it well, there's no reason why you need to suffer further health-damaging gout attacks.

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The Anti Inflammatory in Natural Foods

Inflammatory and non-inflammatory arthritis, these are the most common forms of arthritis. What's the difference? Inflammatory arthritis is usually known as rheumatoid arthritis, where the non-inflammatory arthritis is best known as osteoarthritis. It is often the case that the same joint inflammation that causes arthritis may also be associated with other health problems. Inflammatory arthritis is an inflammatory disease condition resulting from degeneration of cartilage in the joint causing pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease in which the body's own immune system attacks joints, tissues, and organs. A natural process which has a biological purpose to help healing by increasing the circulation is known as inflammation. It is a process which involves the vascular system and immune system. This also involves interplay of various chemical mediators and is known as a complex process.

Here, the nourishment and the white blood cells made by increased circulation to the place of infection or injury so that the invading pathogens being removed and the damaged ones repaired. The characteristics of inflammation are heat, redness, swelling and pain. Inflammation be either treated by medicines or the natural way by being on a certain diet. Medicines have not much to offer without side effects or the use of pain killers, so natural anti inflammatory foods have been consumed for better performance without any risk. However, different foods being metabolized differently, some of them promote pollution while others remove it.

Choosing Anti Inflammatory Foods!

Here are some of the natural anti inflammatory foods. Vegetables and fruits of green bright colors help the progress of inflammatory. Vegetables and fruits are rich in minerals, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants by which the body gets the essential building blocks for health, such as squash, sweet potatoes, avocados, beans, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables. There are many antioxidants and phytochemicals present in the vegetables and fruits that have anti inflammatory properties. Fats: Foods like coconut oil, nuts, sardines, salmon, olive oil, and avocados are natural anti-inflammatory foods which are very healthy. Omega 3 fatty acids are also natural and inflammatory agents which change into prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance. Omega 3, this most important fatty acid can not be made by the body itself and therefore must come from the food you eat. These are found in oily fish of cold water like mackerel, herring, and salmon. As well they are found in flaxseed which is also known as linseed and its oil. The omega 6 fats also help in reducing the pain and inflammation and these are found in sesame seed oil, safflower, sunflower and pumpkin. However, the omega 6 take should always be less than omega 3, this ratio is important.

Spices That Fight Inflammation!

There are many spices which help in reducing pollution of which turmeric is the best. It is known as the best anti inflammatory food for anyone who is suffering from arthritis. It can either be taken as a supplement or be added to the food in its natural bright yellow powder form. For quicker and better absorption into the bloodstream it helps to take it with some black pepper. Other spices used for reducing the inflammation are rosemary, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and oregano. Polyphenols and bioflavonoids, which are found in all the food mentioned above, are also found in red wine and dark chocolate and can also be used to reduce inflammation as well fighting off free radicals. Cayenne pepper is as well anti inflammatory as it has capsicum present in it and capsicums are often used in creams for pain relief.

About Grains!

The whole grains are natural anti inflammatory foods which are rich in complex carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrates help in preventing spikes in sugar level of the blood and the sugar promotes inflammation. However, one of the critical points here is, if grain is refined as it has bran and germ, through the refining process there is a loss of minerals, vitamins and fiber. Some of the best grains are bulgar, oats, whole oats, quinoa, whole wheat and couscous. Taking supplements are of great benefit because it fills the spot of some of the foods you may not be able to eat. When taking supplements you must know what to take and only use proven quality products. Many of the gels and creams are not the problem solvers. Only by eating the right food and adding a good natural supplement will give you that result you are looking for and become pain-free.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis – The Saving of Mr Claus

Arthritis – saving Mr Claus

As we hurtle headlong into 2015 and leave the festival season of last year forever, it may be worthwhile exercise reflecting on the longevity of the long suffering and enigmatic Santa Claus. Let's not forget his erstwhile partner Mrs Claus.

This elderly couple have somehow survived innumerable decades when the most of us can only manage around eight at best. His life's work of bringing joy to millions of children all over the world, makes the CEO of Microsoft's job pale into total insignificance. Does he suffer the same aging problems as the rest of us mortals such as pain or arthritis? If so, his particular brand of pain management could be of interest to us all.

We can examine the conditions of his employment – to globally deliver in one night what Fedex can not hope to achieve in one mortal year, and let's be honest, the likes of Fedex and DHL have no responsibility as to gift satisfaction or suitability, merely to deliver as required. That Mr Claus achieves all this at one of the most inhospitable times of the year is no doubt an additional burden on his constitution. So how does this couple remain jovial and fit enough to achieve this unique task year after year when the best of us would be feeling the effects of age, never mind the effects of stress from condensing ten years' worth of work into one night.

Pain Management

There is no doubt that Santa Claus is a hypnotic character and it would seem that his appearance freedom from the illnesses that affect many people such as rheumatoid arthritis would completely confirm the application of his hypnotic appeal for his own benefit and possibly that of his wife in pain management treatment. Several studies demonstrate the correlation of endorphin's and pain management and the reduction of painful arthritis symptoms on a long term basis. One look at Mr Claus (ho ho ho) would seem to demonstrate that not only is laughter good for your health, since laughter is an effective way of releasing endorphin's, but using hypnosis it is possible to further stimulate and increase the release of those feel good buddies, since I challenge that even Mr Claus is able to keep laughing for more than a few days at a time and certainly not for a whole year. Can it be that in order to complete his monumental task, he uses some form of mind programming technique?

Pain Management, Arthritis & Hypnosis

A dramatic case was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association of a 10 year old girl diagnosed as having juvenile rheumatoid arthritis which had responded minimally to large doses of aspirin and physical therapy over a period of 7 weeks. The doctors decided to try hypnotherapy and 4 hours after her second session, the girl was able to ride her bike and was free from any pain. Two further reinforcing sessions were given and the girl remained well for the three years to the time of the report.

It could also be suggested that the only way that Mr Claus is able to achieve his herculean task, may also be by using some form of hypnosis – since it seems his only 'job' is to do this year after year, when most people would have tired of doing this one thing or would certainly have needed some help to get going or even inspiration to keep going all night on a deep midwinter's eve. Procrastination, lack of motivation or energy, despite age and an ever growing number of clients, are not problems that Mr Claus sees to suffer from and yet he is human.

I challenge that his secret is out.

Edited from original version written for Gloveman Supplies

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Why You Should Think Twice Before Taking Aspirin For A Gout Attack

Aspirin is a well-known analgesic and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to relieve pain in conditions such as headaches, the common cold, migraines, toothaches, sore throats, muscle aches, and to help reduce fever. It's also used – in higher doses – for inflammatory joint conditions like arthritis.

It is not expensive and can be bought over-the-counter so you would think it would be a choice medicine to take at the sunset of a gout attack. In this short article you'll discover why aspirin and gout is not such a good combination and what you can do instead.

Gout is caused by high uric acid in the blood – a condition called hyperuricemia – that leads to monosodium urate crystals forming in the joints, causing gout's well-known symptoms of inflammation, swelling, redness, warm to touch, stiffness, and excruciating pain.

Uric acid is produced in the body when 'purines' in the body breakdown as a normal functioning of the metabolism process. Your kidneys process the uric acid, reabsorb some back into the blood, and flush excess out of your body in urine.

Sometimes, though, your body produces too much for your kidneys to handle so more is manufactured than can be excreted, allowing uric acid to build up in your blood. This also happens if your kids are prevented, in some way, from doing their job properly, as can occur with aspirin.

Aspirin has a 'bimodal' effect on how the kidneys process and excrete uric acid. The first effect is at low doses; low-dose aspirin is known to impede the kidneys ability to excrete uric acid thus leading to increased uric acid levels in the blood. The second effect, at high doses, actually reduces blood uric acid by interfering with the kidneys ability to reabsorb it.

It's clear, then, that to take low-dose aspirin for a gout attack would be counterproductive since low doses actually increase blood uric acid levels.

But what about high-dose aspirin which lowers uric acid? Although we do not really know why, abrupt changes in uric acid levels, in any direction , are known to actually trigger gout attacks and, if the change occurs during an attack, it can exacerbate and prolong it.

This is why other NSAIDs such as, naproxen, ibuprofen, indomethacin and diclofenac, are generally advised by doctors for treating the symptoms of a gout attack. And they can do a good job, especially when taken at the earliest sign of the attack.

But, for those of us who prefer to minimize the use of drug-based medication, there are natural ways to treat the inflammation and pain of a gout attack. One of the most popular and effective natural remedies being cherries …

Research has shown that cherries are rich in anthocyanins which have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Some experts suggest that 30 to 40 cherries every 4 hours will help to reduce pain and inflammation in much the same way as taking NSAIDs. Other similar rich sources of anthocyanins are bilberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and grapes.

Warning: If you take daily low-dose aspirin for a health condition and discover you have gout you must not stop taking your aspirin. But you must not take any other NSAID either without first talking to your doctor, as some medications can interfere with the efficiency of your aspirin.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis – Early Symptoms and Signs

From what I read in several books, research documents and articles, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto immune disease that causes pain and swelling in the joints.

This happens because the immune system attacks the lining of the joints causing inflammation and joint damage.

It starts slowly with minor symptoms that comes and goes, usually on both sides of the body, and progress over a period of weeks or months.

Doctors still do not know what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but it is more common in people who smoke or have a family history of this disease. It can also be difficult to diagnose due to many conditions cause joint stiffness and inflammation.

The most common signs and symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis could be joints pain which is typically a throbbing and aching type of pain, often worse in the mornings and after sitting or still for a while.

Joint inflammation and morning stiffness are also the other common signs of rheumatoid arthritis.

The stiffness happens particularly in the morning or after a period of rest and it may take an hour or longer for the stiffened joint to get back to its working state.

Stiffness is always accommodated with the swapping of the joint. The affected joint area appears pink and warmer, in contrast to other parts of the body.

All these symptoms cause severe pain and inflammation in the joint, which increases the joint sensitivity, tenderness and painfulness.

Fatigue and lack of energy are also common signs of rheumatoid arthritis. The patient stays in a constant state of being ill and the body feels weak to take any physical stress.

The situation usually leads to the loss of appetite, which in turn causes fatigue of the muscles and body.

There are also rheumatoid nodules, which are firm, painless lumps on the skin around elbows or forearms, and according to studies could have been found in about one-fifth of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

As the disease goes on, the inflammatory activity will lead to the erosion and destruction of the joints that will impair their range of movement and lead to some deformity.

The fingers and the bones will deviate to the outside and towards the small finger and take on unnatural shapes.

The treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are going to be placed in disease modifying anti rheumatic drugs, anti inflammatory agents and analgesics.

Anti rheumatic drugs are known to start durable remissions, delay the disease process, and prevent bone and joint damage as well.

Using natural treatment & remedies for rheumatoid arthritis have recently grown among people with this chronic disorder to control their pain and activities.

There are some herbal remedies and natural treatments such as vitamins, minerals and supplements, which have shown significant relief to the pain, inflammation, swelling and weaknesses in affected joints and limbs associated with this disorder.

Some of these natural treatments and remedies are also useful in managing the health conditions and complications which come with rheumatoid arthritis.

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You’ve Just Been Diagnosed With Osteoarthritis – Now What?

After suffering from stiff, numb, or painful joints for so long that you simply had to see a doctor, you now know that this suffering has been caused by osteoarthritis. Whether you were surprised by this diagnosis or not, finally receiving a diagnosis can be relieving in a lot of ways, simply because you now have a name for your condition. And if you know your condition, you can educate yourself regarding how to manage your health and lifestyle to minimize the impact of arthritis on your life. Here are a few tips.

An Arthritis Primer

Easily the most common form of arthritis, this condition affects almost 30 million Americans every year. Symptoms can include stiffness and swelling, pain or numbness occurring in the joints. Specifically, arthritis causes the cartilage that connects the bones together to become inflamed. For instance, you may be experiencing stiffness in your wrists and fingers that make it hard for you to perform regular daily tasks such as writing or typing. Or, your lower back may ache so badly that it is hard to get out of bed in the morning.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Your joints are composed of several different structural materials that all work together to allow you to move about your environment, including bones, connected by softer materials like cartilage, and cushioned by a fluid-filled sac called a bursa. Over time, these soft materials can break down due to under use, over use, age, or genetics. As the cartilage and bursa deteriorate, the joints become stiffer and painful, often hindering your movements.

What Joints Are Affected?

Arthritis affects your joints, the areas of the body where bones come together and allow movement in one or multiple directions. Osteoarthritis typically affects the extremities, as well as the lower back, hips and knees. Cases have been reported in the neck, spine, hips, knees, ankles, wrists, and hands. You could experience symptoms in one or several areas of your body. If left untreated, your symptoms could worsen, including more pain and an inability to perform normal tasks.

Advanced Stages of the Disease

In advanced stages of the condition, the cartilage may break down to such a degree that there is bone on bone friction. When this happens, bones may develop spurs or may even fragment or chip off slightly. When the cartilage erodes to such a degree, inflammatory proteins called cytokines are released that cause even further swelling, pain, and damage in the joint.

Treatment Options

While you should always follow your physician's instructions regarding treatment, you can often treat your arthritis easily at home through gentle stretching and exercise. If you are overweight, you can ease a lot of the pressure on your joints by engaging in regular low-impact exercise such as swimming, rowing, or cycling to shed pounds and strengthen your muscles and joints. Your doctor may also recommend medicines, other therapeutic techniques, or even surgery to repair the tissue in the joint.

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Keep Your Joints Healthy With FIR Braces and Supports

If you read my last article entitled 5 Fast Facts about FIR, you probably know more about far infrared therapy than most of the population!

Far Infrared Rays (FIR) are invisible light rays from the sun that make us feel warm on sunny days But do not burn the skin. This light energy is absorbed deep into the tissue:

– activating water molecules in the blood

– increasing blood flow

– enhancing cell regeneration and soft tissue repair

Our bodies naturally contain FIR energy and this explains why we feel better when outside on sunny days and maybe why so many seniors feel better when wintering in Florida!

Hyperthermic therapies such as FIR have been used for generations but because the biological effects are hard to validate, peer reviewed medical articles on this topic are scarce. The quantitative data is mainly collected through pain questions completed by test and control groups before, during and after the study.

An interesting study published by the American Journal of Geriatrics involved elderly patients experiencing pain and disability from degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee. A fully randomized, partially double-blind trial directed in a pain reduction of more than 50% within the group using the FIR therapy, whereas there was no significant improvement in the placebo group. Studies done with Magnetic Resonance Imaging also suggested a more rapid recovery from muscle fatigue.1

Why Does FIR Help Our Joints?

Researchers believe heated FIR therapies (such as FIR saunas and light panels) increase our body's thermoregulation warming our tissue and thus increasing circulation. While non-heating FIR particles (such as fabrics) can not heat tissue to the same degree, many researchers believe the FIR in the fabric acts as a “perfect absorber” preventing the FIR our body naturally contains from being released. This warms the area producing similar effects to the heated FIR therapy.

Regardless of the application, FIR therapy is natural and has been shown to greatly improve joint health and reduce pain for those with inflammatory conditions such as:

· Arthritis

· Osteoarthritis

· Bursitis

· Diabetes

· Raynaud's Disease

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability affecting approximately 50 million Americans, and will only increase with our large aging population. While there is not a cure for many inflammatory conditions affecting the joints, such as arthritis, garments such as braces and supports can give some relief. FIR braces and supports go even one step further by increasing circulation helping reduce the inflammation and hence the pain.

How to determine which is best for you?

There are many brands, styles and fabrics of supports and braces for almost every body part and joint. It can be very confusing to determine which is best for your condition as it really depends on your symptoms. As a rule …

FIR Supports – provide compression and warmth to reduce pain and swelling. Supports are best for mild arthritis affecting all or part of the joint.

FIR Braces – reinforce the ligaments and help reduce the stress or weight going through the joint. Braces are great for injury recovery and to stabilize the joint while providing warmth and support.

If you suffer arthritis, your doctor has reportedly said maintaining a healthy weight and exercise are the best ways to minimize symptoms. A FIR support or brace can help you stay active while protecting your joints. For those dealing with severe chronic pain, it can not hurt to try!

1. Dr. Fouad I. Ghaly, MD Far Infrared Ray Treatments and Uses. Reversing The Aging Process – an Enlightened Doctor's Discovery.

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Foods to Avoid When Putting Together An Arthritis Diet Plan!

Unlike most diets, an arthritis diet plan is not so much about what you eat, as it is about what you should avoid. Avoiding foods which cause or increase inflammation is basically all you need to do to reduce the effects of arthritis on your affected limbs. Although there are certain foods which have anti-arthritic effects, their effects tend to vary and are generally not as effective as practical prevention.

So if you want to reduce arthritis in your body then what you need to do is to control your diet, and here are several foods that will help you do it.

Sugar

At the top of the list is sugar. Pastries, sodas, candy and even natural fruit juices can cause arthritis. This is mainly because sugar contains a large amount of inflammatory messengers known as cytokines, which triggers inflammation in almost every part of the body. Fortunately, sugar is reliably easy detect. If a particular ingredient has an “ose” at the end of it then it has sugar, and will likely cause problems with your arthritis.

Fried Food

Fried meats and most frozen meals have ingredients and chemicals that help to increase inflammation. Furthermore, they can also impair the body's natural defenses, which in turn can help make you more vulnerable to your arthritic problems. So if you enjoy eating foods, like fried chicken or bacon then it's time that you start avoiding them.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats trigger adipose, which is fat tissue infection, and not only does it cause arthritis infection, it is also an indicator of heart problems. Most scheduled fats that people consume come from pizza, cheese and most types of fast food. Other culprits include red meat, pasta and full fat dairy products. So it goes without saying that a good arthritis diet plan should not include foods which have a lot of saturated fats.

Trans Fat

Trans fat is another type of fat which triggers systemic inflammation. They are usually found among fast foods and fried products as well as snack foods, crackers, cookies, donuts and most frozen foods, so avoiding them is not easy. However, you can help to reduce your trans fat consumption by avoiding the foods mentioned here as well as food products which have partially hydrogenated oils as one of their ingredients.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega 6 is generally considered a good type of fatty acid, but for those who have arthritis, it will only make their condition worse. It is found in corn, sunflower, soy, peanuts and various types of vegetables. In some cases, it can even be found in salad dressings and various types of health foods. Omega 6 is needed by the body for growth and development. However, when it's consumed in excessive amounts, it can trigger the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals.

Refined Carbohydrates

Finally, we have refined carbohydrates, which are mostly found in bread and pastries. Needless to say, carbohydrates are one of the leading causes of weight problems, and to make matters worse, they can trigger arthritis inflammation. So be sure to avoid them whenever you can.

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Single DMARD Use May Be As Effective As, Safer Than Combination Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, early treatment is key. As a progressive disease with no known cure, it's crucial to begin the process of curbing progress, relieving inflammation and limiting joint damage from the start. Unfortunately, one of the primary therapies used for this condition comes with several side effects and is not effective for some patients.

The medications commonly used for patients with rheumatoid arthritis are called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These drugs work by suppressing the immune system. In people with this condition, it is believed that the immune system malfunctions, misidentifying joint tissue as a harmful invader and attacking it. Over time, inflammation and joint wear can lead to disability.

There are several different types of DMARDs, each with its own set of side effects and risks. Methotrexate is the most popular; it's associated with adverse events ranging from upset stomach and rash to liver toxicity and bone marrow toxicity (and birth defects when used by pregnant women). Another common medication, sulfasalazine, has its own very long list, ranging in severity from nausea and tiredness to liver damage, nerve / muscle problems and infections. A third commonly-used DMARD, leflunomide, is associated with symptoms from diarrhea, runny nose and skin rash to signs of a serious reaction, including troubled breathing, fever and uneven heartbeat. (These are not complete lists of side effects.)

Permanent risks, the American College of Rheumatology guidelines for the treatment of early arthritis recommend the use of combination therapy – treatment with two or three DMARDs in conjunction. Because severe side effects are not common and the risk associated with the progress of rheumatoid arthritis are serious, this is considered to be better than reduced medication therapy at the outside.

However, a new study out of Belgium calls into question those recommendations, although more research is needed to overhaul current thinking around the condition's treatment. 290 In the study, 290 high-risk early rheumatic patients were randomized into one of three treatment groups: methotrexate combined with sulfasalazine and a high initial dose of steroids (group 1); methotrexate with leflunomide and a moderate steroid dose (group 2); and methotrexate alone with a moderate steroid dose (group 3). Researchers monitored patients for disease remission and adverse events after 16 weeks of treatment.

All three treatment groups yielded similar remission rates – around 70% of patients qualified for remission status (it should be noted that this rate is high compared to previous research). However, adverse event rates varied significantly. In group 1 (combination sulfasalazine therapy), 61.2% reported some adverse event, and 69.1% in group 2 (combined leflunomide therapy) reported side effects. However, only 46.9% in the single DMARD group did so.

While nearly half of patients in a treatment group reporting side effects is nothing to sneeze at, the similar rates of remission compared to the different rates of side effects between groups stands in support of single DMARD use. Of course, more research is needed to validate these results. However, the results are promising for the many rheumatic patients who will be in search of the safest, most effective treatment path possible.

See more on the study at http://ard.bmj.com/content/early/2014/10/30/annrheumdis-2014-205489 .

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Arthrodesis May Be Better Indicated After Failed TAR Than Re-Arthroplasty

Globally there has been a trend towards increased use of total ankle arthroplasty. This is due due to an increase in the severity of ankle injuries sustained from either physical activity, or from degenerative diseases like arthritis and partly due to technological advances in the field. With this increase, there comes an inevitable increase in the need to revise the prostheses, with component exchange and revision procedures often considered.

Australians surgeons however, do not seem to be following the trend, with a decreasing number of ankle replacement procedures being performed. From a peak in 2011 with 324 ankle replacements performed, the number in 2013 decreased to 251. This is a decrease of 24% in less than 24 months and given the leaps and boundaries the industry is making forward from a technological standpoint, there no reason for this continued decline. Yet the trend is continuing into 2014 with only 90 arthroplasty procedures being performed so far. * Perhaps Australian surgeons have anecdotally found the same results as those of a recent US study, and are showing a preference for ankle fusion in place of total replacement.

(* on ankle joints)

A recent study reviewed 140 patients who underwent primary total ankle arthroplasty (TAR) and two types of revisions. The results demonstrated that patients with TAR may have better outputs with ankle fusion, should they require a revision. This is a good indication why many surgeons are opting for the fusion procedure over the complete replacement.

To give some clarification, ankle fusion involves removing particular problematic surfaces of the joint, which prompts the tibia to 'fuse' with the talus. This draws upon the bodies natural tendency to heal itself after an injury. Prior to the rise of prosthetics, this was the primary method of treating degenerative joint injuries.

In an article in Orthopedics Today Europe about the study results, investigator Ilka Kamrad, MD, stated that patients who underwent ankle fusion had similar function to those who underwent revision TAR, and both groups showed similar levels of satisfaction.

“Revision total ankle replacement does not seem to be superior to ankle fusion after a failed primary total ankle replacement, but larger study groups are needed to better compare the outcomes of the two procedures,” Kamrad said during his presentation at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Perhap this a collective change in thought across the board for the orthopedic fraternity, and fusion-based procedures will continue to rise into 2015 and beyond.

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SPONDYLOSIS – Treat Spondylosis in Ayurveda

A Brief Description

Spondylosis is an ailing state of the vertebrae, the bony blocks of the spell, which became fixed and stiff as the resultant of some diseases. Osteophytes ie bone spurs, and intervertebral degeneration makes debilitating changes in the spine, which condition is known as Spondylosis. Changes occurring in the spine due to Spondylosis are known as Osteoarthritis also. There are certain conditions of this state, in the wake of which, some chronic and agonizing developments may occur. Spine is an organ, which can not be transplanted like heart, liver or kidneys. Therefore caution has to be rendered while dealing with Spondylosis. The vertebrae, discs and spinal cord have a synchronized performance, the equilibrium of which will badly be affected in the case of Spondylosis.

Osteoarthritis is Spondylosis of the lumbar spine, where degenerative changes in the vertebral joints and discs; which act as a cushion between the vertebrae.

Neck (cervical spine), upper and middle portion of the back (thoracic spine), and lower back (lumbar spine) are parts of the body, where Spondylosis occurs. Mostly we see Cervical Spondylosis and Lumbar Spondylosis. Specific symptoms are rarely seen in the case of Thorasic Spondylosis. When Spondylosis affects both the lumbar spine and sacral spine, the condition is known as Lumbosacral Spondylosis, which has degenerative condition from the base of the spine to just below the Lumbar spine. When such degenerative changes occur in the spine's multiple vertebrae, the condition is known as Multilevel Spondylosis.

CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS

When the spinal discs of the neck are affected, the condition is known as Cervical Spondylosis. When the disks in the neck do shrink and get dehydrated, bone spurs will appear as a sign of Osteoarthritis. Cervical Spondylosis is the most common one, which becomes more chronic with the passing of age.

LUMBAR SPONDYLOSIS

When someone is diagnosed to have Lumbar Spondylosis, he may become surprised and may desire to know more about it ie Spondylosis, which affect the lumbar area. This is a degenerative condition of the lower back portion of the spine. Major part of the weight of the body is borne by the lumbar portion of the spine. More over the function of bowing, turning and twisting are also the duty of this portion of the spell. As such Lumbar Spondylosis is an ailment, which is seen among many.

Nerve compression, which causes pain on the lumbar portion of the spinal, is a symptom, the causative factor of which is the abnormality in the structure of the spine, erosion of the cartilage and stiffness. Difficulty to walk will also be experienced. Pain will be worse in the mornings, that will get reduced with exercise, which causes increase in the blood supply.

THORACIC SPONDYLOSIS

Most of us are not aware as to what is Thoracic Spondylosis and since became surprised, when diagnosed to have THORACIC SPONDYLOSIS, which affects the thoracic region of the spine. This condition is not as common as Cervical Spondylosis or Lumbar Spondylosis. Thoracic Spondylosis is caused due to the degeneration at the middle portion of the spine. The degeneration through the dehydration of cartilage and also the viscous fluid inside the disc, which functions as a cushion between the vertebrae; are the causative factors, which leads to Thoracic Spondylosis. When the degeneration begins, the disks, with the fluid inside having less viscosity, will not be able to withstand the stress caused due to the movements such as walking, bowing, lifting weights etc.

Aging causes wear and tear due to which there is loss of tissue in the particular portion and also in the ligaments and tendons, which keeps the equilibrium of holding the bones, do shrink and get dried. This results in the loss of alignment of the spine. The Symptoms of degeneration will appear in the thoracic area, only after getting affected in the other areas.

Numbness and tingling of the limbs ie on the hands, arms, palms, fingers, legs, and toes are experienced. Difficulty in walking, loss of coordination of movements, muscle cramps, stiffness on the middle portion of the back; of course with severity in the mornings, are also seen.

A herbal formulation of unfailing efficacy has been developed by the Chavarcode Ayurvedic Physicians for Spondylosis:

VASKO, SPINE TONE AND POMEGRANATE EXTRACT are given simultaneously for 3 months.

VASKO:

The damaged cartilage is regenerated naturally by augmenting the perfusion at its periphery. Degeneration is ceased and regeneration is boosted by the higher quantity of micronutrients present in the rare and unique herbal ingredients of very rich anti oxidant property. The regeneration is obtained through the creation of harmony of hormone level. The multiplication and regeneration of cartilage cells, in geometric progression, is gained miraculously. Normalcy of gap between joints is regained reversing the Osteoarthritis,

Osteochondral Grafting, Autologous Chondrocyte Implatation, or ACI and Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) regeneration are among the new methods through which a person's cells and tissues are utilized to regenerate the damaged cartilages of the weight bearing points of the bones. This procedure is very expensive and its long standing effect is yet to be proven.

VASKO has got the very beneficial property of regenerating your cartilage within a short period of 30 to 90 days.

SPINETONE

SPINETONE has ingredients, which have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which will be absorbed by the scalp skin and passed through the lymphatics, side by side with the intra vertebral and perivertebral regions. The impingement of the nerves as the case may be with osteophytes, will be reversed. The decongestive effect of SPINE TONE renders relief at the inflated spondylotic portion. Its decongestive effect on not only the nerve roots but also at the spinal cord is a proven fact. Its regenerative effect strengthens the ligaments, cartilage and bones too. The entrapped nerve roots and also the spinal cord which remains compressed will get noticeable relief with SPINE TONE. Theby the capacity of easier mobility of the neck and spine are resumed

POMEGRANATE EXTRACT

The health benefits of the plant based flavonoids present in the vegetables, leaves and fruits, and especially its efficiency in dealing with diseases had been a subject of prime attraction during the immediate past, through the world. Among the various types of fruits available in the world, no doubt, Pomegranate is one among the most beneficial as far as medicinal property is concerned. The very effective therapeutic properties of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nature are beneficial against various diseases.

The degeneration of human cartilage has been found to be preceded by the use of the extract of Pomegranate fruit, in an interesting case study. The world famous JOURNAL OF NUTRITION has published that study in 2005 as detailed below

The Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have found that the fruit extract of Pomegranate will block the enzymes, which causes cartilage degradation that is related to Osteoarthritis. Interleukin -1b the protein molecule, which has the role of excess production of inflammatory molecules, including MMP (Matrix Metalloproteases). The enzymes which has the function of remodeling are known as MMPs. But when the MMPs are produced in excess in Osteoarthrotis, they do cause degeneration of cartilage resulting in damage to the joints. When the culture prepared with the tissue samples of human cartilage of Osteoarthritis patients were mixed with the water extract of Pomegranate fruit, using a vitro model, it was found that it has one more benefit ie of CARTILAGE PROTECTION. This fact was in addition to the already established benefits of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

These facts do unduly elucidate that the excess production of MMP enzymes can be prevented by using Pomegranate fruit extract.

Another study on Pomegranate fruit was conducted by a group of researchers at the case Western Reserve University School of Medicine itself. Rabbits were given Pomegranate fruit extract and tissue with plasma was isolated from them and treated to see that there is remarkable production of Cox-2. Cox-2 is the enzyme which is involved in the conditions of pollution and also reduction in the output of pro-inflammatory substances obtained from those cells, which were isolated from the infested cartilage.

One among the other studies conducted on the subject was published in the journal: 'Physiotherapy Research'. It has estimated the quantum of effect of Pomegranate extract on mice. The mice were on mono-iodoacetate enriched diet with the intention of damage to articular cartilage due to the other structural changes, which are related to Osteoarthritis. The result was absolutely heartening ie the contra indication of mono- iodoacetate was successfully prevented through the administration of Pomegranate fruit extract. It was also inferred that the damage caused by chondrocyte, the only cells found in the cartilage in such a condition, was prevented. If it was also seen that no inflammatory cells could be located in the synovial fluid of mice, which were fed with Pomegranate extract.

The efficiency of this particular formulation is of exemplary order, if it is administrated continuously for 30 to 60 days.

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