The word ‘arthritis’ means ‘inflammation of the joints’. It is derived from two Greek words: athron, meaning joints; and itis, meaning inflammation. It is, generally, a chronic disease process. Arthritis occurs in various forms, the most frequent being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which usually occurs in the older age-group. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease which affects not only the joints of the fingers, wrists, hips, knees, and feet, but also the muscles, tendons and other tissues of the body.
There are a lot of different kinds of arthritis, categorized according to the extent of wear and tear in the joints and the cartilaginous tissues. Sometimes, the inflammation could be caused due to excessive wear and tear of the joints. However, the inflammation could also be caused due to autoimmune disorders. Such disorders, in which the immune system attacks the joints, are one of the leading causes of arthritis and rheumatism.
There are various types of arthritis but most forms of the condition do cause some amount of swelling and pain the joints, so if you do experience pain and stiffness in any of the joints in your body on a regular basis then it is possible that you may be suffering from arthritis. All of our bodily movements and our mobility or flexibility is dependent on the proper functioning of the joints. Swelling or inflammation of the joints, which is typical of most types of arthritis, can however cause the joints to get severely damaged over time. Some forms of arthritis can even cause problems in organs like the eyes or skin.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common manifestations of arthritis and this usually develops as a result of aging or due to some injury. Some types of arthritis may also develop as a result of your immune system turning on your own body. The immune system which normally protects against infections may begin attacking your own bodys tissue in this type of arthritis, with rheumatoid arthritis being the most common. Although arthritis is by and large associated with old age or aging, the condition can also affect children. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is fortunately a very rare condition. At times arthritis may develop as a result of an infections spreading from one part of the body to the joint, and this is termed as infectious arthritis.
Arthritis may be a degenerative condition to which there is no permanent cure, but treatment can help to manage and control arthritis, reducing its effect on your everyday life. The main focus of arthritis treatment, whether with conventional treatment or with natural arthritis remedies is towards preventing further deterioration of the joints and to increase and preserve mobility, while restricting arthritis pain. Arthritis pain relief and management is best achieved through a combination of medical treatments and natural remedies or self care that could include specialized arthritis diet plans, lifestyle routines, and physiotherapy that may include specific exercises like yoga or pilates.
Arthritis in the hands and feet or hips can be particularly problematic during pregnancy. Women suffering from arthritis should give serious thought to a decision to get pregnant because of the risk of complications.
Pain and Stiffness in the Joints, Anaemia, Colitis
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness in the joints. The pain usually increases after exercise. Rheumatoid arthritis is often called the ‘cooked food disease’. lt usually develops gradually over several months, with persistent pain and stiffness in one or more joints. Ultimately the whole body is affected. Symptoms include anemia, colitis, constipation, deformed hands and feet.
The gradual onset of osteoarthritis will typically cause symptoms like a progressive stiffening of the joints and some amount of pain but there is unlikely to be any noticeable swelling, or fever and chills.
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause symptoms like painful swelling and inflammation of the joints with stiffness, usually affecting the fingers, legs, arms and wrists. These symptoms are generally most severe when you wake up each morning.
If you experience joint inflammation and tenderness or pain that is also accompanied by a fever or chills then it is very likely that what you are experiencing could be infectious arthritis or some other disease that causes arthritis like symptoms.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis could cause symptoms like weight loss and a loss of appetite or anemia and fever in children. You may also notice the appearance of blotchy rashes on the arms and legs.
If the onset of the pain and inflammation is very sudden and is accompanied by redness and tenderness then there is a high possibility that it is the beginning of gout.
Structural Changes in the Articular Cartilage in the Joints
Osteoarthritis results from structural changes in the articular cartilage in the joints, usually those which are weight-bearing, such as the spine and knees.
Hormonal Imbalance, Physical and Emotional Stress
Rheumatoid arthritis is due to an inflammation of the synovium or lining of the joints. This is accompanied by swelling and eventually leads to deformity. The condition may be caused by hormonal imbalance, physical and emotional stress, infection, severe fright, shock, and injury.
Hereditary factors may also be responsible for the onset of this disease.
There are various types of arthritis and accordingly a number of possible causes. Arthritis generally does involve a breakdown and deterioration of cartilage however, which is essential for protection of the joints to enable smooth movement. With the destruction of or loss of cartilage there is some amount of friction as the bones make contact causing severe pain and swelling. The causes of arthritis in the back, neck, hips, knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles or other joints could be attributed to various factors such as autoimmune diseases, bone damage, general wear and tear or aging, or because of infection. If caused by some other condition the inflammation or other symptoms of arthritis should resolve once the infection has been treated or the injury healed. At times however the condition will not resolve even after the elimination of the cause as you may have developed chronic arthritis. Arthritis like osteoarthritis is also age related and it will not go away completely.
Some factors that put you at risk of developing arthritis however include being overweight. Obesity may cause arthritis to develop a lot more easily because of the high amount of stress and pressure on the joints. Performing certain repetitive movements like repeatedly hammering at a nail or batting could put stress on the concerned joint, which is why construction workers or baseball players for example are at risk. A lack of physical activity also contributes to deterioration and muscle or tissue loss and may contribute to arthritis. An unhealthy diet that is excessively high in fat or previous injuries to a joint may also contribute to the eventual development of arthritis.
Remedies for Arthritis
Arthritis Treatment Using Potato Juice
The raw potato juice therapy is considered one of the most successful biological treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries. The traditional method of preparing potato juice is to cut a medium-sized potato into thin slices, without peeling the skin, and place the slices overnight in a large glass filled with cold water. The water should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. Fresh juice can also be extracted from potatoes. A medium-sized potato should be diluted with a cup of water and drunk first thing in the morning.
Arthritis Treatment Using Other Raw Juices
One cup of green juice, extracted from any green leafy vegetable, mixed in equal proportions with carrot, celery, and red beet juices is good for arthritis. The alkaline action of raw juices dissolves the accumulation of deposits around the joints and in other tissues. A cup of fresh pineapple juice is also valuable, as the enzyme bromelain in fresh pineapple juice reduces swelling and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis Treatment Using Sesame Seeds
A teaspoon of black sesame seeds, soaked in a quarter cup of water and kept overnight, has been found to be effective in preventing frequent joint pains. The water in which the seeds are soaked should also be taken along with the seeds first thing in the morning.
Arthritis Treatment Using Copper
Drinking water kept overnight in a copper container accumulates traces of copper, which is said to strengthen the muscular system. A copper ring or bracelet is worn for the same reason.
Arthritis Treatment Using Calcium
Studies have shown that calcium can help arthritis. Several patients have discovered that joint pains have either been relieved or have disappeared entirely after taking calcium. This mineral should be taken in the form of calcium lactate. Two teaspoons of calcium lactate, each teaspoon providing 400 mg of absorbable calcium, may be taken three times daily in water, before meals for at least four months.
Arthritis Treatment Using Garlic
Garlic is another effective remedy for arthritis. It contains an anti-inflammatory property which accounts for its effectiveness in the treatment of this disease. Garlic may be taken raw or cooked according to individual preference.
Arthritis Treatment Using Bananas
Bananas, being a rich source of vitamin B6, have proved useful in the treatment of arthritis. A diet of only bananas for three or four days is advised in treating this condition. The patient may eat eight or nine bananas daily during this period and nothing else.
Arthritis Treatment Using Lime
Lime has also been found beneficial as a home remedy for arthritis. The citric acid found in lime is a solvent of uric acid which is the primary cause of some types of arthritis. The juice of one lime, diluted with water, may be taken once a day, preferably first thing in the morning.
Arthritis Treatment Using Alfalfa
A tea made from the herb alfalfa, especially from its seeds, has shown beneficial results in the treatment of arthritis. One teaspoon of alfalfa seeds may be added to one cup of water. Three to four cups of this tea should be taken daily by arthritics for at least two weeks.
Arthritis Treatment Using Green Gram Soup
Another home remedy found useful in relieving pains in the joints is the use of green gram soup. This soup should be prepared by mixing a tablespoon of green gram in a cup of water, with two crushed garlic cloves. It should be taken twice a day.
Arthritis Treatment Using Castor Oil
Treatment with castor oil has been found beneficial in arthritis. The procedure, as prescribed by a Spanish doctor, is to boil two tablespoons of castor oil over a stove burner. The oil should then be poured into a glass of fresh orange juice and taken before breakfast daily till the disease is cured. It was advised to patients to take it for three weeks, wait for another three weeks and then repeat it again for another three weeks. It is, however, essential that the patient must take an alkaline diet while adopting this mode of treatment otherwise the value of the treatment will be lost.
Arthritis Treatment Using Coconut or Mustard Oil
Warm coconut oil or mustard oil, mixed with two or three pieces of camphor should be massaged on stiff and aching joints. It will increase blood supply, and reduce inflammation and stiffness with the gentle warmth produced while massaging. Camphorated oil is an ancient rubefacient used for the purpose.
Home Remedies for Arthritis
While arthritis almost always requires medical attention to slow down the degeneration of the joints, a lot of people prefer natural arthritis treatment. This approach is usually slow, but is free of side effects. The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis ranges from herbal remedies to joint replacement surgeries. Depending on the condition and the severity of the damage to the joints, a doctor would recommend treatments.
A lot of people consume garlic to treat their arthritis. You can consume raw garlic with a glass of water, and if that is not acceptable to you, you can even get yourself some garlic supplements. If there is swelling and redness in your joints, you can apply roasted fenugreek seeds, soaked in mustard oil to the joints. These help reduce the redness and the swelling in the joints, giving you a larger range of motion.
Another important thing to do is to pay attention to your diet. Drink lots of fluids so that the body tissues, especially those in the joints, remain hydrated. This would help to maintain the health of your joints.
Diet for Arthritis
Take Fruits and Vegetables in the Form of Salads
The diet of an arthritis patient should be planned so as to produce alkalinity in the blood. It should include fruits and vegetables in the form of salads, and, at least, two cooked vegetables. In severe cases, it would be advisable to put the patient on raw vegetable juice therapy three times a day, for about a week. Repeated juice fasts are recommended at intervals of every two months.