The theme for this year’s World Arthritis Day, taking place on October 12, 2016, could not be more accurate. “It’s in your hands, take action” the slogan states.1 When you think of arthritis this way, as a manageable lifestyle condition with several possible courses of treatment instead of the debilitating pain condition without a cure that so many people believe it to be, there is a glimmer of hope.
It’s no wonder so many people feel hopeless about arthritis — the facts about this repetitive motion disorder (RMD) are bleak. A condition like arthritis that can affect the joints and limit mobility, especially when it spreads to the knees, may be classified as an inflammatory or non-inflammatory RMD.
Osteoarthritis, a non-inflammatory RMD, is the most common type of arthritis that can occur in the knees and progressively wear down the joints. Osteoarthritis is most likely to develop after middle age.
Rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory RMD, can also affect the knees and occur at any age.
In the European Union alone, RMDs affect more than 120 million people. This translates to almost every family in Europe being impacted by a repetitive motion disorder in some way. In developed countries, RMDs affect more people than any other disease group.1
Once an RMD like osteoarthritis begins to wear down the synovial joints, including the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees, pain is sure to follow. For most adults who begin to experience stiff and achy joints in middle age, an osteoarthritis diagnosis is considered merely a fact of life. The degenerative joint disease affecting millions of people around the world is presented as a slowly progressing condition brought on by the aging process. Your doctor may tell you that osteoarthritis of the knees is an unfortunate by-product of growing older, without explaining the lifestyle factors that contribute to the condition in the first place.
If you, like millions of others with a debilitating RMD, have experienced chronic pain and stiffening of the joints for months or even years, then you likely want answers. By now, you have probably realised that living with a chronic pain condition without a cure — and with limited pharmaceutical treatment options available — is no way to live.
World Arthritis Day encourages people with RMDs to take action by living life to the fullest. While this compelling campaign sheds a positive light on RMD and provides management tips, it fails to mention some of the most critical lifestyle choices arthritis sufferers can make to improve pain, mobility, and quality of life.
According to the medical community, osteoarthritis may not have a preventable cause or a cure, but we do know two lifestyle triggers that can exacerbate the condition. Primary osteoarthritis is most often caused by eating grains, cereals, and other sugary foods and drinks. Secondary osteoarthritis may stem from another injury or illness that causes degeneration of the cartilage needed to protect the joints.
When you have a degenerative disease like osteoarthritis, this basic health principle matters most of all: What you put into your body can dictate how you feel and how your body performs in the days and weeks to come.
This diet-arthritis connection isn’t just a hunch. In 2014, the European League Against Rheumatism presented two new studies at their Annual Congress that solidified the relationship between diet and degenerative disease. Researchers discovered that consuming healthy fats as part of a Really Healthy Foods Diet free from processed foods (the Mediterranean diet, in this case) could help to suppress disease activity in sufferers of arthritis.2 Duke Medicine researchers also found in the same year that mice that consumed omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat, had healthier joints than mice that ate a diet high in saturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids, most often found in processed foods.3
In the fight against arthritis, broccoli has proven to be a regenerative superstar. University of East Anglia researchers discovered in 2013 that a compound in broccoli called sulforaphane could help to slow the joint degeneration associated with severe osteoarthritis. Mice that ate
a sulforaphane-rich diet had significantly less cartilage damage than those that did not.4
This lifestyle effect swings both ways — eating Really Healthy Foods can promote restoration in the body and minimise the pain and immobility associated with arthritis, while eating processed foods can make the condition even worse. Confirming one of the main triggers of osteoarthritis mentioned above, the American College of Rheumatology stated in 2012 that drinking sugary soft drinks can not only cause weight gain but may also contribute to the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee, especially in men.5
To improve joint health, the Western Un- Natural Food Diet, rich in unhealthy fats and processed foods, must be stopped immediately and replaced with the Really Healthy Foods Diet, rich in vegetables, dark-skinned fruits and avocados, beans, nuts, seeds, moderate meat, oily fish, healthy oils, and healthy carbohydrate alternatives. Essential nutrients like topical magnesium can aid arthritis recovery by helping to manage joint pain and improve mobility. When taken alongside the potent anti-inflammatory enzyme serrapeptase, curcumin can have a remarkable effect on joint health. One 2010 study, backed by the Arthritis Foundation, found curcumin to be effective for long-term pain and function management in patients with knee osteoarthritis.6
For joints where pain and degeneration are already present, an at-home electro- acupressure device can offer consistent relief. Electro-acupressure, when use at home, can help to safely manage symptoms of more than 160 different ailments by balancing the health of the body, with special benefits for pain conditions related to the back, neck, and joints. To treat arthritic knees, there is nothing as fast or as effective as electro-acupressure. As an alternative to surgery and prescription drugs, electro- acupressure can provide quick pain relief while continuing to stimulate the healing of the knee. Acupuncture, which can be mimicked safely at home using a hand-held electro-acupressure device, is known to decrease pain and stiffness in osteoarthritic knees with improvements in pain, stiffness, and function for up to two years.7
Now that we have discovered the lifestyle trigger for arthritis that is rarely discussed, we can truly “take action.” Cutting out junk foods that worsen osteoarthritis, supplementing missing nutrients, and relieving joint pain with electro-acupressure can support the body’s ability to self-heal.
Become a master of acupuncture without the needles! Developed over 14 years with a leading specialist, HealthPointTM can help over 160 conditions, as shown in the manual.
Magnesium contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue and has a role in the process of cell division. It also contributes to electrolyte balance, normal muscle function, normal protein synthesis and normal psychological function.
80,000iu Serrapeptase plus Curcuminx4000, Ecklonia Cava Extract and Vitamin D3, all in one capsule.
1. “Get Involved.” World Arthritis Day.
2. “New data clarify relationship between diet and disease activity.” European League Against Rheumatism. 3. Farshid Guilak et al. Dietary fatty acid content regulates wound repair and the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis following joint injury. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, July 2014 DOI: 10.1136/ annrheumdis-2014-205601.
4. Rose K Davidson, Orla Jupp, Rachel de Ferrars, Colin D Kay, Kirsty L Culley, Rosemary Norton, Clare Driscoll, Tonia L Vincent, Simon T Donell, Yongping Bao, Ian M Clark. Sulforaphane represses matrix- degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/art.38133.
5. American College of Rheumatology (ACR). “Weekly soft drink consumption bubbles up knee osteoarthritis; especially in men.” ScienceDaily.
6. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Dec;15(4):337-44.
7. Acupunct Med. 2012 Sep;30(3):170-5. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2012-010151. Epub 2012 Aug 20.