Jumat, 23 Maret 2012

Degenerative Joint Disease May Not Be The Cause of Your Pain

As you age, your body has a natural course of deterioration. It is not uncommon to have patients state that they have back or hip pain because they have degenerative joint disease. While this could contribute to their present complaint, it is unlikely that the root of their problem is related to degeneration. There is a high likelihood that your pain is being generated for a different reason, and most of the time, that reason is something that can be treated by a manual therapist.

What Is Degenerative Joint Disease?

According to Mayo Clinic, degenerative joint disease, or osteoarthritis, is the most common form of arthritis, and it affects millions of people around the world. It occurs when the cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. This condition is usually most prevalent in your hands, neck, low back, knees, and hips. While there is no cure for this condition, there are therapies that can assist in relieving pain and improving joint function. These treatments include everything from different medications to manual therapy including manipulation, exercise, and muscle work (myofascial release).

Does Degenerative Joint Disease Cause Pain?

Currently, patients are being told a number of different things regarding this topic. Some have been told that their pain is entirely related to degeneration, and there is nothing that can be done about it. Others have been told that they need to be seen one time a week or once every two weeks so that their pain doesn't get worse. While pain can be related degeneration in severe cases, the literature states that mild to moderate degeneration is likely not the source of pain. The current research actually continues to state that showing a patient their x-rays or MRI's is not recommended because it decreases their rate of recovery and may prevent recovery altogether.

Kamis, 22 Maret 2012

Severe Elbow Joint Pain - Possible Causes And Ways To Deal With It Effectively And Safely

When it comes to joint pain, arthritis is undeniably one of the biggest culprits, but we should not let that cloud our judgment. Yes, arthritis can cause severe elbow joint pain, but surprisingly enough, this is less frequent than what many people believe.

One common cause of elbow pain is a condition known as tennis elbow, and no, it does not only affect tennis players. Approximately 50% of people who participate regularly in a racquet sport will get tennis elbow at some point, but even so, the vast majority of cases involve people who do not play any type of racquet sport. Anyone with a job that is demanding on their forearm muscles is particularly at risk. Plumbers, electricians, painters, and even butchers are prime candidates.

Conventional treatment usually involves physiotherapy and pain relief medication, and sufferers are instructed to avoid using their elbow or elbows excessively. In more severe cases, patients may receive corticosteroid injections which are administered into the immediate area. Having said all that, many people are reluctant to have these injections, and many also can not afford to pay for physiotherapy. Instead, they tend to opt for natural remedies such as fish oil supplements and supplements containing New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel extract.

Nerve entrapment is another very common cause of elbow pain, but fortunately it is relatively easy to determine whether or not this is the cause of your elbow pain. In most cases of nerve entrapment, a person will also experience a tingling sensation in their little finger and their ring finger. If there is enough pressure being applied to the nerve which is trapped, the tingling can be replaced with near total numbness.

Nerve entrapment is usually self-correcting. In other words, with enough rest, the pain should eventually go away, although there are cases where surgical intervention is required so that the ulnar nerve can be repositioned.

Bone tumors can also cause a significant amount of pain in one's elbow, but in truth, this is actually very rare. As with bone tumors, septic arthritis is yet another disease which can certainly cause severe elbow joint pain, but it too is very uncommon. Additionally, it is more often than not easily treated with antibiotics, although surgery may be necessary in very severe cases.

While joint pain is often caused by medical conditions such as some of those I have discussed above, it can also quite often be caused by nothing more than a nutrient deficiency. Joints are generally high maintenance body parts, and as such, they are dependent on a healthy diet. If you know your diet is not providing you with all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, you really should try to make a few changes, or alternatively, you should consider supplementing your diet.

Rabu, 21 Maret 2012

Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Common Autoimmune Condition

The Diagnosis

Today I'm writing about a subject, for me at least, is very close to home. Rheumatoid arthritis is a common inflammatory disorder affecting at least 1% of the population. I've learnt about this condition the hard way. My wife started to complain of joint pain after the birth of our son 25 years ago. What began as a vague feeling of being unwell and random joint ache rapidly progressed until one day, my wife Karen, couldn't get out of bed. The doctors performed blood tests, X-rays and clinical assessments and rapidly came to the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Types of Arthritis

So, what is rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and how do we contract it? First off it is necessary to distinguish RA from another common form of arthritis, called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to degeneration of the joints caused by wear and tear and is a disease, in the main, of the elderly. RA causes joint damage but this is not due to normal wear and tear experienced by osteoarthritis sufferers and is not confined to the elderly and can afflict people of all ages.

An Autoimmune Disease

RA belongs to a group of conditions known as autoimmune disorders. For some reason, and the cause of the disease is still somewhat of a mystery, the body's immune system begins to attack healthy joint tissue. What is known is that there is a genetic component to the disease and it is thought that an environmental trigger is required to initiate the disease in genetically predisposed individuals. The onset is usually rapid and without effective medical intervention widespread joint damage may occur. Not everyone is affected to the same degree and the condition may not be restricted to joint damage; other bodily systems can be adversely affected.

There are a variety of treatments for RA, although there is no cure. Often multiple pharmacological approaches are taken to arrest the disease. The aim of the treatment is to prevent the inevitable joint deterioration due to disease progression. Surgery is employed as a last resort to repair the ravages of the diseases.

Doctors often apply the 'rule of thirds' to disease. It can provide a rough and ready guide to treatment and prognosis in some, but not all diseases. If we apply this 'rule' to RA and response to treatment we can rudely state: About a third of the patients respond very well and remain stabilised, a third will experience some benefit and a third will get worse.

One More Op

Karen belongs to the last category. On an average day she will consume 14 separate medications, including opiate based pain killers. Unfortunately the best efforts of modern medicine haven't prevented her from having 24 operations in the past 4 years. As I write my wife is packing for hospital and is about to undergo her 25th operation. This time it is to fuse several cervical vertebrae in her neck in an effort to stop the excruciating neck pain that is preventing her from enjoying life. My wife is stoic and tough; her resilience in the face of this disabling disease inspires me. We are hoping that this may be her last operation, although on past experience we may well be wrong.

Selasa, 20 Maret 2012

What's Inside Our Bones?

Your bones are one of the most important organs in your body. Without them, you would have no figure and you would not have the ability to perform any activity. Your bones play a very important role also in protecting and positioning your bodily organs like the heart and lungs. Without bones, these organs would be very vulnerable to many risks.

It may sound strange but bones are very much alive and that means that they are continuously growing and changing from time to time as the body changes too. That might be hard to imagine since they are thick and hard and you would not see it grow since what we can see is our muscles. Have you ever asked yourself why bones are hard and can support your whole body? Bones are hard and strong because they are made up of special components.

A bone is made up of bone cells specifically called osteocytes. It is made up of almost 50% calcium phosphate, mainly the source of bone's thickness and endurance. Their main function is to take the proper nutrients for the bone and also give out waste materials in it. Bones, just like other organs in the body needs repair from time to time in order to maintain its hardness and strength.

The outermost surface of a bone is called the periosteum. It is also the layer where the nerves and blood vessels are found in which the bone receives the nourishment it needs. The layer next to the periosteum is called the compact bone. This layer is very unique because it is smoother compared to the outermost layer of the bone. This very hard layer is also the one you see every time you would look into skeleton at museums or laboratories. Inside the compact bones is the cancellous bone. It is a layer of the bone that contains more layers in it. Compared to compact bone, the cancellous bone is a bit softer. However, they remain strong just like the compact bone. According to studies, they can be compared to sponge when it comes to appearance. The innermost layer of the bone is consists of the bone marrow. The bone marrow is soft and it looks like a thick gel and so it is protected by the cancellous bone. The yellow bone marrow contains fats which are released when needed by the body. The red bone marrow, on the other hand, makes great amounts of red and white blood cells important to distribute oxygen all throughout the body.

Senin, 19 Maret 2012

Helpful Tips for Arthritis Sufferers

Arthritis is a disease that affects men and women alike. Although it is more common in adults, children are not immune from it. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects children before age 16. Juvenile arthritis can affect children as young as six months old. In all cases arthritis results from inflammation of the joints and can result in joint pain and swelling. We all know that we have cartilage between our bones that protects the joints where the bones meet, and allows the joints to move more smoothly. When one suffers from arthritis, it is as a result of a breakdown of the cartilage between the bones. One can imagine then that cartilage breakdown causes the bones to rub together and as a result we get the inflammation, pain and stiffness.

My dad suffered from chronic rheumatoid arthritis for a long time. To a certain extent and in hindsight, we would all probably agree that his own negligence in treating his symptoms at an early stage resulted in the long suffering that he endured as a consequence. For a long time my dad ignored the symptoms of arthritis because he just felt it was not worth making a big deal about. Was he in pain? I am sure that he was throughout the progression of his illness. As the pain grew progressively more intense his complained less and less, always thinking that it could be worse, and was trying to make the best of a bad situation. I guess he had a really high tolerance for pain because by the time he went to the doctor, there was not much that could be done to reduce his discomfort. His knee was totally disfigured. Every painful step that he took was like a torturous ritual of bone grinding on bone according to what the x-rays showed and to the doctors disbelief. Yet, when the doctor suggested that he must be in a lot of pain he still waived it off as being bearable and that it was not a big deal. When dad was out of ear shot the doctor confided that regardless of what Dad says, he must be and has been in a lot of pain for a really long time. That was really hard to hear. The disease, therefore, its symptoms and treatment are things that we need to be aware of and pay attention to just in case we or our loved ones must deal with the disease.

Below are some of the symptoms that we should be aware of. Many of these symptoms can be observed with the naked eye or can be felt. We have to be vigilant and seek professional help early as soon as we begin noticing these changes in either our own bodies or those of our loved ones.

Joint pain - This can be felt. Also we know by observing or listening and paying attention to the person experiencing the discomfort and talking about it

Joint swelling - can be observed or the arthritis sufferer might experience discomfort or tightness in the joint first and then observe the swelling

Limited ability to move the joint-- The joint feels different from before the illness. May happen slowly over time

The skin around a joint develops some redness in color-- The way that we know about this is by paying attention to changes in our bodies

Stiffness-- This usually happens after prolonged sitting. May also be felt in the mornings after the joints have been in the same position for some time

Increased temperature around the joint -- usually fells warmer to the touch
All of these symptoms are very easy to feel or observe but because they are so routine they can easily be missed also. The types of treatments that are used for arthritis depend on the stage at which one is with the illness when they are seeking treatment. The earlier arthritis symptoms are recognized and treated, the more functional the patient is over the course of the illness.

Disabled World News (2010-06-21) lists some of the treatments for arthritis to include:

Proper diet
Instruction about the proper use of joints and ways to conserve energy.
The article also mentions other more invasive treatments that include the use of methods to relieve pain, and assistive devices such as splints or braces. Although the treatments seem relatively routine, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary. It is up to doctors and patients to work together to develop a treatment plan that helps the patient maintain or improve his or her lifestyle.

It is generally understood that the treatment of arthritis is not a one size fit all. When one looks at the treatment options, they mostly seem non-invasive. This would suggest that early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference in the quality of lives of arthritis sufferers although none of these will actually cure the disease. Be observant and get to a health professional early.

Minggu, 18 Maret 2012

Healthy Habits to Fight Gout

So you might be a gout sufferer worrying about how to reduce uric acid in your body, but you don't want to resort to taking pharmaceuticals right away. That is a very smart and healthy way of thinking, as drugs might have side effects in the long run that might harm you. Luckily for you there are natural and healthy steps you can take to lower the risk of having painful gout attacks. Just make it a habit to follow these tips.

1. Drink plenty of water. Yes, it's as simple as that. Water dissolves uric acid and helps the kidneys and your excretory system maintain a healthy level of it in your body. Make it a point to drink 2 - 3 liters or 8- 10 glasses of water daily, evenly spaced throughout the day. I know I don't have to remind you to not try to drink it all at once.

2. Maintain a healthy body weight. Gout patients are typically men who are in their 40′s and are slightly to morbidly overweight or obese. Exercise regularly and maintain a proper healthy nutrition to reach and maintain your ideal weight. This will help reduce your uric acid levels. However, crash dieting or a sudden drop in your weight is counterproductive and may actually increase the concentration in your body and cause gout attacks. Also, make sure you don't overuse the gout affected areas of your body during exercise.

3. Watch your purine intake. Uric acid is the byproduct formed when your body breaks down and metabolizes purines. Purines are organic compounds found in the genetic structure of plants and animals. That means all kinds of food have purines, though some foods contain more purines than others, and as a result produces more uric acid when they are digested.

It is just common sense to watch what food you eat and know what foods to avoid with gout. You can also take up a low purine diet, where you eliminate foods with high purine content from your diet. This will help lower your uric acid levels and prevent your gout from acting up.

The most important factor for these tips to work is discipline. It might mean saying no to your favorite dish or dragging yourself to the gym or health club. But I am sure you'll agree that this is a worthy trade-off to the excruciating pain of suffering from gout.

Sabtu, 17 Maret 2012

Foods You Should Avoid to Prevent Gout Attacks

Watching your diet is a crucial part in reducing your uric acid and preventing gout. Knowing which foods to avoid can sometimes be more important than knowing how to reduce uric your acid - as the old adage says, prevention is better than cure. Learning which foods to avoid with gout will help you considerably in the long run.

A high purine content in the diet will significantly increase gout sufferer's chances of having a painful gout attack. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines from the food that we eat. If you have gout, you should know the purine content of the food you usually eat. Knowing which foods to avoid with gout can significantly help prevent gout attacks. You should avoid foods with high purine content to prevent gout attacks. There are a lot of sources on the internet you can check to see the purine content of common foods.

Generally you should avoid eating liver, small and large intestines, spleen, heart, kidneys and other animal organ meats. Seafood you should avoid are sardines, mackerel, herring, clams and mussels. Red meats should be consumed moderately. Fatty foods and fried foods should generally be avoided.

You should also refrain from drinking alcohol, as it not only increases your uric acid but is also a diuretic, which means it dehydrates you - making it harder for your body to expel excess uric acid. You should also moderate your consumption of coffee and sodas and sweets, especially chocolate. Beverages that are caffeinated and are artificially acidified with citric acid can also aggravate your situation. Foods that you can consume in moderation should be avoided during a gout episode.

Discipline is the key to maintain a healthy purine content in your diet. You should also take the time to learn about the food you eat, and take note of foods that seem to trigger your gout. There is no set uric acid level that triggers gout attacks, each person has a different threshold so you should pay attention to how your body reacts. You should also form some healthy habits to reduce your uric acid level and prevent gout attacks.

Minggu, 11 Maret 2012

Is There Really Any Connection Between Joint Pain And Alcohol Consumption?

Countless people say they often experience pain or discomfort in some of their joints after they have been drinking alcohol. They also say the level of pain they experience is proportionate to the amount of alcohol they consume. In other words, the more they drink, the worse the pain. What do medical professionals have to say about this?

If you tend to party hard, then you will no doubt be pleased to hear that there is seemingly no real evidence to suggest that alcohol consumption can cause joint pain. Countless studies have already been carried out over the years, and researchers have never yet managed to establish a direct link. However, this still does not mean alcohol can't contribute in an indirect way.

It is for example a well known fact that excessive drinking increases the risk of getting gout substantially, and of course gout can cause severe pain in some of your joints, with feet and knees being the most commonly affected joints. Gout is essentially caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body, and it often goes away after a few months, only to return again at a later stage.

Alcohol consumption is also known to cause weight gain, and this in turn can and frequently does result in joint pain. Those first few beers may not interfere with your weight, but if you are drinking regularly, your weight will definitely start creeping up gradually. In fact, this can happen so slowly that you don't even realize it until you start experiencing aches and pains in your joints. Do not forget, every extra pound you put on increases the burden on your joints.

Joint pain is also often caused by poor sleeping habits, and of course alcohol can be a major culprit in this regard. You may think you have a much better sleep if you have a few drinks first, but the truth is, you don't. Under normal circumstances, you will always move around in your sleep. You may go to sleep on your back and wake up still lying on your back, but you can be rest assured, you would have spent some time on your side or on your stomach during the night.

This natural pain prevention mechanism does not always happen if you go to sleep drunk. Also, you may fall asleep in a position which is far from being ideal, and naturally this can cause you to have painful joints when you wake up the next day.

While there might not be a direct link between joint pain and alcohol consumption, it is clear that alcohol can be a contributing factor. Drinking too much can also cause a vast amount of other health problems, so it really is best to only drink in moderation.