Approximately 44 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis. Many of these people are being treated with Western medications such as steroids and anti-inflammatories, while many others’ symptoms are left untreated, as they do not want to pursue conventional Western treatment options.
In my clinical practice, I have worked with people with all forms of arthritis and I have helped many of them get off of pain killers and steroids. This is possible by using a combination of acupuncture, nutritional supplements, and possibly techniques such as chiropractic care or kinesiology. I am always pleased (as is the patient) when we can use natural therapies for pain management because they do not have any side effects, unlike most of the Western medications for pain relief, which can cause a host of complications. Many of these medications weaken the body over time, which, in my opinion, causes premature aging and general debility.
Below are several natural tips and nutritional supplements that have proven effective in overcoming the pain and inflammation of arthritis. It is always best to seek out the services of a healthcare professional if you are interested in using these products.
The following basic dietary tips will be very helpful for managing the symptoms of arthritis:
- Start eating an organic whole foods diet that is rich in fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains (avoid grains if you have a wheat or gluten sensitivity). This diet is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates: These foods promote inflammation and pain and weaken digestion and vitality.
- Avoid synthetic additives and sweeteners and genetically modified foods.
- Avoid coffee and alcohol: Both of these are irritants to the liver, colon, and stomach. They can exacerbate pain and emotional ups and downs.
- Fish Oil (EPA/DHA)
Taking a high quality essential fatty acid complex can be very helpful for reducing pain and inflammation and increasing synovial fluid in the joints. Fish oil can also help any depression that accompanies the chronic pain. Start with 3,000mg daily.
This is a naturally occurring metabolite found in the human body and plants. The active ingredient is methionine. SAMe has been shown to alleviate depression, reduce appetite, and improve neurotransmitter synthesis and receptor binding. I will often use SAMe when there is a combination of depression and chronic pain, as it reduces inflammation and regenerates joint tissue. It is excellent for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Start with 200 mg early in the day on an empty stomach, increase to up to 1,000 mg over a period of a few weeks as needed.
- MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane):
2 grams daily prevent cartilage breakdown
- Vitamins and Minerals:
Key nutrients that manufacture synovial fluid are vitamins A, B complex, C, D, and E. Calcium, selenium, magnesium, and zinc are also crucial. Vitamins C and D are most important for nourishing bones and connective tissue.
- Cetyl myristoleate:
This is a form of fatty acid that has extraordinary qualities for joint lubrication. It needs to be taken constantly at a dosage of 500-1000mg/ day. It is useful for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture is one of the greatest therapies available for healing arthritis. It has been clinically proven to reduce pain and inflammation, improve circulation, and trigger the rest and restore mode of the nervous system. Acupuncture should be painless and deeply relaxing. I recommend getting weekly treatment for 6-8 weeks for chronic arthritis, then assessing for progress.
Acupuncture and Modern Research
Acupuncture & Osteoarthritis (OA) – A randomized, controlled study showed that acupuncture can provide improvement in function and pain relief as an adjunctive therapy for OA when compared to sham acupuncture. Berman, BM., et al., Effectiveness of Acupuncture as Adjunctive Therapy in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: a randomized, controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, Dec.21,2004;141(12)901-910.