Arthritis, which is classified into rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA), sends more than 20 million individuals to their doctor’s office each year. The two classifications provided above – although both affecting your joints and can be connected with joint pain, stiffness, inflammation, and swelling – have completely different underlying causes.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect you at any age, even in childhood. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, usually occurs in senior individuals, but can also stem from repetitive stress or acute trauma.
But did you know that you can address these two conditions without the use of dangerous drugs and ineffective methods?
Understanding the Difference Between the Two Types of Arthritis
First, learn to distinguish which type of arthritis you have. RA is an autoimmune disease causing your body to break itself down. It tends to bilateral and symmetrical, meaning it’s the same on both sides of your body.
RA affects your middle joints, and is linked to joint deformities, especially in your hands and fingers. It can be a very crippling health condition, and people can actually die from it – thus something not to be treated lightly.
OA, a degenerative joint disease, usually occurs on your distal joints, the joints at the end of your fingers and toes (not the middle one). Furthermore, it isn’t symmetrical – you may have it on just one joint, or on one hand or foot and not the other.
The cartilage within your joint is progressively being damaged if you have osteoarthritis. Additionally, the synovial fluid that keeps your joints lubricated and cushioned is typically reduced. The pain results from your bones starting to come into contact with each other because of reduced cartilage and synovial fluid.
Why You Should Think Twice About NSAIDs
There are treatment methods available for both RA and OA, since they both involve pain, swelling, and inflammation of the joints. Typically, doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and analgesics like Tylenol.
Yes, they can relieve pain, but it’s crucial that you understand that the regular, chronic use of these drugs is linked to significant and very serious side effects, including kidney and/or liver damage. Overuse of analgesics has been found as a very common source of kidney failure in the United States.
NSAIDs are estimated to kill some 30,000 people every year because of bleeding ulcers. Oral drugs have been associated with a range of problems, including heart failure.
Natural Treatment Is Key
Anti-arthritis drugs can be very useful agents in certain cases, but you have to use them with much caution. In fact, why not address the underlying cause of your problem and treat the root cause instead? This way you can avoid using these medications to begin with.
Omega-3 is recommended for either type of arthritis, because it generally helps prevent inflammation. Research indicates that a way to substantially boost the benefits of glucosamine (an animal product marketed as an arthritis supplement) is to combine it with omega-3 fats, such as krill oil.
You can also use these symptomatic approaches to arthritis, mainly through using herbs and spices:
- Boswellia – Also known as “Indian frankincense,” this Indian herb is found to be particularly useful against arthritic inflammation and pain.
- Ginger – This superstar in the kitchen is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief. It also has stomach-settling characteristics. Use fresh ginger: steep it in boiling water as a tea, or grate it into your vegetable juice.
- Bromelain – Found in pineapples, this enzyme is a natural anti-inflammatory. You can eat fresh pineapple or take it in supplement form.
- Cetyl myristoleate (CMO) – Found in fish and dairy butter, this oil acts as an anti-inflammatory and a “joint lubricant.”
- Evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils – These oils contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which has been shown useful for treating arthritic pain. Use them as a supplement, specifically during winter and when you’re struggling with dry skin, a strong indicator of deficiency in these fats.
- Cayenne cream – Also known as capsaicin cream, this spice is sourced from dried hot peppers. It addresses pain by depleting your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
Remember, though, that these herbs, spices, and oils can be helpful only against pain and inflammation (arthritis symptoms), not the cause of the disease.
It is just as important for you to eat fresh, raw, organic wholesome foods. You should also address the emotional component of arthritis as part of a well-rounded treatment plan. Use an effective method to address the underlying emotional distress present in diseases like RA and OA. In arthritis, the emotional trauma often occurs before the age that your conscious mind is formed, typically around age five or six. However, it can happen at any point in your life.
One option you can try is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an emotional psychology tool that uses the principles of acupuncture but without the use of needles.
Katrina Pascual is a Web copywriter who creates guides on diet and a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys reading articles written by Dr. Mercola and is currently researching rheumatoid arthritis: its symptoms, potential causes, and natural treatment.