Arthritis, the healthy cures and medicines that work. The methods that have worked for others are here and they may work to help you live a life with less pain and more abilities than you currently have. If you have arthritis, I need not get into a full explanation of what it is or where it comes from as the odds are that you are fully aware by this point in your life.
Arthritis, in its most severe form, can leave you helpless and completely debilitated. In the very least, it causes pain up to excruciating. Part of living with arthritis involves the acceptance and understanding that pain and arthritis are essentially synonymous. Your doctor will make every attempt to get the same result that I would like for you-that is, live a life arthritis free; pain-free.
In our world today people expect the medical doctors to be miracle makers. Many of today’s accepted medicinal practices have developed significantly and have grown incredibly over the last one-hundred years.
If you have a need for a knee surgery or hip replacement, who do you go see for the evaluations and recommendations? In America, we tend to go to our family doctor, and immediately follow their recommendation or advice, whether it be a medicine, or surgery recommendation-we take our one doctor’s word and best advice for whatever we solicited and jump on-board with all we have.
A little history
- After two-years of working directly with patients from a highly developed medical practice, as their exercise expert, and where the doctor regularly took over an hour with a patient, I understand the reality of referrals and specialties in the medical field. Arthritis was one of the regular conditions that I repeatedly became aware of that many of the patients suffered from. My exposure to arthritis sufferers and their dilemma was amplified in that setting.
- The previous seven years I had my share of clients that had suffered with arthritis, but my awareness was limited to knowing what medications they were on and how those medications either helped or caused problems for my clients. One thing that I found out while working with so many arthritis sufferers over the years is the fact that people can be very open and direct with their personal trainer, but then be tight-lipped in front of their doctors.
- This is where having a team, your own “health-care team,” would be divine. Having had this atmosphere in the concierge medical practice where my studio was, I was able to have open discussions with my client’s doctor first-hand and for their overall health benefit. What this led to was my more full direct understanding of medicine, health-care, and arthritis-the dilemma behind arthritis.
The truth is that most doctors will attempt to control the pain through the use of prescription after prescription until their patient reports back that they have less pain, and little to no side-effects. Medical doctors will routinely give their patients referrals to other health professionals for their added knowledge in a certain specialty. Arthritis is not any different.
A patient that incessantly complains about the pain they have from their arthritis will ultimately have their doctor on his toes thinking of who else he can recommend for their patient to see, or they will be making mental notes of new medicines or prescriptions that they can attempt to try with their patient.
- After a while, doctors get tired of hearing the complaints about the same issue.
This is when a more worldly and open approach to healing possibilities should abound. But, unless they are an alternative thinking type of doctor, this probably will not be the case. In the world of United States medicine, the thinking process is extremely dictated, precise, methodical, and confined. Thinking out of the box is limited due to liability constraints of the modern age with lawsuits and fear of court proceedings.
This is your health, however. If you are taking the time to go see your doctor, the time to set up the appointment, wait for them, and be evaluated-especially if this is on-going, doesn’t it make sense to explore how and what the other nations are doing to resolve similar issues and complaints, with regard arthritis?
This is where I come in. I am first going to explore the United State’s methods and practices for handling and prescribing for arthritis.
Then, I will go East to the Orient and look at philosophies and medicinal practices and remedies, including acupuncture, by the Chinese and surrounding territories.
Ultimately, I will visit the American Indian nation, and general religion, in addition to briefly placing human brain activity on the overhead screen for evaluation-the realm of the unconscious or subconscious mind.
Strap on your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, pull your aviator goggles down, wave-good bye, and look over the horizon with me as we lift off down the runway-I’ll be the voice in the radio earpiece in your ear.
The United States-It’s all about prescriptions. It’s called the medical practice for a reason. The pharmaceutical companies-a billion dollar a year business.
Here is a list of the typical specialists you may employ in your search for calming your arthritis issues in the United States:
- Medical Doctor - M.D.
- Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine - N.D.
- Doctor of chiropractic - D.C.
- Neurologists - M.D.
- Hypnotist - BCH (Board Certified Hypnotist)
- Doctor of Psychology - PsyD
- Physical Therapist - P.T.
MEDICAL DOCTORS - M.D.
After diagnosing you with arthritis, a medical doctor may recommend one or several of the following: Exercise, Rest, Heat/Cold pack treatments, Apply capsaicin cream to the affected area, Improve diet - one rich in vitamins and minerals high in antioxidants like vitamin E. Also, selenium and Omega-3 fatty acids may be recommended. Glucosamine and chondroitin may also be recommended as they help form the building blocks of cartilage, the substance that lines joints.
- For prescriptions, here is a brief list of what is prescribed by physicians:
Over the counter:
Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
Injections (proclaimed to dramatically improve quality of life) -
- Examples are: Enbrel, Remicade, Humira, Abatacept and Rituximab.
Corticosteroids, usually prescribed in low doses or for short durations, typically called “steroids“ -
- Examples are: Celestone, Entocort EC, Cortone, Decadron, Cortef, and Medrol.
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors -
- Examples are: Celebrex, Celebra, Vioxx, Rofecoxib, and Celecoxib.
Anti-rheumatic drugs -
- Examples are: gold salts, penicillamine, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate
- Examples are: Azathioprine and Cyclophosphamide-for serious cases when other medications fail.
Rebuilding the joint-arthroplasty, or joint replacement, like knee replacement is also sometimes considered to keep you going with as little discomfort as possible. Usually replacement is the last resort when medications and lifestyle modifications have ceased to be effective.
A doctor may inject the arthritic joint with a synthetic fluid that may postpone the need for surgery and improve your quality of life.
Treatment regimes for arthritis can completely cure some arthritis disorders. Most, though, are chronic for the sufferers and the treatment goal is pain minimization and controlling joint damage, as much as possible. Since arthritis can go away and return, it’s important to log treatments that have worked well for you during the process.
NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS - N.D.
Naturopathic doctors seek to develop treatment plans based on your medical history along with your current issues and your current medications. Think “natural” and “lifestyle” when you speak with a N.D. Surgery will typically not be a part of their vocabulary.
They will investigate your diet and see what alkaloids you are consuming and they may seek to restrict consumption of them. N.D.’s may also use lubricating injections to attempt to alleviate your discomfort in the joint.
Water therapy (exercising in water to alleviate joint pressure,) herbal consumption plans and heat application to the affected areas are other typical N.D. applications and recommendations to further aid in your fight against arthritis. Since herbal remedies may conflict with medications, emphasis is strong for working with your M.D. in conjunction with your N.D. for finding relief with herbal remedies.
There are some M.D.’s that are also N.D certified, it may behoove you to seek one out in your area. Keep in mind that the U.S. medical community tends to cringe when people try to self diagnose at home with naturopathic methods. With good cause too as negative interactions with your current medications could cause you more harm than good. In short, keep your M.D. up to speed with what you are attempting or what your ideas are.
DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC - D.C.
Chiropractors may seek to treat your arthritis by a few methods. Commonly, a Chiropractor will aim to correct any subluxation of the spine that you may have by spinal manipulation. Chiropractors undergo stringent anatomy and physiology schooling and spinal manipulation has been identified as “safe” by scores of studies related to the subject. Some Chiropractors today use acupressure in conjunction with their spinal manipulation as a treatment for arthritis. This is a form of massage that seeks to find harmony within the body, much like acupuncture but without the needles.
NEUROLOGISTS - M.D.
Neurologists can have a specialty in arthritis and may be more effective in treating arthritis due to their specialty. Their methods may be similar to those mentioned above in the medical doctor section. Additionally, surgery and alternative methods may be considerations for the adept neurologist.
HYPNOTIST - BCH
A certified hypnotist may be able to alleviate arthritis symptoms through the use of therapeutic hypnosis.
“Therapeutic hypnosis is used to improve your health and well-being and is different from so-called stage hypnosis used by entertainers. Although you're more open to suggestion during therapeutic hypnosis, your free will remains intact and you don't lose control over your behavior.” Mayo Clinic
There have been studies conducted on the effectiveness of hypnotism from everything related to smoking through the relief of body pain or pain management. You may know someone who has seen a hypnotherapist and you might not even know it. That’s because hypnotism seems to be where chiropractic was in the mid 1980’s. That is to say, ostracized.
- The author once saw a hypnotherapist in Tucson, Arizona for treatment of back spasm. After a handful of sessions, the back spasm seemed to dissipate. Though credit was given not to the therapy, but to activity change instead. The author did receive a residual benefit from the hypnotherapy sessions, however, in the form of expanded awareness and peace in his life, due to those sessions.
The Arthritis Foundation may be a great resource for you regarding the usefulness and effectiveness of hypnosis,
- “An analysis of 18 studies of hypnosis and pain in more than 900 people conducted by researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York bears out this grandmother’s experience, showing substantial pain relief in 75 percent of participants.” The Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis Today
DOCTOR OF PSYCHOLOGY - PsyD
Psychologists may offer a prescription or a more holistic approach to treating arthritis, or a combination thereof. This Psychology Today article points to the general consensus that psychologists tend to have as this psychologist states, “I like to combine both approaches.”
PHYSICAL THERAPIST - P.T.
Typically, you will see your doctor and your doctor will send you to a physical therapist as a part of his treatment plan for you. They work together to identify goals for physical therapy. Your input is an important element too-In order to customize and tailor your physical therapy to get you to be able to do what you feel like you should be able to do. You and your physical therapist work together toward what is realistically achievable within the scope of their expertise.
CHINESE MEDICINE-Snake heads and oils. Thinking outside the box.
The state of ACUPUNCTURE
Arthritis Today states,
“It’s been about 2,000 years in the making, but acupuncture may now be propelled into the mainstream. New research shows that the two most common forms of arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis – are among the conditions treated with acupuncture.”*
Acupuncture was recently published in my article How to improve your posture with good science produced by The New England Journal of Medicine regarding acupuncture and it’s effectiveness. This science warrants your evaluation and consideration as to the efficacy of acupuncture as it may relate to arthritis.
The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a randomized study that was published August 19, 2010,
“Tai chi is a gentle, meditative exercise that consists of flowing, circular movements, balance and weight shifting, breathing techniques, and cognitive tools (e.g., imagery and focused internal awareness). Researchers have investigated tai chi as an intervention for a variety of health issues, including balance impairments and cardiovascular disease. Although data from other randomized, controlled trials specifically examining tai chi for fibromyalgia are not available, this practice has been studied as a treatment for other rheumatologic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis and low back pain. The data suggest that tai chi may be effective, although rigorous studies with adequate sample sizes have not been performed.”*
CHINESE “NATURAL” REMEDIES
“Arthritis and Chinese herbal medicine is a very developed aspect of Oriental medicine. Many effective remedies have been created over hundreds of years, and they work often when nothing else helps.”* Bob Dorris, D.O.M. (Doctor of Oriental Medicine)
The validity of such statements is subject to debate and critical scientific review. As I stated in my article, How to improve your posture, this is where Western science tends to butt heads with the East. We like to have verifiable data that is repeatable and provable by science in order to consider it “safe” or “not harmful” to ones’ health. The East, however, often rely on proven methods and techniques simply because “that’s how our ancestors did it” or the like-and that’s how medicine is still given even today in many parts of our world. I tend to hesitate and grit my teeth when thinking about some of the practices and techniques; but they are choices, and this one too, is yours.
Massage has been mentioned above in the form of acupressure, however, the techniques vary. The Arthritis Foundation is on-board with massage and states, “Massage brings warmth and relaxation to the painful area. You can massage your own muscles or ask your doctor to recommend a professional who is trained to give massages.”* Though massage will not solve the mystery behind your arthritis, it certainly will feel good and conceivably should be an addition to your weekly activities while living with arthritis. If you currently have arthritis and do not receive regular massage, I highly advocate the inclusion of massage as part of your remedy process.
The American Indian nation-Indian health, the medicine man and his success.
Creighton University Medical Center has a non-endorsed site partly funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding Complimentary and Alternative Medicine which correctly states,
- “The meaning of the term medicine to an American Indian is quite different from that which is ordinarily held by modern societies. To most American Indians, medicine signifies an array of ideas and concepts rather than remedies and treatment alone. There is no separation between religion and medicine in tribal culture and healing ceremonies are an integral part of the community experience. To the American Indian, the natural or correct state of all things, including man, is harmony.”*
Obviously, cultures from all over the globe have encountered their own practices with regards to any particular ailment. As identified by Holistic Online, here is one of the identified treatments by the American Indians,
- “Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): An American Indian treatment for arthritis involved using the root of black cohosh. There are five species in the Cimicifuga genus worldwide that have been used to treat rheumatism. Black cohosh contains aspirin-like substances as well as other anti- inflammatory and antispasmodic constituents.”
There have been undisputed, and disputed, healings by the “medicine men” (also called native healers or shaman.) In a ceremony, one will typically encounter a production of sorts along with rhythmic breathing and chanting or chants during their treatment. The state of awareness during this process is arguably similar to what may be found during hypnotism, during massage, or during a Christian or Catholic ceremony.
RELIGION-God, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Buddha, Sai Baba, Hinduism, the common ground
The healing power of unity-
The human spirit is intangible yet present. Religious views across earth skew everyone into this category or that category. Zazen is without category.
There is clear common ground between the religions and here on the ground with us; people. First we are all human. Then, we have belief. Integrate people and their beliefs and “miracles” happen-regardless of the faith foundation. There is power within the subconscious mind. Mostly, it‘s intangible. Science is proving what different capacities our brains have, however, there’s indisputable evidence that healing and inexplicable cures have occurred with each of the religions mentioned above, and more.
Science is here to help us. You have the choice to be enlightened by it, or to shun it, or a combination of both. In America, ignorance is accepted, for the most part. Tragically so in some instances.
- For example, a mother recently lost her child here in San Diego due to being adamant about birthing her child at a midwife home in spite of her high-risk pregnancy and the concerns of her personal doctor and their staff. Conceivably, due to the high-risk nature of the birth, the child could have survived without complications if the right facilities had been immediately available during the birthing process.
It takes a little common sense, along with faith, to bring us to the full intelligence of the “intelligent beings” that we proclaim to be.
We cannot rightly take faith blindly and just at it’s face value when we have clear science giving us a good and proven solution. This relates also to arthritis and the steps you choose to take against that beast.
I implore you to take rational decisions with regards to any treatment options that you choose to take. And, since we have access to all of the health professionals listed above in the United States, why not use them? They have each studied for many years and every one of them has their own life experiences which may just offer you a viable and cost-effective solution to conquer your arthritis. Or, at least alleviate the severity of your condition.
In any case, I wish you ultimate health and no-pain. I send you positive healing energy in my words and through my spirit for you.
Thank you for your time, your attention, and your votes!
© Dwayne Ivey - November 2010