Most joint pain results from arthritis (joint inflammation), the three main types of which are: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and gout. Arthritis also occurs in various diseases such as Psoriasis, rheumatic fever and Sjogren\\\'s syndrome (a type of bladder outlet inflammation in men). All arthritis causes pain and stiffness, both of which respond well to alternative treatments.
Most joint pain results from arthritis (joint inflammation), the three main types of which are: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and gout. Arthritis also occurs in various diseases such as Psoriasis, rheumatic fever and Sjogren's syndrome (a type of bladder outlet inflammation in men). All arthritis causes pain and stiffness, both of which respond well to alternative treatments.
- Stiff, swollen joints
- Osteoarthritis is mainly in weight-bearing joints at the hips, knees and ankles
- Rheumatoid arthritis often affects smaller joints, e.g. knuckles, wrists, elbows, also knees and shoulders
- Gout often results in a single inflamed joint and is agonizingly painful
A whole food diet, rest and freedom from stress would be recommended, especially in the case of RA sufferers. Weight reduction can be a priority, as excess weight aggravates joint disorders. Appropriate exercise, especially swimming in a heated pool, is often recommended, to mobilize and support the affected joints. Hydrotherapy (warm showers, compresses and baths) would be used, together with herbal and aroma-therapeutic remedies. Applied kinesiology may be used to identify food allergens, and manipulation also prescribed.
Vitamins and Minerals
A vegetarian diet is recommended, with raw foods only for one day a week. Prohibited items usually include salt, sugar, white flour products, cows' milk and its products (use goat-derived substitutes), and red meat, tomatoes, citrus fruit, strawberries and alcohol (the last five being especially applicable to gout sufferers). Protein sources for non-vegetarians include a lightly cooked egg twice weekly, and up to 3 oz. (75 g) of fish or poultry on alternate days. Two recommended juice recipes to help relieve acute symptoms include 1-1 3/4 pint (500-1,000 ml) freshly squeezed celery juice daily; alternatively, 5 fl. oz. (150 ml) each of carrot, beetroot and cucumber, twice daily.
Specific dietary supplements include antioxidants to boost immunity and reduce inflammation; with extra vitamin B-complex to combat stress. Evening primrose oil and marine fish oil capsules (or cod liver oil) should be taken daily. Extracts of green-lipped mussel also reduce inflammatory arthritis symptoms.
Garlic, honey, cider vinegar and pollen extracts have all proved beneficial to arthritis sufferers. Preparations of devil's claw counteract inflammation and facilitate the removal of uric acid from the body, thereby being a suitable remedy for gout. Chamomile, in tea or tablet form, has mild pain-relieving properties and relaxes muscular spasm, a common source of pain around arthritic joints. Capsaicin, an active ingredient in cayenne pepper, relieves pain and stiffness when applied (e.g. as a cream) to the exterior of an affected joint.
A few drops of essence of juniper applied to a painful joint in a warm compress, or added to bathwater, relieves pain and may be effective in cases of gout. Add 2-3 drops of cyprus and pine essence to a bath or massage oil, and apply to affected parts. Inhale any of these essences in steam or from oil in a burner.
For osteoarthritis, take remedies 4 times daily for up to 2 weeks: Bryonia 30 c for severe joint pain aggravated by movement and heat and relieved by cold compresses or cooling showers; Arnica 30c for joint pains resulting from, or worsened by, injury; and Aconite 30c for a severe flare-up in cold, dry weather. For rheumatoid arthritis, take remedies every 2 hours for up to 3 days: Berberis 6c when the knees are stiff and sore, as if from a beating, and any of the remedies mentioned for OA. For gout, take the following every 15 minutes for up to 10 doses: Arnica 30c when joints feel bruised and painful; Pulsatilla 6c for pains that flit from joint to joint; and Colchicum 6c for excruciatingly painful joints, especially at night or when trying to move, and when the person is depressed, weak, irritable and nauseous.
Any gentle exercises such as yoga, t'ai chi and dance therapy might prove beneficial, especially in the early stages and between acute attacks (when any unnecessary movement should be avoided). Acupuncture is used to great effect in many cases of chronic pain, including all common types of arthritis. Set, deformed joints usually cannot be manipulated, so it is best to start early on with regular massage, chiropractic or osteopathy to keep joints working.
This consists mainly of painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids by mouth and as injections as required. Surgery is avoided, but replacement hips and other joints can make life more tolerable for those with severe arthritis.
- Maintain healthy immunity - RA is a disorder of the immune system.
- OA - avoid overuse of weight-bearing joints, e.g. excessive jogging on hard surfaces. Equally, avoid underuse with sedentary lifestyle.
- Gout - avoid alcohol and other trigger foods.
- Seek medical advice for all persistent joint pain.
- Seek medical treatment for injured joints - sprains and minor fractures can lead to arthritis later in life.
- Rest is vital during an RA flare-up, to strengthen immunity and minimize joint damage.