Here in part two (2) of this important education series about arthritis, you will find out what puts you at risk for developing arthritis, as well as the conventional way of managing these symptoms. In Part three (3), we will cover ground breaking natural treatment options, as well as very important steps you can take, in part four (4), to reduce your risk now.
Why Do I Have Arthritis?! Why hasn’t my body healed itself?
Our bodies go through repair processes all the time. In fact, it takes seven years for our body to completely regenerate itself. Why, then, can we not heal the damage that is causing arthritis? It comes down to what the brain is telling your body to do, priorities. Your body is capable of many things, but under certain circumstances your body decides to do things that are not in the best interest of optimal health, rather survival. Your body cares more about staying alive than being pain free… The POWER is in knowing how to get your body to heal! (stay tuned for next week’s post).
Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis:
- Excess weight
- Previous injury, for example a ligament tear or a labral tear
- High levels of inflammation in your body
Back to your joints – Joints function as levers, moved by muscles, to allow our bodies to move. In joints we have cartilage to “cushion” the bone to bone contact. Cartilage is made up of:
- Chondrocytes 1-2%
- Liquid 70-80%
- Solid: Collagen and proteoglycans
That’s right folks, 70-80% is water! Now you may be thinking you should chug some water to keep your joints happy, and you’re right!
In arthritis, protease enzymes in your joints are overexpressed causing your body to favor the breakdown of cartilage as opposed to the remodeling (rebuilding), resulting in loss of cartilage. This happens due to pro-inflammatory cells that also suppress collagen synthesis and further increase inflammation. The body attempts to heal, but degeneration prevails. This is distinct from age related cartilage loss. Osteoarthritis displays more collagen loss, less hydrated joints, less constituents responsible for joint fluidity and more degradative enzymes. All in all, degeneration continues… all because of unchecked inflammation and a survival mindset that is ok with mediocre and even painful joints so long as you survive.
Have you been told to stop because of Pain?! If so, don’t listen to your Doctor!
So many of the conventional treatments for osteoarthritis mask the pain, but do nothing to stop the degeneration and cartilage loss in joints.
Conventional Treatment for Osteoarthritis:
- Stop exercising – rest. – Most Doctors will tell you to stop exercising, because of “wear and tear” on joints. They aren’t addressing that in order for you body to heal you need movement because it stimulates blood flow, which allows your body to heal. Blood carries the nutrients needed for healing to the injured areas. Don’t stop moving!
- Anti-inflammatory medications like Acetaminophen and NSAIDs. These can be helpful for pain, but come along with a whole lot of unwanted side effects like stomach pain and heartburn, stomach ulcers, headaches and dizziness, liver or kidney problems, high blood pressure, etc. Meanwhile, while the pain is decreased, nothing is stopping the inflammation generation.
- Pain Medications such as opioids – I would have to write a whole other post about the down sides of these. Suffice it to say addiction is a major problem.
- Topical pain creams – having the least side but also less efficacy, these can be useful for short term relief
- Anti-inflammatory joint injections – Cortisone shots. If you haven’t had one you probably know someone who has. These are highly recommended by orthopedists for pain relief, but at best they may relieve pain for a few months and at worst not at all. The dark sides are rarely discussed, however. Cortisone destroys ligaments over time and leads to MORE CARTILAGE DESTRUCTION! Again, a whole topic in and of itself here.
- Synthetic cartilage “supplement” joint injections. – These rather benign injections may “cushion” your joints, especially knees, for a period of a few months, but after four injections, you’ll be told you need a joint injection.
- Weight loss – could be a good thing, if done in a healthy way. Starvation diets and stimulant drugs used for weight loss, however, will only makes things worse because they end up increasing inflammation!
- Surgery – joint replacement full or partial is often recommended, particularly if you have a “bone on bone” joint. In joints so incredibly degenerated this may be the only choice, but more often than not, we can get the body to heal, you may have to change your diet, support your hormones, increase your nutrients, do weight bearing resistance activities and other changes though… It will take work, but you may be able to avoid surgery. Don’t you want to give it your best shot?!
Don’t worry, the good news is coming! Stay tuned for Part 3 where we discuss how to heal arthritis naturally and what you can do to reduce your risk now!
At Regenerate Health Medical Center, we’re here to HELP YOU REGAIN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE! We don’t let pain get in your way.
Dr. ACE, Naturopathic Medical Doctor
Regenerate Health Medical Center
1933 Cliff Dr. #27B, Santa Barbara, CA 93109