Overcoming Arthritis Nutritionally

How many times have you heard an elderly friend or relative complaining that their arthritis is acting up again?

This common cause of musculoskeletal pain affects almost 4 million Australians and costs over $23 billion each and every year.

There’s good news for arthritis suffers though. Contrary to common opinion, arthritis is not part of ageing. In our experience diet and nutrition can prevent and even reverse arthritis.

In this short series, we will share the proven clinical strategies, we use everyday in our clinic for the treatment of arthritis.

In our clinic we use a three tiered approach to arthritis treatment.
  1. Reduce pain and inflammation;
  2. Dietary revision to eliminate trigger foods and address deficiencies;
  3. Provide support for optimal bone growth;

In this first article, we look at how to provide symptomatic relief by reducing pain and inflammation. Be sure to read parts two and three to learn:

  • how to reverse the progress of arthritis; and
  • how to help the body to recover from the damage of arthritis;

Reduce Pain & Manage Inflammation

Everybody knows the signature painful, inflamed and often red, sore joints of arthritis.

The process that leads to our sensation of pain is the release of a cascade of chemical messengers. The first of these are the pro inflammatory agents.

If we can reduce or prevent the release of inflammatory agents associated with arthritis we will reduce pain.

Short Term Symptomatic Care With Herbs

One of the quickest ways to lower inflammation is through the use of anti-inflammatory herbs. These function in a similar fashion as pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories, but, without the side effects.

It is amazing how well stocked nature’s pharmacy is with anti-inflammatory herbs. Many common culinary herbs have anti-inflammatory constituents that can turn your average curry into an inflammation reducing super meal. When taken in the right concentrations these become exceptionally powerful pain and inflammation fighters.

We use a number of different oral herbal formulations for arthritis. Usually these formulas are based on:

  • turmeric;
  • rosemary;
  • ginger;

Turmeric is most useful in the acute treatment of pain and inflammation, while rosemary and ginger provide longer lasting treatment of chronic pain.

Don’t overlook essential oils for topical herbal application!

Many of these herbs are also available as essential oils that can be massaged into joints and muscles. Our massage therapists regularly use preparations of rosemary, basil and oregano essential oils in massage treatments. Be sure to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil such as olive oil, baby oil or coconut oil prior to application as used undiluted these oils can burn sensitive skins.

Rebalancing the Inflammatory Load

Did you know your body has its own natural anti-inflammatories? These are far better than anything you can buy at the chemist?

While herbs will reduce levels of pro-inflammatory agents, we can also increase our bodies production of anti-inflammatory agents. This is like hitting arthritic pain with a double knock out punch and returns fantastic results in pain free living and improved mobility.

The secret to turning your body into an anti-inflammatory super factory is good fats!

By increasing the ratio of omega 3 essential fatty acids in the diet, your body will produce more pain reducing chemicals and less pain causing chemicals. That means less inflammation, less pain and a better life.

In part two of this series we look at the top three pain promoting foods that are increasing inflammation in your body. Suffice it to say for now though, increasing the amount of omega 3 essential fatty acids in your diet can help to offset these pro-inflammatory foods.

Remember though, Not all omega 3 essential fatty acids are equal. While many plant foods contain high levels of ALA, the two active ingredients we really want to boost are EPA and DHA. These are found almost exclusively in fish and other animal sources.

We prefer liquid fish oil in our clinic as it is easier to obtain a therapeutic dose. One teaspoon of a practitioner brand liquid fish oil often contains the same amount of EPA and DHA as up to 12 supermarket variety capsules.

Do You Need Help With The Change?

Are you finding it difficult to control your arthritis symptoms? Talk to our Naturopathic team today.