Arthritis

It’s incurable – Isn’t it?

‘Arthritis’ is often used as a wastebasket term; it seems to hold everything, and may be inappropriate to describe what is wrong. This statement is made because the term ‘arthritis’ is generally misused and misunderstood by the public. Even doctors sometimes used term much too loosely.

Let’s consider the term ‘arthritis’ and what it means. The word comes from the Greek ‘arthron,’ meaning joint, and ‘itis,’ a word termination denoting inflammation; thus, ‘arthritis’ means inflammation of a joint.

Inflammation can be a very mild or a very severe process. You can create inflammation by simply scratching or rubbing your skin. If the irritation is significant enough to cause redness, some extra fluid accumulation, additional heat, and pain, you have inflammation. We see, then, that in the true meaning of the term ‘arthritis,’ the condition is present if a joint is strained and inflammation follows.That certainly does not mean that it’s incurable; in fact, it will sometimes correct itself. Yet the common understanding of arthritis is one of an incurable condition that has to be controlled with pain medication, such as aspirin. Extensive television and other advertising has helped create this misunderstanding.

An improper treatment approach to some joint pain (arthritis) is the use of medication to override the pain, allowing the condition to remain and possibly worsen. It is much better to determine exactly what caused the problem and correct that cause, if possible. Many people have an unrealistic attitude toward pain; they consider it an enemy when, in reality, pain is often a friend. Pain is the body’s alarm system, telling us when something is wrong. There are some unfortunate people on record who have no ability to feel pain. This is a very severe problem, because it means major destructive processes can take place without an individual’s knowledge. In most cases, functional pain can be eliminated as the body’s function is returned to normal by natural health care approaches. This is true with many types of arthritis.

The important factor with arthritis is to define the type present – if, indeed, the condition is truly arthritis. Many types of arthritis respond favorably to treatment; some can only be managed effectively, and then only if the condition is treated before severe damage develops. It is important to recognize that when a doctor diagnoses arthritis, the patient ceases all efforts to obtain correction and resorts to pain pill override because ‘Everyone knows arthritis is incurable. I’ll just have to live with it.’ This may be an unfortunate, erroneous thought.

A patient previously diagnosed with arthritis often comes to a doctor who uses Applied Kinesiology. After thorough evaluation, no damage or disease process in the joint is found; it is in strain during movement. When the joint’s movement is returned to normal, the pain is often immediately removed. This type of joint strain is generally caused by improper muscle balance. Muscles stabilize a joint and also move the joint through its range of motion. If the muscles holding a joint are very weak on one side, the joint is then under constant strain; movement through its normal range causes increased strain and consequent pain. If this imbalance function is allowed to persist for a prolonged period, osteoarthritis (OA) may ultimately develop.

Your doctor will use several forms of examination and evaluation, depending on what he is seeking. This examination will include testing numerous body muscles to determine their balance and strength, and also evaluating the body’s energy patterns. X-rays may be taken to evaluate joint structure, and laboratory procedures are commonly used for metabolic and pathologic evaluation.

When true arthritis is present, it is usually one of three major types, which will be discussed here. Of course, there are many other types of arthritis. If one of the more unusual varieties is present, your doctor will discuss its ramifications with you.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is generally considered the ‘wear and tear’ type of arthritis. It usually develops from the fifth decade of life on, and is most commonly found in the weight bearing joints of the body, such as the knees and hips. Another common location for OA is in the hands extensively during a lifetime of rather hard work (mechanics and carpenters, among others).

Because OA is correlated with strain to joints, it is important to maintain weight at a recommended level, taking strain off the weight bearing joints. As mentioned earlier, structural strain is also very important in OA. You can easily see why a knee under constant strain from poor muscular support is more susceptible to OA. Postural balance is also very important because the joints of the spine are frequent sites of OA.

Although OA is commonly associated with mechanical strain to joints, there is a correlation with specific metabolic or nutritional deficiencies that cause a weakening of the joint surfaces and make them vulnerable to wear and tear. Protein deficiency has been indicated as a causative factor in OA. This does not necessarily mean that an individual lacks protein in his/ her diet; it could mean that the body fails to absorb and use protein. In other words, retarding progress of the condition may depend upon improving digestive function. Clues that protein may not be digested properly include gas after a meal, brittle, and cracking fingernails, and poor quality hair and skin, to name a few.

Long-term OA is characterized by additional calcium buildup in the joints, with possible spurs formed around the joint. Calcium use in the body is a very complex subject. Dietary change and/ or nutritional supplementation may be necessary to improve its absorption and utilization. Sometimes it is necessary to supplement the diet with additional calcium, even though there is a concentrated calcium level in specific bone and joint areas. This nutritional change is required because there are different ways calcium is used in the body, and it must be properly balanced with other minerals.

OA can develop in only one joint of the body as a result of injury to that specific joint. It is not the type of arthritis that usually migrates from joint to joint.

By reducing weight and structural strain to joints, and improving nutritional and metabolic processes, the advancement of OA can be markedly reduced or halted. Unfortunately, most of the damage to joint structure is permanent. The answer, obviously, is to obtain evaluation, treatment, and correction early – if possible – before permanent damage develops.

An interesting correlation has been made in the treatment of OA with Applied Kinesiology principles. Many times an individual who has x-ray evidence of a severely damaged joint as a result of OA comes in for treatment. In an effort to stop the condition’s progress, the joint structure is balanced with muscle-balancing techniques and manipulation. The pain is completely relieved, although the joint structure still appears damaged on x-ray and will continue to do so.

OA can be so severe that the pain becomes intolerable to an individual. Because the damage is permanent, it is sometimes necessary to make referral for surgical repair or complete replacement of the joint. Surgical replacement with an artificial joint is becoming more common in the hip and other joints. Though this is remarkable surgery, the key – again – is to prevent the condition from ever becoming that severe, if at all possible.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA begins to affect people earlier in life than OA. Often the first appearance of RA is after a severe infection or some other form of stress. RA is an inflammatory disease that is progressive throughout the body. Unlike OA, it can migrate from joint to joint, and as it progresses it may cause joint deformities. For this reason it is sometimes known as ‘arthritis deformans.’

Ineffective adrenal function appears to have some causative background in the development of RA.; however, the point is not clear, and researchers disagree considerably regarding the cause of the condition. In any event, improved adrenal cortex function aids the control of RA. The adrenal cortex manufactures anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory hormones the help control inflammatory processes. The anti-inflammatory hormones manufactured by the adrenal cortex have the same purpose in the body as the artificial steroids administered in medication form and so widely used years ago for the control of arthritis. These artificial hormones are not prescribed as often today but still are still used, even though they may have severe side effects. (possible cancer is one of them.)

Ideally, it is better to obtain excellent adrenal gland function to provide the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory balance of hormones to help regulate inflammatory processes (or possibly stopping the inflammatory process altogether.) If the adrenal glands are exhausted and incapable of handling all their functions, it is important to eliminate the stresses – physical, chemical, emotional, and thermal – with which the adrenal glands must work. If you have an adrenal gland insufficiency, your doctor will give you additional information about avoiding stress to the adrenal glands.

In the presence of RA, it is important that adequate protein intake and digestion be obtained, and that calcium level is in proper ratio with other body minerals. (Note most people take a lot of calcium supplements, and yet they are still calcium deficient ! Knowing the right calcium your body can recognize and absorb is vitally important. As well as knowing where to get natural sources of calcium. Come and get Dr. Sahara’s simple diet ! ! ! Everyone is an individual, and you can not assume that one calcium product is good for you.) These factors are important in keeping the bones and joints healthy and able to resist the inflammatory attack of RA.

Gouty Arthritis (GA)

Gout is present in males much more often than females. Approximately 95% of gout sufferers are male.

Some researchers blame gout on a high level of uric acid, which is a substance generally eliminated from the body by the kidneys; however, there is much controversy about uric acid being an absolute causative factor of gout. Studies have shown that there is probably some other chemical within the body capable of handling uric acid, but as yet this chemical has not been clearly identified.

Gout is considered a chronic lifetime disease once it is present. If not kept under control, it has severe, acute manifestations. An individual can have an attack of gout that requires bed rest and is extremely painful – sometimes to the point of keeping bedclothes off the tender joints because of the severe pain.

In applied kinesiology, gout is treated by closely evaluating the entire body and its systems for dysfunction. In some cases the kidneys are involved. When this occurs, uric acid is probably not adequately eliminated. Sometimes the bowel is involved; its action, along with normal bacterial count, must be improved. Research findings have indicated that intestinal bacteria help control gout.Dr. Sahara might recommend a specific detoxification program for you. Many times proper muscle testing (which aids Dr. Sahara’s ability to diagnosis the cause of your problem) along with specific chiropractic adjustments helps the body detoxify itself properly. Therefore eliminating the manifestation of gout.

Other areas of the body functions have also been indicated as controls, or possibly causative factors, in gout; consequently, it is important in each and every gout case to make a total, independent evaluation of the different systems and organs within the body and return poorly functioning areas to normal.

Diet is very important in gouty arthritis. Dr. Sahara will probably find some deficiencies in this area, indicating a need for improved protein digestion, a decrease of purines in the diet, or some other change that may include nutritional supplementation. He might recommend the patient take a specific enzyme aiding digestion and helping the body detoxify better. (See detoxification page)

The bottom line in arthritic conditions is to determine exactly what is taking place and eliminate the causative factors. This makes much more sense than overriding the discomfort with pain medication, which is commonly done when an individual takes the attitude, ‘I have arthritis. It can’t be cured.’ Many people with arthritis obtain correction of the condition and lead happy, pain-free, and healthy lives. What’s your choice? Find the right solution for your condition here at the Sahara Clinic.

Written by SYSTEMS DC and edited by Darrick E Sahara, D.C., Inc.