Arthritis is a common rheumatic disease, affecting millions of people. It is primarily characterized by joint pain. In this article we will present the causes of arthritis as well as treatments to relieve your pain.
It is now known that arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes the progressive destruction of cartilage. Although this disease is age-related, it affects people from the age of 40 onwards and can be very disabling, as arthritis can cause severe joint pain.
This is in fact the main symptom of osteoarthritis: recurring pain in the fingers, hips or knees should alert you. Depending on your body's movements, the pain may be more or less diffuse, and will generally disappear with rest. Other symptoms are also visible:
In addition, people suffering from osteoarthritis mainly have pain on waking up (the joints are stiff) and at the end of the day, especially after heavy exertion.
Note that these symptoms are enough to go to your general practitioner, who will prescribe an X-ray of the affected joints. These X-ray images generally show very characteristic signs of osteoarthritis, such as joint pinching, condensation of the bone under the cartilage, or the geodes inside certain bones.
Osteoarthritis is a disease that has not yet revealed all its secrets, so scientists have not precisely identified all the causes of osteoarthritis.
However, there are metabolic factors that may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis:
There are two main "categories" of osteoarthritis:
Primary osteoarthritis or secondary osteoarthritis have specific causes, but have a similar effect on patients: progressive wear and tear of the cartilage, which is no longer able to regenerate effectively. The cells specialized in cartilage regeneration, the chondrocytes, have a key role in the life of this connective tissue: they enable the destruction and continuous re-creation of new, healthy and robust cells.
In the case of a patient with osteoarthritis, the chondrocytes begin to produce pro-inflammatory molecules called interleukins, which will weaken the chondrocytes and reduce the production of collagen, a protein that provides good elasticity and resistance to stretching. The cartilage and the joint weaken little by little, to the point of causing mechanical pain: the disappearance of the cartilage forces the articular movement to become bone-on-bone (in the most serious cases), which can be very painful.
In fact, there are as many types of osteoarthritis as there are areas of the body affected. Here are the most common types of osteoarthritis patients are diagnosed with:
It should also be noted that some types of mild osteoarthritis do not cause real pain or disability, which is why many minor cases remain undiagnosed.
Fortunately, it is possible to relieve patients suffering from osteoarthritis, and to set up therapies perfectly adapted to their ailments.
The treatments prescribed by professionals are mainly medicinal: paracetamol, a simple analgesic, is very often recommended, as are certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or diclofenac.
These medications, although familiar to us, are not without risk, especially when taken repeatedly. For example, paracetamol, taken at too high a dose, can have toxic consequences for the liver, and NSAIDs can have undesirable effects such as headaches, nausea and dizziness. In addition, these drugs only fight inflammation, and do not really cure osteoarthritis.
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Thermal cures can indeed tackle the main problem of osteoarthritis, namely pain. Patients who undergo one or two annual spa treatments notice an improvement in the degree of pain and the possibility of reducing the daily intake of medication and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Some cures are moreover accompanied by care dedicated to osteoarthritis patients, in particular physiotherapy sessions that allow a real re-education of the joints and the adoption of better gestures and postures.
Used in poultices, green clay can provide lasting relief from joint inflammation and pain. Naturally rich in minerals and trace elements, green clay can remineralize the joints thanks to its high silica content.
Some pharmaceutical companies were not mistaken and now offer green clay-based gels, which are easier to apply than poultices. Indeed, this home-made paste is difficult to produce by oneself, and must remain applied for several hours on the targeted joint, which is not the case with gels designed in a laboratory.
These gloves, unlike the others, are indicated for the treatment of arthrosis of the hands or fingers. Magnetic compression gloves, they help reduce the swelling and stiffness of ankylosed fingers. Magnets have soothing properties on the joints by increasing blood circulation in the fingers.
By using these ergonomic gloves for a few hours each day, patients with arthritic pain can experience real relief, as can those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.
While snail slime is commonly used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, some vendors also claim it has benefits against osteoarthritis. However, "regeneration" of cartilage tissue is not possible with snail slime, no matter what these vendors say.
On the other hand, turmeric can have interesting effects for people with osteoarthritis. This spice from India is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, just like ibuprofen. If the pain caused by your osteoarthritis is inflammatory, taking turmeric may therefore have beneficial effects.
Be careful, however, not to overdo it or to put forward the idea that turmeric is the "anti-arthritis" ingredient par excellence: it is simply a means of reducing pain somewhat, but by no means to eradicate it completely or even to "cure" osteoarthritis.
Certain foods can help relieve some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis. For example, omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in sardines, salmon and mackerel, which are beneficial for joint inflammation.
A rebalancing of good and bad fats will obviously be an excellent way to reduce your pain. You should therefore avoid eating red meat and animal fats, and give preference to vegetable oils (olive, rapeseed, provided that you heat it up a little).
Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are also recommended for your bone health: red fruits, citrus fruits and dates are recommended, as are different types of cabbage and turnips, which are rich in vitamins C and K. Finally, don't hesitate to cook with spices: as mentioned above, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, just like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon or curry.
Finally, an anti-arthritis diet also makes sense if it consists, at the same time, of reducing your possible overweight. We know that too much body mass will have harmful consequences on the health of your joints.
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