Most articles on arthritis try to recommend drug treatments rather than natural ways you can help your body heal. Both Orthodox and Alternative treatments have shown success in treating the symptoms of arthritis. It is crucial to learn how our daily habits affect the inflammatory processes that contribute to arthritis.
Photo courtesy of Ken Tannenbaum
The most common treatments for arthritis are those that affect an inflammatory chemical known as Cyclooxygenase or COX. Pharmacological inhibition of COX can provide relief from the symptoms of inflammation and pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, exert their effects through inhibition of COX.
Unfortunately NSAIDs drugs used for these treatments were also found to have side effects. NSAIDs can make the overall disease process of arthritis worse, by depleting the very nutrients necessary for joint repair, including iron, folic acid and zinc. COX-2 inhibitors have been found to have serious cardiovascular effects, increasing the risk of atherothrombosis even with short-term use. A 2006 analysis of 138 randomized trials and almost 150 000 participants showed that selective COX-2 inhibitors are associated with a moderately increased risk of vascular events, mainly due to a twofold increased risk of heart attacks, and also that high-dose regimens of some traditional NSAIDs such as diclofenac and ibuprofen are associated with a similar increase in risk of vascular events.
What are the simplest ways to reduce inflammation in the body?
1. Keep moving: even though pain and stiffness can make you feel like skipping your exercise routine, research shows that staying active can help keep arthritis symptoms under control.
2. Diet. The Mediterranean diet consists primarily of fish, fruit, vegetables, cereals, and beans and contains less red meat and dairy products than Western diets. In a recent study of Rheumatoid arthritis patients, those consuming the Mediterranean diet had a statistically significant 56 percent decrease in disease activity.