Healing Path, Inc.

Finding Balance
Chapter 2.4 - Arthritis

In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of the different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.

This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available for download on this website.

Table of Contents
Chapter Excerpt
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download

Table of Contents

    1. Caregivers
    2. Self-Management
    3. Support Groups
    4. Medication Treatment Programs
    5. Exercise
    6. Weight Reduction
    7. Joint Replacement Surgery
      • Nutrition and Supplements
        • Nutrition
        • Supplements
        • Enzymatic Therapies
      • Rainforest and Western Herbs
        • Rainforest Herbs
        • Western Herbs
      • Homeopathic Remedies
      • Essential Oils
      • Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
      • Traditional Chinese Medicine
      • Hatha Yoga Postures
      • Meditation
      • Visualization
      • Affirmation

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Chapter Excerpt

Arthritis is a disease that involves inflammation of one or more of the body's joints. Of the many different types of arthritis, by far the most common is osteoarthritis. This slow-developing condition involves a breakdown of joint tissue, primarily cartilage. Osteoarthritis rarely develops before the age of forty, but it affects nearly everyone past the age of sixty. However, it may be so mild that a person is unaware of it until it shows up on an x-ray. It typically runs in families - affecting three times as many women as men. It frequently affects the joints of the fingers, knes and hips. It also often develops in the spine and the base of the big toe. It can affect one or more joints.

Osteoarthritis often goes unnoticed for years. When symptoms do occur, these usually include joint pain with movement, swelling, and brief joint stiffness in the morning or after periods of inactivity. As the condition progresses, it may severely limit movement of the affected joint(s). Most of the joints in our body are highly movable. These joints are enclosed in a capsule that is lined by an inner membrane, called the synovial membrane. The synovial membrane secretes a slippery fluid that fills the space around and between the bones. The synovial fluid lubricates the joint, making movement easier. The ends of bones are covered with cartilage, which serves as a resilient cushion that distributes weight and stress and provides a smooth surface for movement. Osteoarthritis may develop and worsen without any apparent cause. One likely factor is excess stress on the joint over time. However, obesity, joint injury and heredity can also play a role. In osteoarthritis, the resilient cartilage softens, develops pits and becomes frayed. Over time, or with excess use, large sections of cartilage may wear away. The worn surfaces rub against each other, irritating the joint. The bone ends may thicken, contributing to pain. Soon, bony spurs, or osteophytes, may form at various sites in the joint. These may add to the pain and further limit movement. Finally, bits of bone and cartilage may break off and float in the joint space, restricting movement even more. Fractures become an increasing risk because osteoarthritis makes the bones brittle. The tendons, ligaments, and muscles holding the joint together become weaker, and the joint itself becomes deformed, painful, and stiff. Although a person may have both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis at the same time, these two diseases differ in some very important ways.

Rheumatoid arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease, in which the body attacks its own tissues. Osteoarthritis is thought to be primarily the result of wear and tear on the individual joints that are affected. In contrast with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation. Joints become warm, swollen, and painful. Also, unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can cause generalized symptoms as well as damage throughout the body, affecting the skin, muscles, blood vessels, eyes and lungs along with the joints. This "self-attacking-self" disease, in which the body's immune system improperly identifies the synovial membranes, that secrete the lubricating fluid in the joints - as a foreign invader. Consequently, the cartilage and tissues in and around the joints are damaged or destroyed.

Arthritis can also be caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of a joint. The microorganisms most commonly involved in this type of the disorder, termed infectious arthritis, are streptococci, staphylococci, gonococci, hemophilus, or tubercle bacilli, and fungi such as Candida albicans. Usually the infecting organism travels to the joint through the bloodstream from an infection elsewhere in the body, but injury or even surgery can result in joint infection as well. Symptoms of infectious arthritis include redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness in the affected joint, often accompanied by systemic symptoms of infection such as fever, chills, and body aches.

Gout, an acute form of inflammatory arthritis, occurs most often in people who are overweight and/or who indulge regularly in rich foods and alcohol. It typically attacks the smaller joints of the feet and hands, especially the big toe. Deposits of crystallized uric acid salt in the joint cause swelling, redness, and a sensation of heat and extreme pain.

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Glossary of Terms

Drugs for pain relief sold by prescription or over the counter.
Autoimmune Disease
A disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, win which the body attacks its own tissues.
The flexible structure enclosing a joint.
A tough, rubbery material at the ends of bones that provides a very smooth gliding surface for joint motion; helps distribute weight and stress on the joint.
The body's response to irritation or injury; marked by swelling, redness, warmth and pain.
Isometric Exercises
Muscle-tightening exercises that require no movement of the joints; they build strength without requiring painful joint motion and help keep cartilage healthy.
Points in the body at which two bones meet; most are highly movable, such as those in the hand, hip and knee.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Medications, such as aspirin, often used to reduce joint inflammation and pain; prolonged, excessive use may lead to irritation or bleeding in the stomach or intestines.
The most common form of arthritis, in which the gradual wearing away of cartilage impairs joint function.
Small bony growths, or spurs, that form at various sites in the joint and may contribute to joint pain and restriction of movement.
Range of Motion
All the normal movements a joint can make I different directions; exercises involving rage of motion can help keep osteoarthritic joints loose and mobile without stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis
An autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation that is not caused by the normal or excessive wear and tear of joints and cartilage.
Synovial Membrane
The lining of the joint capsule; it secretes a thick, slippery fluid, resembling egg white, that lubricates the joint and makes movement easier.

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