Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Natural Alternatives and Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) Borage seed oil, Cat’s claw, Evening primrose oil (EPO), Fish oil, Rosehip, Borax, Curcumin, Essential Oils, Exercise, Movement & Rest, Physical therapy and assistive devices, De-stress, Diet & Magnets. #Rheumatoid #RheumatoidArthritis #ra #Inflammation #Arthritis #NaturalRemedies #NaturalAlternatives #CAM http://www.NaturallyProven.com/rheumatoid-arthritis-natural-treatment-symptoms

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)

Autoimmune disease: Defense system gone wrong:

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Conventional Treatment

The immune system is a very precious and critical aspect of a person’s body. It serves as an indispensable unit that monitors secures and protects us from all known threats such as infection or disease. It is so important that, any abnormalities within this system could be detrimental to one’s health. There are unfortunate instances when our immune system mistakenly attacks our body’s tissues. This condition is known as an autoimmune disorder.

Autoimmune diseases may target particular parts of the body. With rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the immune cells attack the joints, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the said areas. RA is the common form of chronic inflammatory arthritis and often results in joint damage and physical disability.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 0.5-1% of the adult population worldwide. In the United States alone, about 1.5 million people or roughly 0.6% of the U.S. adult population, have RA. Interestingly, although there is evidence that the number of old cases of RA remains the same because these individuals are living longer, the number of new cases may be going down. Like many other autoimmune diseases, RA occurs more commonly in females than in males, with a 2-3:1 ratio and an even higher predominance in women in some countries. The incidence of RA increases between 22 and 55 years of age, after which it plateaus until the age of 75 and then decreases.

A joint is the point where two or more bones come together. Joints are designed to allow movement and to absorb shock from weight-bearing activities. These bones are covered with cartilage, which is a tough, thick, and elastic tissue that facilitates the gliding of bones. The joint capsule is lined with synovium, which produces synovial fluid, a clear substance that serves as a lubricant and nourishes the cartilage and bones of the joint and capsule.

In RA, like many autoimmune diseases, immune cells travel to, invade and destroy the lining of the joints, causing inflammatory reactions such as warmth, redness, swelling, and pain. With the progression of this inflammatory process, there is the gradual erosion of the adjacent cartilages and bones. The encompassing muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support and stabilize the joint becomes weak and unable to work normally. These lead to the pain and joint damage seen in patients with RA.

The pathogenic mechanisms of synovial inflammation are likely to result from a complex interplay of susceptible genes, environmental, and immunologic factors that causes the dysregulation of the immune system and a breakdown of self-tolerance. The exact trigger for initiating these events remains a mystery.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Hereditary (Genetic)?

For over 30 years, it has been recognized that faulty genes contribute to the occurrence of RA as well as to its severity. So, if you have a first-degree relative diagnosed with RA, you’re 2-10 times more likely to have RA. Although twin studies imply that a genetic susceptibility may explain up to 60% of occurrence of RA, the more commonly stated estimate is only about 10-25%. This disparity may be explained by the variations in the gene-environment interactions.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Environmental Causes:

In addition to genetic predisposition, a variety of environmental factors, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of RA. Researchers have pointed out cigarette smoking. Studies have demonstrated a relative risk of developing RA of 1.5-3.5. Interestingly, the risk from smoking is almost exclusively related to rheumatoid factor (RF) – and anti-CCP antibody-positive disease, such as in RA. The previously mentioned autoantibodies are said to be found in the sera of RA patients long before the onset of clinical disease.

An infectious etiology for RA had also been considered. Certain infections caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have garnered the most interest in the past three decades. This is due to their ubiquity, ability to persist for many years in the host, and frequent associations with arthritic complaints. Blood and synovial analyzes have also suggested a possible link with mycoplasma and parvovirus B19 infection. Since the evidence for these links is mostly circumstantial, it has not been possible to directly implicate infections as a causative agent in RA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Immunologic Factors:

In RA, the earliest detectable preclinical stage is a breakdown in self-tolerance. This idea is supported by the finding that autoantibodies, such as RF and anti-CCP antibodies, may be found in the sera from patients long before the onset of clinical disease. However, the antigenic targets of anti-CCP antibodies are not restricted to the joint, and their causative role of the illness remains speculative.

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis:

The manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis typically result from inflammation of the joints and its surrounding structures. They often complain of early morning joint stiffness lasting more than 1 hour that is eventually relieved by physical activity. The first joints, to be involved, are typically the small joints of the hands and feet. The initial pattern of joint involvement may only affect one joint, oligoarticular (≤4 joints), or polyarticular (>5 joints), usually with equal distribution on both sides of the body.

Once the disease is established, the wrist and the joints of the fingers stand out as the most frequently involved joints. The progressive destruction of the joints and soft tissues may lead to chronic, irreversible deformities. The frequent hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis is flexor tendon tenosynovitis, a condition that leads to diminished range of motion, decreased grip strength and “trigger” fingers. Large joints, including the knees and shoulders, are often affected by established RA disease, although these joints may remain asymptomatic for many years after onset.

Extra-articular manifestations may develop during the clinical course of RA, even prior to the beginning of arthritis. The most common are described as follows:

Rheumatoid Arthritis Constitutional Symptoms:

These signs and symptoms include weight loss, fever, fatigue, malaise, and depression. In general, the presence of a fever of >38.3°C (101°F) at any time during the clinical course should raise suspicion of systemic inflammation or infection.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Nodules

Subcutaneous nodules occur in 30-40% of patients and more commonly in those with the highest levels of disease activity. These nodules are generally firm; nontender; and adherent to the joints; developing in areas of the skeleton subject to repeated trauma or irritation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Sjogren’s syndrome

Secondary Sjogren’s syndrome is defined by the presence of either dry eyes or dry mouth and is frequently associated with secondary connective tissue disease, such as RA. Approximately 10% of patients with RA have secondary Sjogren’s syndrome.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Pulmonary

The most typical pulmonary manifestation of RA is pleural disease. It may produce chest pain and difficulty breathing, as well as a collection of fluid in the lungs. Interstitial lung disease (ILD) may also occur in patients with RA and allow by symptoms of dry cough and progressive shortness of breath. The presence of ILD confers a poor prognosis. Pulmonary nodules may be present as a solitary or multiple lesions.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Cardiac Complications

The most frequent site of cardiac involvement in RA is the pericardium. However, clinical manifestations of pericarditis occur in less than 10% of patients with RA despite the fact that pericardial involvement may be detected in nearly one-half of these patients by echocardiogram or autopsy studies. Mitral regurgitation is the most prevalent valvular abnormality in RA, occurring at a higher frequency than in the general population.

The most common cause of death in patients with RA is cardiovascular disease, in which the incidence is higher in RA patients than in the general population. Higher risk occurs even when controlling for traditional cardiac risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, increased cholesterol levels, diabetes and cigarette smoking. Congestive heart failure occurs at a twofold higher rate in RA patients than in the general population.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Vasculitis

Vasculitis lesions can transpire in any organ, but they are generally found in the skin. Lesions may present as palpable purpura, skin ulcers, or digital infarcts.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Hematologic Manifestations

A normochromic, normocytic anemia frequently occurs in patients with RA and is the most common hematologic abnormality. The degree of anemia parallels the level of inflammation. Platelet counts may also be elevated in RA.

Felty’s syndrome, defined by a triad of elevated neutrophils, enlargement of the spleen, and nodular RA, is observed in less than 1% of patients. It typically occurs in white patients in the late stages of severe RA. As opposed to Felty’s syndrome, T-cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia (T-LGL) is a condition that may emerge early in the course of RA and is characterized by elevated neutrophils and splenomegaly.

How can I tell if I have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

So you realize that you have the symptoms. You begin to think that you might have RA. But are you sure about this diagnosis or are you probably thinking too much? The clinical diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is largely based on the patient’s signs and symptoms of a chronic inflammatory arthritis. However, to properly diagnose the symptoms laboratory and radiographic results need to be conducted.

In 2010, a collaborative effort between the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) revised a classification criteria for RA in an attempt to improve early diagnosis with the intent of identifying patients who would benefit from early introduction of disease-modifying therapy. The criteria include the number of joints involved in the disease, the duration of symptoms, the presence of autoantibodies (RF and anti-CCP), and the serum levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP) and ESR. Application of the newly revised criteria yields a score of 0-10, with a score of ≥6 fulfilling the requirements definite for RA.

In addition to this classification strategy, other modalities such as serum studies, synovial fluid analysis, and joint imaging are useful in diagnosing RA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Prognosis

Truth be told; the natural history of RA is rather complex and is greatly affected by a number of factors including age of onset, gender, genetics, and comorbid conditions. Predicting the clinical course of the patient is not that simple. As many as 10% of RA patients will undergo a spontaneous remission within 6 months. Many of these patients will exhibit a pattern of persistent and progressive disease that waxes and wanes in intensity over time.

Previous studies revealed that more than one-half of patients with RA are unable to work 10 years after the onset of their disease. However, there has been an improving state in the quality of life with the use of newer therapies and earlier treatment.

The overall fatality rate in RA is two times higher than the general population, with ischemic heart disease being the most prevalent cause of death, followed by infection. Median life expectancy is shortened by an average of 7 years for men and 3 years for women, compared to the general population.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is there a cure?

Amidst the advancing technology in the current society, there is still no known cure for RA. Joint inflammation is the primary driver of joint damage and is the most significant cause of functional disability in the early stage of the disease. Currently, physicians aim to lessen the symptoms and to allow patients to keep functioning at, or near, normal levels, hence improving their quality of life.

Doctors use a variety of approaches to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These are used in different combinations at different times during the course of the disease and are carefully selected according the patient’s needs and choices. In every situation, it should be the physician’s goal to relieve pain, reduce the inflammatory process, slow down or stop joint damage, and to improve the patient’s sense of well-being and ability to function. For this reason, it is necessary to recognize the importance of a good communication between the patient and the doctor to establish an effective treatment that is of the most benefit to the patient.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Traditional Medication and Treatments

Good control of RA requires an early diagnosis and at times, aggressive treatment. The drugs used for the treatment of RA may be divided into several broad categories:

NSAIDS

NSAIDS are generally used as the first-line of treatment especially for the relief of pain, but they are now they are considered to be the adjunctive therapy for the management of symptoms uncontrolled by other measures. These drugs lower swelling, pain, and fever.

Caution: However, with unregulated and chronic usage, they are known to cause stomach irritation and/or bleeding, and can worsen ongoing diseases of the kidneys. Hence, patients older than 65, as well as those with a history of gastrointestinal ulcers and/or bleeding, are not advised to use NSAIDs.

Steroids

Glucocorticoids are more potent than NSAIDs. In RA, steroids may be given in low-to-moderate doses for a rapid disease control before the onset of a fully effective DMARD therapy, which takes several weeks or even months. Another approach to the use of steroids includes a 1-2 week burst of glucocorticoids for the management of acute disease flares with dose and duration adjusted based on the severity of the exacerbation.

Caution: Prolonged use of steroids predisposes patients to osteoporosis because it causes bone thinning and weakening, and in severe cases it can cause softening or destruction of the joints in the hips, wrists, knees and feet. Steroids can also cause peptic ulcer disease. Hence, it is recommended to minimize the chronic use of these drugs, if possible.

Conventional DMARDs

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can slow down or prevent the progression of RA. The drugs within this category include the hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, methotrexate, and leflunomide; they have a delayed onset of action of approximately 6-12 weeks.

Methotrexate is the DMARD of preference for the treatment of RA and is the anchor drug for most combination therapies. It has been shown in studies that methotrexate has potent anti-inflammatory effects. Because of its effectiveness and relatively infrequent side effects, it has gained popularity among doctors.

Leflunomide seems to work by blocking the action of an import enzyme that has a role in immune activation. The clinical efficacy of leflunomide appears to be similar to that of methotrexate. In clinical trials, it has been shown to be effective for the treatment of RA by itself, or in combination with other DMARDs.

Caution: However, this drug is shown to cause birth defects. Hence, this should not be used in women who might become pregnant during, or immediately after the treatment period.

Biologic response modifiers

These drugs represent a novel approach to the treatment of RA and are the products of modern biotechnology. Biologic medications have a more accelerated onset of action as compared to DMARDs and can have powerful effects in stopping the progression of the joint damage. In general, their methods of action are also more directed, defined, and targeted.

Caution: However, these drugs are more costly and have a tendency to contribute to the worsening congestive heart failure and demyelinating diseases.

Surgery

Surgical procedures may improve pain and disability in rheumatoid arthritis—most notably of the hands, wrists, and feet, typically after the failure of medical therapy. The primary goal of surgery is to reduce pain, improve the affected joint’s function, and to enhance the patient’s ability to perform daily activities. Here are some of the most common surgeries performed for RA:

Joint replacement

The chronic inflammation and gradual destruction of the joints in RA are responsible for the patient’s symptoms of pain, warmth, and swelling. Joint replacement involves the removal of all or part of the damaged joint and replacing it with artificial components. It is done primarily to alleviate pain and improve or preserve function of the affected joint.

Arthrodesis

This is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the joints and fusing these bones into one immobile unit, often using fragments of bone harvested from a different site from the same patient. This type of surgery is useful for increasing stability and relieving pain in the affected joints.

Tendon reconstruction

In addition to joints, rheumatoid arthritis also leads to the impairment of the neighboring structures such as the tendons, which attach muscle to bones. The damaged tendon is reconstructed by attaching an intact tendon to it. This surgery is usually done on the hands to restore function.

Synovectomy

In this procedure, the inflamed synovium is removed and is usually done as part of tendon reconstruction. Not to worry because the synovium eventually grows back.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Natural Alternative Medications

In the report made by the Arthritis Research UK, the UK’s fourth largest medical research charity for arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, they have listed several featured compounds that are potential complementary and alternative medicines for the treatment of RA, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. This report reviewed 31 compounds with evidence available from randomized controlled trials (RTCs). Twelve out of seventeen complementary medicines researched for its effects on rheumatoid arthritis scored poorly in the study. Listed below are the compounds with a higher level of efficacy for the treatment of RA.

Borage seed oil

Borage seed or Borago Officinalis is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean region but is also grown in other countries. This is usually prepared in a capsule form or in bottles. The oil extracted from the seeds is rich in essential fatty acids that can regulate the body’s immune system and fight inflammation. Preliminary studies have established that more than 1 gram of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), a component found in borage seed oil, are needed to partially relieve symptoms. Studies have been evaluated on the effects of borage seed oil in treating rheumatoid arthritis. In these studies, there was available evidence suggesting that it may improve RA-related symptoms such as joint tenderness, swelling and morning stiffness.

Cat’s claw

This herbal medicine is extracted from the stem and roots of Uncaria tomentosa, also called the life-giving vine of Peru or Una de Gato. This is available over the counter in pharmacies and health food shops in the form of capsules. Laboratory studies have observed that cat’s claw can prevent the activation of several inflammatory substances in the body, as confirmed by studies on animals.

Evidences also point out antioxidant properties (meaning they can prevent cell damage in the body by interacting with damaging molecules, known as free radicals, which are produced within the cells). A dose of 60mg a day of the active component was used in one trial. However, there has been no clinical studies to ascertain an appropriate dosage for rheumatoid arthritis. One could seek a Natural Health Doctor to discuss dosage. According to the trial, cat’s claw showed clinical benefits with only minor side-effects when taken along with hypertensive and immunosuppressant drugs.

Evening primrose oil (EPO)

Oenothera blennis has many names. It is also known as the tree primrose, fever plant, night willowherb, King ‘s cure-all, scabish, scurvish, sun drop, and suncups. It is a biennial plant native to the North American but is now found all over the world. EPO is produced from the plant’s seed. It is available in capsules (500-1300 mg) or oil (150 ml) in most pharmacies, health food shops and supermarkets. No recommended safe doses have been found for the use in rheumatoid arthritis. A dose of 6 grams (540mg GLA) a day has been used in trials. EPO is found to have a rich source of essential fatty acids such as gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). Evidences have been collected regarding the effectiveness of EPO in reducing joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis. Although the studies aren’t conclusive, there’s some evidence that it can improve morning stiffness. EPO doesn’t seem to modify long-term disease activity, it should be taken along with conventional therapy.

Caution: Evening primrose oil can thin blood and lower blood pressure.

Fish oil

There are two types of fish oil:

  1. Fish body oil: Made from the tissues of fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel.
  2. Fish liver oil: Made by pressing the cooked liver of halibut, shark or cod.

It is usually available in capsule form containing 1g of fish oil. These oils are rich in essential fatty acids and have strong anti-inflammatory properties. They also play a role in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. These oils may decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke in people with inflammatory arthritis. Fish liver oil contains high levels of vitamin A and D.

Did you know that vitamin A has strong anti-oxidant properties and that vitamin D is important in the production of proteoglycan in cartilage and helps maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system? Fish oil is considered to be well tolerated.

Studies conducted on its efficacy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis shows good evidence in the improvement of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. There are also unconfirmed evidence that combining both fish body and fish liver oils may also have long-term benefits of reducing daily user of NSAID.

Caution: However, certain environmental chemicals such as methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can contaminate fish supplies. There’s also a growing concern as to whether these chemicals build up in the body. There has been researching indicating that having the correct balance of selenium when consuming fish or fish oil containing methylmercury reduces the absorption of methylmercury in the body.

It is also important to take note that the intake of large amounts of fish liver oil provides more than the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can lead to liver problems and hair loss. It may also have harmful effects on unborn babies. Thus, fish liver oil and vitamin A supplements should be avoided during pregnancy.

Rosehip

Rosa Carina or the rose heps, is a species of wild rose natively to some regions in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Rosehip is made from the fruits of this plant and is available in 5g capsule form. This herbal medicine contains polyphenols, anthocyanins, rich in vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties. The evidence available suggests that rosehip is relatively well tolerated. It may be effective in relieving joint inflammation and preventing associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Borax

Borax? Is this about he laundry detergent (20 mule-team borax?)

Yes, it is! Borax is a naturally-occurring mineral that is traditionally used in a variety of cleaning purposes. But, did you know that borax also possesses a number of health components. When used appropriately, borax can help treat a range of health conditions and support overall good health. Borax has been used for its anti-inflammatory agents and strong detoxifier that can remove toxins such as accumulated fluoride and heavy metals from the body.

You can research online and find that many people have used borax with great success to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, swollen gums, kills candida and mycoplasma, helps reverse osteoporosis and tooth decay stimulating the growth of new bones, normalisation of sex hormones, preventing the accumulation of fluoride, removing parasites, fungi, bacteria and chelating, heavy metals, high blood pressure, arterial disease and many other diseases. http://www.health-science-spirit.com/borax.htm

I personally do not have any experience with using Borax, but I am actually going to start using it this week to treat a recent diagnosis. I will keep you posted on my results.

If you plan on trying this Borax protocol, become educated and do your research. Borax is used in very small amounts as per Ted’s Protocol, that you can find on EarthClinc. You can also research your disease and the use of borax on the Earthclinc Website to discover the benefits of its use: www.earthclinic.com/

Boran is necessary for good health; this compound should be used in moderation.

Caution: Likewise, it is important to not confuse borax with boric acid. DO NOT USE BORIC ACID.

The protocol is:

  • Men: 1/4 teaspoon of Borax (20 mule-team borax) in 1 liter of filtered water.
  • Women: 1/8 teaspoon of Borax (20 mule-team borax) in 1 liter of filtered water.
  • Sip on the 1 liter of borax water throughout the day until finished.
  • Drink this Borax Protocol for 4 days, and then take 3 days off.
  • Drink plenty of water without borax when doing this protocol.

Borax will cause detoxification, and you could start to experience symptoms such as skin breakouts, fatigue, gas and bloating, body aches, muscle aches, brain fog, headaches, low energy, and irritability. If the detoxification is too intense it was suggested to cut the daily dose in 1/2 (e.g. Men 1/8 teaspoon of Borax in 1 liter of filtered water, Women 1/16 teaspoon of Borax in 1 liter of filtered water.

Additionally, borax contains a high concentration of boron, an essential nutrient in the body. This nutrient supports brain function, boosts the immune system and builds bones.

Boron deficiency causes the parathyroids to become overactive, releasing too much parathyroid hormone that increases the blood level of calcium because calcium is released from the bones and teeth. The loss of calcium in the bones can lead to osteoporosis, forms of arthritis and tooth decay. When boron deficiency is combined with magnesium deficiency, it can cause increased destruction to the bones and teeth.

As we age, high blood levels of calcium can lead to calcification of soft tissues. Calcification is typically discovered during a mammogram when microcalcification is discovered. Calcification can also be observed with involuntary muscle contractions and stiffness. Calcification can affect the endocrine glands, especially the pineal gland and the ovaries and kidneys (leading to renal failure), and can result in arteriosclerosis and kidney stones.

Boron deficiency can affect the metabolism of steroid hormones, especially sex hormones. Being deficient can increase low testosterone (low-T) levels in men and estrogen levels in menopausal women. This study reported an increase level of free testosterone. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21129941

Curcumin

Many studies have been conducted utilizing curcumin on Rheumatoid Arthritis. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/curcumin/ In this study patients felt relief in joint swelling and morning stiffness. The studies exhibited that the use of curcumin improved RA symptoms as much as prescribed NSAID. Curcumin has the added benefit of having anti-cancer properties.

The best part of the studies were the RA patients using the curcumin treatments did not observe any adverse side effects.

Unfortunately, curcumin does not absorb well into the body. The method below will increase the absorption rate of curcumin.

  1. Boil 1 quart of water.
  2. Add 1 Tablespoon of Curcumin to boiling water.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Drink as soon as possible during the day. The longer the solution sits, the less curcumin you will absorb.

Other health benefits of Curcumin (Tumeric).

Essential Oils

Essential oils are amazing for almost any condition. For Rheumatoid Arthritis or other autoimmune disorders, the following Essential Oils can help alleviate pain and swelling that causes deterioration of the joints. Create a blend using any of the following essential oils (Include Frankincense in all blends) and apply daily to the problem areas. Clove, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Lemon, Melaleuca, Oregano and Thyme.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Lifestyle Changes

Doctors, as well as the patient, should realize they do not have to rely solely on medications to treat the symptoms. First, the patient’s history should be observed to discover any events that could trigger or exacerbate the symptoms or the disease itself. Are there other non-medical factors that alleviated the symptoms of the patient? In lieu of this, patients with rheumatoid arthritis should be advised to practice certain activities to help improve their ability to function independently and to maintain a positive outlook on life.

Exercise, Movement and Rest

People with RA need a good balance between exercise and rest. During an RA Flare-up patients should get more rest and when it is not debilitating RA patients should move more, and when they are feeling good exercise more. Exercise is crucial to maintaining healthy and strong muscles and joints, hence improving flexibility.

Physical therapy and assistive devices

All patients should receive direction to exercise and begin physical activity. It has been shown to improve muscle strength and perceived health status. Judicious use of wrist splints can decrease pain and swelling by supporting the joint and letting it rest.

De-stress

People with any disabling disease face emotional and physical challenges. Although there is no evidence that stress plays a role in the disease process, it may affect the amount of pain the patient feels. Thus, patients should be exposed to venues or outlets of relaxation, distraction, or visualization exercises. Support groups are very helpful and allows good communication with the healthcare team.

Diet

Fasting for a brief period may bring some relief of symptoms for patients with RA, possibly due to the elimination of some food that are perceived as allergens that can trigger inflammation. Some patients even go for a vegan diet as some trials have shown some benefit, including decreased inflammation, lower disease activity, reduced pain, and stiffness.

However, it should be noted that there are no sufficient scientific data to support the concept that RA is actually caused by allergies to food or other substances.

Magnets

Many patients use magnets as a complementary treatment for pain. A review on the use of magnets for pain was done, in which significant pain reduction was found with different types of magnetic treatment. Magnets have been useful for treating other types of pain, but further research is still necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the RA population.

Patients with RA often have painful and disabling, and usually requires lifelong use of medications to control these symptoms. Although conventional medications have greatly improved the general course of RA, drugs that are commonly used to manage, the disease may carry some notable side effects. For all these reasons, patients with RA should be informed of the broad options they can choose from, such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for additional sources of relief.

Before starting any Traditional Medication or Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), it is important to seek out a physician and receive a proper diagnosis and discuss all medication or natural health remedies with your healthcare provider.

In every decision that the physician would make, they will take into consideration the patient’s needs and what would benefit them the most. Whether the choice would be the use of conventional or CAMs or both, the patients should be able to live a good quality and functional life. Autoimmune diseases are very difficult to live with, and it is understandable to get discouraged. Try to remember that a positive attitude can actually help you physically.