Get out and exercise
Get out and exercise

There's two approaches for two kinds of arthritis

LIVING NATURALLY with OLWEN ANDERSON

IF YOU have arthritis, I bet signs like "eases arthritis” catch your eye. But what kind of arthritis are they advertising relief for?

Before you open your wallet, make sure you know whether you have osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis or both, because although there's some overlap between them, natural treatment approaches are different depending on which kind you have.

Osteoarthritis occurs when joint cartilage wears down, grinding bone ends together when you move. More movement, more pain.

Natural treatment for this kind of arthritis is focused on helping your joints regrow the protective cartilage through providing the right nutrients.

Inflammatory, arthritis occurs when inflammation within the joint capsule is out of control. Waste materials from this biochemical process irritate nerve endings, causing pain.

Here, the more you move the less pain you experience as movement washes away the waste products.

Natural treatment for this kind of arthritis is aimed at hosing down the inflammation process using herbs and an anti-inflammatory diet.

But it's possible for the joint cartilage to eventually be destroyed by the inflammation, and then movement won't ease the pain.

If you have inflammatory arthritis then remedies like glucosamine might not make a difference like they do for osteoarthritis; and herbs like turmeric that combat inflammation might not make a difference unless you have the inflammatory form of arthritis.

But there's one therapy that's helpful no matter which kind of arthritis you have: movement, even though when you're in pain your joints are screaming at you to stop.

It has to be the right kind of movement, though.

With osteoarthritis you want to increase circulation to the joint, because it's movement that causes production of the slippery synovial fluid in the joint capsule that cushions. But not just any movement: activity that doesn't put pressure on the joint and erode the cartilage that's trying to re-grow.

In inflammatory arthritis it's a little easier to get going because you know movement will ease the pain. So if the treatment being advertised is all about increasing circulation to the joint area but not increasing stressful pressure then it's worth investigating.

Once you know what's really going on in your joints a session with an exercise physiologist can help you plan a safe yet effective program that can help reduce pain. And reducing pain is what it's all about, don't you think?



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