This information was sourced from Natural Cures. Rife and Zapper frequencies are at the end of this article.
Osteoarthritis, (OA) is by far the most prevalent form of arthritis. The disease affects an estimated 20.7 million Americans. Under the age of 45, more men than women are diagnosed with OA, often due to accidents and injuries. The disease becomes three times more prevalent in women than in men after the age of 45. About a third of adults in the U.S. have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis in the hand, foot, knee, or hip, and by age 65 as many as 75% of the population has evidence of the disease in at least one of these sites.
Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of cartilage, the smooth, gelatinous tissue that protects the ends of bones from rubbing against each other. Healthy cartilage shields bones against being worn down by friction, but in OA the cartilage is worn away, allowing bone ends to make direct contact. As the disease progresses, direct contact creates bone spurs and abnormal bone hardening, and leads to inflammation and severe pain as bones continue to rub together without proper cushioning. As a result, bones may become more brittle and are subject to fracture.
Types of Osteoarthritis
There are two types of osteoarthritis: primary and secondary. Primary OA is arthritis due to an unhealthy aging process. The onset of primary OA is gradual as the disease usually progresses over the course of many years.
Secondary osteoarthritis is less common, but has a more apparent, direct cause: trauma, injury, previous inflammation (even from rheumatoid arthritis), congenital joint misalignment, infection, surgery, or prolonged use of medications.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Mild early-morning stiffness, stiffness following periods of rest, pain that worsens on joint use, loss of joint function, local tenderness, soft tissue swelling, creaking and cracking of joints on movement, bony swelling, and restricted mobility.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is considered by many to be a natural result of the aging process. Nearly everyone over the age of 60 shows some signs of the disease. Excess weight, general wear and tear, and a lifetime of inadequate diet and exercise are the chief causes of osteoarthritis. Additional causes can be skeletal defects, genetic factors, and hormonal deficiencies (as evidenced by the many women who get osteoarthritis after menopause).
The degenerative form of arthritis involves ongoing biochemical processes that negatively alter the structure and regeneration of cartilage and joint tissue. These biochemical processes include free-radical damage, nutritional deficiencies, poor dietary and lifestyle choices, food or environmental allergies, genetic predisposition, and even drug treatments prescribed for pain relief. In various combinations, these factors often cause or contribute to changes in the biomechanics of the joints and muscles.
In some individuals, a defect in the gene that instructs cartilage cells to manufacture collagen (the structural protein of the connective tissue) breaks down. This leads to degenerative joint problems.
Patients with osteoarthritis often display insulin resistance or deficiency. Insulin resistance, considered a precursor to adult-onset diabetes, is a blood sugar disorder that occurs when the body fails to react to the effects of insulin in the blood. This makes it more difficult for the body to use sugar (glucose) for energy. Changes in insulin production can also stimulate the body to produce more inflammatory prostaglandins, which adversely affect joints.
Biomechanical changes, especially excessive tissue acidity, can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. When joints lose their full range of motion due to stress, injury or lack of activity, the cartilage is decreased and breakdown follows. As a result, balanced motion is hindered and the surrounding cartilage starves. The body replaces the deterioration in the joints with calcium, resulting in the formation of hard, inflexible deposits, which cause joint stiffness. Osteoarthritis may also develop from any traumatic injury to cartilage caused by playing sports, accidents, or activity involving repetitive motion.
Acupuncture: A combination of acupuncture with chiropractic for the treatment of arthritis, particularly in cases of osteoarthritis, is a common approach for treating the disease.
Aromatherapy: The following essential oils are excellent for treating osteoarthritis. Dissolve camphor oil and oil of mint in vodka or in raw, unroasted sesame oil and apply externally. Undiluted lemon or marjoram oil also works well and can be rubbed directly into affected joints, unless skin is highly sensitive, in which case mix essential oil with raw sesame, almond or extra virgin olive oil.
Ayurvedic Medicine: Osteoarthritis can stem from metabolic dehydration that leaves joints without fluid. Bacterial parasites that can cause joint problems are another common concern. Ayurvedic herbs are recommended to promote digestion and immune function. In particular, triphala helps cleanse the intestines and aids digestion.
To increase joint mobility and protect joints from further damage, flaxseeds, fish oils, and Boswellia are recommended. Oil massages are beneficial, using sesame or olive oil. For swollen joints, massaging with castor oil helps pull toxins out of the body.
Breathing exercises to relieve the stiffness of the joints and to increase oxygenation are also important. For osteoarthritis patients, a regimen of breathing patterns, flexing of the joints of the hands, feet, and elbows, and yoga positions can improve symptoms. After exercising, professionals suggest a soak in hot water enhanced with baking soda or salt, ginger, peppermint, and eucalyptus. For many patients, Ayurvedic treatment can turn their condition around in three to four months.
Bodywork: Osteoarthritis is directly related to skeletal and postural difficulties. Tendons and ligaments can be torn or stretched as a result of injury, exercise, or aging. The fascial tissues (thin sheets of connective tissue that hold muscles, joints, and organs together) tend to thicken and rigidify from overuse. When the body tries to compensate, spurs may appear in joints and on bones. Bodywork can alter postural difficulties. Restoration of proper, natural posture through deep massage and movement can reduce pain.
Massage helps to break up muscular waste deposits that can cause pain and stimulates circulation in troubled regions in the body, which helps bring more oxygen and other necessary healing nutrients into the tissues and carry toxins away. Arthritis patients should pursue a massage program at least two to three times per week in the early stages, then once a week for several months, with a maintenance schedule of twice a month.
Rolfing has been found to help many arthritis sufferers. The procedure was originally devised by Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., a biochemist who used the technique to treat her own arthritis. She realized that stretching fascial tissues could change conditions causing arthritic disturbance. Rolfing repositions the body in balanced alignment with gravity.
Chiropractic: An increasingly popular, drug-free treatment for arthritis, chiropractic has proven highly effective. Osteoarthritis is often falsely diagnosed, and the painful symptoms are actually caused by misalignment, or subluxation of vertebrae and joints. Chiropractic adjustments can restore a full range of movement and free the body from pain.
Estimates show that 95% of osteoarthritic cases also have misaligned vertebrae. Misaligned vertebrate can produce abnormal stress, leading to osteoarthritis. Hips, knees, ankles, and other joints can also be out of alignment, causing bone spurs to form in these joints. Regular chiropractic visits combined with proper nutrition can alleviate "wear and tear" on the body.
Diet: Diet plays an integral part in reducing or preventing the onset of all types of arthritic conditions. A diet that includes excess consumption of fatty meats, hydrogenated fats such as margarine or shortening, and conventionally produced dairy products generates highly acidic conditions in the blood. For healing to occur, these foods should be minimized if not eliminated from the diet. Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and all refined sugars, should be eliminated. Replace processed sugars with alternative natural sweeteners or naturally sweet fruits. An occasional green tea is okay if caffeine is desired, and alcohol should be had in moderation, such as a glass of wine for special events only.
Soft drinks are high in phosphoric acid, which can dangerously elevate phosphorus levels in the blood. The normal ratio of calcium to phosphorus in bones is approximately two to one, although a one-to-one ratio is adequate to maintain skeletal growth. However, in the average American diet, this ratio is extremely skewed, with high amounts of phosphorus relative to calcium. This causes the body to pull calcium from the bones to supplement blood calcium levels, which can exacerbate arthritic conditions.
An important step in treating arthritis lies in achieving normal body weight, as excess weight puts increased stress on weight-bearing joints affected with arthritis. A diet rich in an abundant selection of fresh vegetables, and a wide variety of sweet and non-sweet fruits, nuts, and whole grains is recommended for maximum nutritional benefit. Whole (unprocessed) foods are rich in the nutrients needed to fight destructive free radicals, promote skin and tissue health, repair bones, muscles, and tendons, and promote bowel regularity. Additionally, eating a whole foods diet will gently and slowly detoxify the system, ultimately leading to higher energy levels and inspiration to eat better, exercise, and follow through with necessary lifestyle changes on your road to health and healing.
Dietary fats are an important consideration for anyone with arthritis. The wrong kind of fats can increase inflammation in joints, while the "good" fats will help reduce inflammation. Hydrogenated fats and trans-fatty acids can directly contribute to inflammation and the destruction of joint tissues. Avoid foods that contain these fats, such as margarine, vegetable shortening, mayonnaise, crackers and chips, cookies, cakes, pastries, packaged breads, candy, and most refined foods. Read all food labels, and do not buy or eat food that contains partially hydrogenated oils, canola oil or any artificial, chemically generated fats.
Whole foods are typically high in healthy fats, including the essential fatty acids (such as Omega-3 and omega-6 oils). Cold-water fish are good sources of essential fatty acids, as are flax and hemp seed oils and seeds. All are valuable for the prevention of arthritis because of their anti-inflammatory characteristics. Arthritis patients showed major clinical improvement when supplementing their diets with cod liver oil, which may also reduce the inflammatory process.
Also strongly recommended for arthritic conditions are the whole or juiced goji and/or acai berries, and Noni juice, which is especially good for counteracting excess inflammation and for strong antioxidant action. Pomegranate fruit extracts have been shown to block enzymes that contribute to cartilage degradation, especially in cases of osteoarthritis.
As mentioned above, arthritis sufferers commonly have high levels of acidity, which increases the potential for developing inflammatory conditions. Reduce your intake of acid-forming foods and increase intake of alkaline-forming foods to decrease acidity. (See our pH section for detailed information, at home testing, and diet protocols.) The most acid-forming foods are sugar, alcohol, vinegar, coffee, meat, trans fats and dairy products. Foods known to increase the alkalinity of the body include all vegetables, especially large amounts of fresh raw leafy salad greens, kale, chard, collards, aloe vera, and green power powder foods, such as chlorella, algae, barley grass, wheat grass, parsley, and alfalfa.
Undergo testing for potential food allergies and sensitivities and avoid those foods to which you test positive. Consider a rotation diet or elimination diet in order to further reduce the likelihood of food allergies.
Nutrition and diet are key players in the healing and elimination of imbalance and disease. For a complete, nutrition packed, whole foods eating plan, read the Whole Foods Diet. You can print out these full articles for easy reference.
The Raw Food Diet - The raw food diet is a food plan that can have great benefits. After a few months of following our recommended basic whole foods diet, one can then transition into a high level raw or 100% raw food diet, as desired. This diet is composed of raw and live foods only, and includes a wide selection of raw fruits, vegetables, soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds and sea vegetables, in a wide variety of creative combinations. If choosing a raw food plan, we highly recommend daily consumption of fresh green juices, made from an array of green vegetables, such as celery, romaine lettuce, spinach, carrot, kale, parsley, with an ever rotating seasonal selection of other organic veggies. Daily salad meals, dehydrated flax crackers, seed and nut pates, blended soups, smoothies and marinated vegetable salads, often mixed with soaked sea vegetables are the base for the raw diet. Since little to no cooked food is consumed, a raw diet has the advantage of instant elimination of many common allergens. No cooked wheat, wheat byproducts or grains (generally) are consumed, and very little, if any, dairy products. Raw foodists may include small quantities of dairy, typically as cultured raw goat or sheep's milk yogurt or kefir, usually homemade (these products can occasionally be found online or from local sources).
Raw food generates rapid results because of its ability to thoroughly detoxify and liberate your body's previously untapped energy. Dr. Gabriel Cousins, at the Tree of Life Center in Patagonia Arizona, endorses the raw food plan as the ultimate healing diet, and offers delicious 100% raw food meals at both the café and all of the healing retreats he offers.
We recommend the raw food diet for long term cleansing and detoxification. Eating primarily raw food for three to twelve months can be an incredible experience to help increase energy, detoxify your body, support you in letting go of long time food addictions, and throughout your diet you will naturally be a major sponsor for organic produce. Most of us eat a variety of addictive foods, from sugar to pasta. The addictive nature of these foods is often overlooked, even in the healthiest of food plans. When eating raw, these items are automatically eliminated, hence freeing up energy the body can use to heal.
What is important to note when choosing a raw food diet is the issue of trade-offs. You might miss cooked foods, though you will not miss your disease, and more times than not the raw food diet is an incredible tool that can be used to help shift serious health challenges into greater health and well being.
Environmental Medicine: Allergy and allergy-like sensitivities are often factors that contribute to the painful symptoms in arthritic patients. Theron G. Randolph, M.D., and the founder of environmental medicine, discovered the link between arthritis and allergic reactions to environmental chemicals and foods. His research with over 1,000 arthritis patients found commonly eaten foods, especially nightshade vegetables, as well as chemical substances (ranging from natural gas, auto exhaust, paints, perfume, and hair spray to insecticides, tobacco, and tobacco smoke) caused many of his patients' symptoms.
Additional research has found that foods, chemicals, grasses, pollen, molds, and other airborne substances caused allergic reactions in the joints of nearly 85% of the arthritics in one study. Food additives, as well as foreign invaders like protozoa, bacteria, yeast, and fungus, can also trigger or aggravate arthritic symptoms.
Although any food can theoretically trigger an allergic reaction in an individual, this list includes the most common food allergens of arthritis patients: dairy products, beef, wheat, yeast (both baker's and brewers), eggs, chocolate, oranges, sugar, nuts (especially peanuts), corn, green or yellow wax beans, and nightshade vegetables (eggplants, Irish potatoes, green and red peppers, paprika, tomatoes and tobacco).
All arthritis patients should be tested for food allergies. Once you have identified the foods you are allergic to, the next step is to eliminate them from your diet. Initially, you should completely refrain from eating all allergenic foods for 60-90 days. After this period, you can begin to slowly reintroduce them into your diet. You should also vary the foods that you eat on a daily basis to avoid developing new allergies.
Cleansing and Detoxification can help arthritis patients reverse the accumulation of toxins that otherwise promote the destruction of joint tissues and contribute to other degenerative conditions. Many methods of detoxification are currently available, including colon and bowel cleansing therapies, kidney and gallbladder flushes, physical medicine, and homeopathic remedies. Related therapies for detoxification incorporate bodywork, lymphatic drainage, aromatherapy, antioxidant defense support, and nutrient and herbal support to bolster the organs of detoxification.
Fasting is another detoxification strategy used to reduce allergic reactions and the corresponding arthritic symptoms. During a fast, a patient typically eats only high-nutrient soup broths, purified water, and/or vegetable juices. Following this type of protocol under an alternative doctor's care for several weeks can prove very helpful, and decreases the number of immune complexes (the substances formed when antibodies attach to antigens) circulating in the blood.
Exercise and Physical Therapy: Isometric exercises, stretching, and yoga can help ease arthritis pain.
Herbal Medicine: Lignum vitae (Guiacum officinale and Guiacum sanctum) is a tree native to South Florida, the Caribbean, and South America. The gum of this tree, guaia-gum, contains therapeutic resins and oils used as a pain reliever for arthritis, rheumatism, and gout.
Other recommended herbs include licorice and alfalfa.
Juice Therapy: For treating osteoarthritis, the following juice combinations are recommended: celery juice during the acute inflammatory stage; followed by carrot, celery, and cabbage juice; or carrot, beet, and cucumber.
Microcurrent Therapy: Devices that produce low-level electrical current in a form that is compatible with the body, such as the TENS unit, may help to reduce swelling, spasms, and increase muscle flexibility. Most alternative health clinics employ some form of electrotherapy for pain control; this may include, though is not limited to microcurrent therapy, pain eliminator technology, or TENS unit.
Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin C can help repair and maintain healthy connective tissue, and is essential for collagen production and the maintenance of joint lining.
Vitamins A, B1, B6, E, and niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) have also proven effective in treating and preventing arthritis. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, considered to be both a vitamin and a hormone. It controls the absorption of calcium and phosphorus used in bone formation.
Cartilage-building supplements provide the raw materials to rebuild damaged cartilage and stop the unnecessary destruction of healthy cells. Glucosamine sulfate supplementation can be especially effective in helping reversing arthritis. Glucosamine plays an integral part in stimulating the production of connective tissue and new cartilage growth essential to the repair of arthritis damage.
In a study in Milan, Italy, 80 osteoarthritis patients treated with glucoasamine sulfate experienced reduction in pain, tenderness, and overall symptoms. Examination of cartilage samples from the patients treated with glucosamine sulfate shared many structural aspects of healthy cartilage. The researchers concluded that glucosamine sulfate rebuilt damaged cartilage, thereby reducing pain and other symptoms. Chondroitin sulfate is another supplement, often taken in conjunction with glucosamine, which seems to protect joints from breaking down.
Calcium and magnesium (in the form of citrate for both of these nutrients) are also vital nutrients in the fight against arthritis. Calcium is essential for bone, joint, muscle, and ligament health, while magnesium is necessary for calcium's proper incorporation into bone, by preventing a buildup of calcium in the soft tissues and joints. Most people, though, consume too much calcium and not enough magnesium. High protein diets, which are common for many Americans, contain a lot of phosphorus, which binds up magnesium and makes it unavailable for the body's use.
Boron helps maintain bone and joint function and activates the metabolism of vitamin D. Low levels of boron in the soil - and thus in foods grown in that soil - have been linked in many countries to increased osteoarthritis levels. Boron supplementation helps to reduce the excretion of calcium and magnesium, both important minerals in bone structure and muscle function.
Cetyl myristoleate, a rare anti-arthritis substance now created synthetically, acts as a lubricant for joints and muscles and has anti-inflammatory effects.
Sulfur-containing compounds are used by the body to regenerate cartilage cells, maintain cellular functions, and produce the peptide L-glutathione, which is an antioxidant and is used by the liver to process toxins. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is a natural substance produced by the human body. In one double-blind study, SAMe reduced pain in osteoarthritis patients as effectively as the drug ibuprofen, and produced fewer side effects.
Alternative Professional Care
The following therapies are recommended for treating osteoarthritis: Acupressure, Acupuncture, Bodywork, Chiropractic, Craniosacral Therapy, Energy Medicine (electrodermal screening), Enzyme Therapy, Magentic Field Therapy, Mind/Body Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Orthomolecular Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Prolotherapy, Qigong, Reflexology, Tai chi, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Printable Action Plan:
Quick Action Plan for Osteoarthritis
- To increase joint mobility and protect joints from further damage, flaxseeds, fish oils, and Boswellia are recommended
- Oil massages are beneficial. Dissolve camphor and mint in vodka or unroasted sesame oil and apply externally. Lemon oil or marjoram oil (undiluted or mixed with sesame or olive oil) can also be rubbed into the affected joints.
- A regimen of breathing patterns, flexing of the joints of the hands, feet, and elbows, and yoga positions can improve symptoms.
- Osteoarthritis is directly related to skeletal and postural difficulties. Bodywork can alter postural difficulties. Massage and Rolfing programs are highly recommended.
- Estimates show that 95% of osteoarthritic cases also have misaligned vertebrae. A combination of acupuncture with chiropractic is a common approach for treating osteoarthritis.
- Eliminate dairy products, fatty meats, caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol, tobacco, and all refined sugars. Replace processed sugars with alternative natural sweeteners or naturally sweet fruits. A diet rich in an abundant selection of fresh vegetables, and a wide variety of sweet and non-sweet fruits, nuts, and whole grains is recommended.
- Hydrogenated fats and trans-fatty acids can directly contribute to inflammation and the destruction of joint tissues. Read all food labels and do not buy or eat food that contains partially hydrogenated oils, canola oil or any artificial, chemically generated fats.
- Whole or juiced goji and/or acai berries, and Noni juice. Pomegranate fruit extracts are especially effective in cases of osteoarthritis.
- Read the pH section.
- Test for food and environmental allergies and avoid all foods and substances to which you are allergic.
- Cleansing and Detoxification including colon and bowel cleansing therapies, fasting, kidney and gallbladder flushes, physical medicine, and homeopathic remedies.
- Microcurrent Therapy devices such as the TENS unit, may help to reduce swelling, spasms, and increase muscle flexibility. 13. For treating and preventing arthritis, supplement with vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, boron, and niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3), cetyl myristoleate, and glucosamine sulfate supplementation in conjunction with chondroitin sulfate and SAMe.