The main treatment goals for arthritis are to prevent additional impairment and deterioration of the joints and to reduce pain and inflammation.
Treatment of arthritis includes finding a balance between rest and activity. Not enough rest is harmful, just as too much rest can cause increased stiffness of the joints.
Moderate exercise can increase flexibility and range-of-motion and also help to reduce weight. Too much weight can place an extra burden on the joints and aggravate arthritis.
More than 20 percent of U.S. adults have arthritis and more than a third of them have limited activity because of it, according to the CDC. Close to a third of people who are obese - more than 31 percent - have a diagnosis of arthritis and women are more likely to have arthritis than men. Only 16 percent of people who are of normal weight or underweight have arthritis.
Herbs can also play a role in the treatment of arthritis. Herbs often use the same biochemical pathways as other pain relievers. They may not act as quickly in the beginning, but they have quite a variety of positive effects.
The herb, Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), for example, contains up to 10-percent silica, an organic form of the mineral silicon. Silicon is required for development of connective tissue such as bones, cartilage, and the membranes around joints. It is also essential for calcium absorption, which is important for bone density. It is necessary to the proper function of the enzyme prolyhydroxylase, which supports formation of collagen in bone, cartilage, and connective tissue. Horsetail also contains calcium and trace minerals and is supportive for people with osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes the membranes around the joints, which hold lubricating fluid, to deteriorate. Osteoporosis occurs when bone tissue becomes porous and brittle and breaks easily. The important tissues in bone and joint diseases are connective tissues. This includes bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and membranes. An important component of all connective tissue is a substance called collagen, which keeps it strong.
The mineral Boron enhances the body�s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium. Boron is a trace mineral that according to research can significantly improve osteoarthritis. Boron is an essential factor in the development of bone and cartilage. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled five-year trial, half the patients taking boron reported a definite improvement in their symptoms - including a reduction in pain and swelling and increased movement -- compared with one tenth of the control group (J Nutr Med 1990; 1: 127-32).
Turmeric, the spice that is predominately used in curry powder, is used for various medicinal conditions including arthritis, wound healing, skin infections, liver and urinary tract diseases and as a blood purifier. The major constituent of turmeric is curcumin. Arthritis patients given curcumin showed a significant improvement in morning stiffness, walking time and reduction in joint swelling. An additional side benefit is anticancer properties and tumor suppression. Biological Basis for the Use of Botanicals in Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Review, Ahmed S, Anuntiyo J, Malemud CJ, Haqqi TM. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2005 Sep; 2(3): 301-308.
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