Dr. Michele Imossi - Chiropractic Physician
Arthritis Relief - Naturally

by Dr. Michele Imossi
Are your aching joints really just old age? If so then why doesn’t everyone your age have the same pain and why does only one knee hurt?  The most likely cause of your chronic joint pain is degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis, commonly known as arthritis.  Football players often become riddled with it in their twenties and thirties, while some lucky individuals in their seventies have very little of it. Arthritis has everything to do with the injuries of your life. These include major injuries such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, work injuries and sports injuries, as well as repetitive microtraumas at work or at play.  Even excessive sitting, driving and obesity can promote arthritis.  In degenerative arthritis, the cartilage, which normally serves to cushion the joints, becomes worn-out, damaged, and hardened, and bone spurs begin to form around the area.    Early symptoms of arthritis include morning pain and stiffness. The weight-bearing joints and the joints of the hands are most commonly affected. As arthritis progresses, patients report pain that is worsened by prolonged activity and inclement weather and relieved by rest and warmth.   Arthritis patients are frequently given the choice of living with the pain or taking arthritis medication for the rest of their lives.  However, your doctor will admit that arthritis won’t kill you, but the medicine for it can. The truth is that arthritis medication doesn’t actually treat the disease; it just masks the pain while the arthritic process continues. Arthritis medication is simply pain medication, or anti-inflammatory medication, and while it may be helpful in the short term, taken over long periods of time, these medications can be damaging to the kidneys, liver, stomach and cardiovascular system. Most common arthritis medications are in the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and include: aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.   In addition to inhibiting the body’s inflammatory process, they also inhibit many other normal and essential body functions leading them to actually accelerate the cartilage damage!  Plus, pain is the body’s way of telling us that damage is occurring, and by masking the pain, patients are allowed to perform activities that will further damage their joints.   Fortunately, there is another way.  Countless arthritis patients have found relief following the 3 simple, natural steps outlined below:
      1.) Align the joint: Just as your car’s tires wear out quicker if the car’s front end is misaligned, so will your body wear out quicker if you are out of alignment.  If a joint is not moving properly or if the weight of the body is unequally distributed, arthritis is promoted.  Restoring normal biomechanics to the affected joints is crucial to fighting arthritis.  Adjusting and mobilizing the joint can realign it, break up soft tissue restrictions and restore joint motion. Motion is life. Once you avoid moving a joint due to pain, the arthritis process hastens.  Balancing the body may even include something like putting a heel lift in a shoe so that the pelvis is level - allowing both feet, knees and hips to bear equal weight.   
     2.) Nourish the Joint:  I call glucosamine the “fountain of youth for the joints.”  Glucosamine is a building block of cartilage.  It actually works to repair damaged cartilage and reverse arthritis.  Glucosamine sulfate is naturally derived from shrimp and crab shells. Glucosamine HCl is a vegetarian option for those who have shellfish allergies. I advise my patients to supplement with 1,000 – 3,000 mg of glucosamine per day, depending on the severity of their symptoms.  Most patients report an improvement of arthritis symptoms within 4 weeks.  I also recommend supplementing with fish oil as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids (1,500mg – 2,000mg EPA/DHA Omega 3s/day). Omega-3s are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can help stop arthritis pain and progression, while also promoting the health and vitality of the rest of the body.  That is the beauty of natural medicine. By treating the cause of disease, the whole body is strengthened – resulting in positive side effects elsewhere in the body!
     3.)  Move the Joint:  During the arthritic process, the body is working towards fusing a joint.  By keeping the joint moving, you are fighting arthritis. Non-weight bearing and low-impact exercise, such as swimming, is ideal. It is easier on the joints to move in the water, yet it is much harder on the muscles. In the water, the muscles that support the joints are strengthened, while the joints themselves are finally able to move throughout their range of motion without pain. Any time a joint is moved, it is nourished and adhesions can be broken.  Yoga, stretching, biking, walking, and elliptical machines are all beneficial. 
If you don’t move it, you lose it!