ARTHRITIS OR JOINT PAIN
by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© September 2014, The Center For Development, Inc.
Joint problems such as arthritis are one of the major causes of disability around the world. The joints are one of the most delicate structures in the human body and, in many people, they take a lot of punishment. They must be rebuilt continuously to offset the constant wear and tear that occurs, especially on the weight-bearing joints of the body.
In most cases, medical doctors do not address the deeper causes of arthritis, but simply prescribe pain killers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS that have terrible side effects. This further worsens a personÕs health in many cases. In contrast, nutritional balancing science allows us to often identify the causes of joint problems and usually to correct the problem at very deep levels.
TYPES OF ARTHRITIS
Arthritis is classified in medicine as either osteoarthritis, which usually involves the deposition of calcium in the joints to some degree. Another common type is rheumatoid arthritis, which is a more deforming condition that may come and go with flare-ups and even migrate from joint to joint. Other less common types are traumatic arthritis, which is the result of an accident or injury, and infectious arthritis, which is caused by tuberculosis or some other type of infection.
Arthritis may also occur as part of other conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, adrenal exhaustion and other syndromes.
Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is a difficult condition in some cases. Research indicates that parasitic infection plays a role in some cases. This is evidenced by a favorable response to anti-parasitic drugs such as metronidazole (Flagyl) in some, but certainly not all cases. The problem with this therapy is the drug is highly toxic to the liver.
Hair mineral analyses indicate that copper and often iron are in excess with this condition. Other infections may also play a role.
BASIC CAUSES OF ARTHRITIS
These may be divided into mechanical, biochemical and other causes. Mechanical causes include the result of physical traumas or accidents, misalignments or subluxations of the joints, or perhaps problems with the ligaments and tendons that affect the joints.
Biochemical causes include factors such as nutrient deficiencies, toxins in the joints such as iron and manganese, deposits of other minerals such as calcium or copper, generalized inflammation in the body that affects the joints, or a tendency for tissue breakdown or catabolism that affects the joints.
Biological causes might be the presence of infections or parasites that infect the joint surfaces. Stress and psychological factors occasionally play an important role in joint problems as well, mainly by influencing body chemistry. If one suspects mechanical misalignment of the spine or other bones as a cause, which is common, this will require the services of those trained in correcting spinal and other misalignments. The remainder of this article concerns biochemical, nutritional and related causes for arthritis that are often easy to identify on a hair mineral analysis and are often correctable using nutritional balancing science.
IDENTIFYING CAUSES OF ARTHRITIS
A properly performed and correctly interpreted hair mineral analysis can assess more than a dozen causes for arthritis. The following are the most important indicators on a hair mineral analysis for various causes for arthritis.
1. Elevated calcium level. A hair tissue calcium level above about 70 mg% may indicate the deposition of calcium or other minerals in the joints. This is associated with a phenomenon called biounvailable calcium. See the Calcium article for more information about this cause for arthritis.
2. Copper imbalance. Copper is an anti-inflammatory nutrient that often is associated with arthritic changes when it is out of balance. This is a very common finding today. See the Copper Toxicity Syndrome for more information.
3. An elevated sodium/potassium ratio. A hair sodium/potassium ratio that is above 5 often indicates excessive inflammatory hormones or some other cause of inflammation. It may also indicate acute stress, which may cause arthritic changes as well.
4. Low adrenal and/or thyroid activity. Low levels of sodium and potassium in relation to the calcium and magnesium levels in the hair is a pattern called slow oxidation. One can read more about this pattern, which is extremely important for arthritis. It is associated with copper toxicity, reduced adrenal hormone secretion at times, thyroid difficulties and other imbalances that often cause joint pain and arthritis.
5. A fast oxidation rate. Fast oxidation is an important inflammation pattern on a hair mineral analysis. For much more information, please read The Oxidation Types on this site.
6. Excessive tissue breakdown. A ratio of sodium to potassium less than about 2:1 or a phosphorus level less than 13 mg% are associated with excessive protein catabolism or breakdown of body tissues. This can affect any tissue or organ, but often affects some joints, particularly weight-bearing ones.
7. Elevated hair iron, manganese, copper, lead or other toxic metals. These can contribute or directly cause arthritic problems by several mechanisms: 1) they may deposit directly in the joints, 2) they affect the levels of vital minerals, causing deficiencies of essential nutrients that ,in turn, affect the joints, 3) they cause an inflammatory response, or 4) they may replace vital minerals in key enzymes needed for joint surface repair and activity.
An extremely important cause of arthritis is the deposition of the amigos in the joints. These are highly inflammatory, usually oxide forms of iron, manganese and aluminum, and at times other metals. To learn about this important cause of arthritis, please read The Amigos - Iron, Manganese And Aluminum on this website.
8. Fatigue. Many indicators on a hair tissue mineral analysis are associated with reduced levels of adaptive energy in the body. This indirectly contributes to some cases of arthritis because the body cannot maintain the joints properly.
9. Sympathetic dominance pattern. This is another common pattern seen with arthritis and other joint complaints. It is indicated on a hair mineral analysis by a potassium level less than 5 mg% and the pattern is reinforced when the sodium/potassium ratio is elevated above 5:1.
Sympathetic dominance is a personality or lifestyle pattern in which a person tends to overuse the sympathetic nervous system. This system is not designed to be used except in emergencies for short periods of time. When one uses it most of the time, it weakens the body substantially by interfering with digestion, rest, elimination and other vital functions. This can easily lead to joint and many other physical problems. For more information about this, see the article entitled Sympathetic Dominance Pattern.
10. A calcium/magnesium ratio greater than about 10. This imbalance is associated with carbohydrate overload in the diet, which can cause joint problems as well. It is also associated with a calcium and magnesium imbalance that can cause calcium to come out of solution from the blood and be deposited in the joints and other tissues.
11. An acidic condition of the body. This is usually due to a deficiency of the alkaline reserve minerals, and this is extremely common.
12. Poor eliminator patterns on a hair mineral test. Very low hair levels of toxic metals, and of iron, copper, manganese and chromium indicate that a person cannot properly eliminate these toxic metals or toxic forms of physiological minerals. This can be another cause for joint pain.
13. Three highs or four highs pattern. This is another inflammation indicator on a hair mineral analysis.
14. Low hair zinc, or elevated hair cadmium. These are also associated with inflammation.
15. An acidic condition of the body. This is usually due to a deficiency of the alkaline reserve minerals, and this is extremely common. For more on this, please read Acid/Alkaline Balance on this website.
16. Emotional causes. Holding on to anger, and perhaps other emotional states, can contribute to arthritis. This is known in psychosomatic medicine.
Indicators for anger on a hair mineral analysis include an elevated sodium/potassium ratio (more acute anger or rage), a low sodium/potassium ratio (resentment), elevated iron or manganese (it often settles in the amygdala or rage center of the brain), poor eliminator patterns with iron or manganese (buildup due to impaired elimination of these metals), and possibly a fast or very slow oxidation rate.
CORRECTING JOINT PROBLEMS WITH NUTRITIONAL BALANCING
General. Eliminating refined starches, white sugar and other 'junk' food helps reduce chemicals in the diet and increases nutrient levels. Better quality foods must be substituted for poorer quality refined foods. Eating many more cooked, NOT RAW, vegetables is very helpful. These are needed to provide more alkaline reserve minerals.
Sugars and Yeast. Sugars in the diet can lead to intractable yeast infections. This may occur without specific symptoms except for aches and pains, in some people. It is well worth eliminating most sugars, including fruit, juices, maple syrup, honey, and even artificial sweeteners where possible. Eliminating refined sugars is impossible without cutting out refined and processed foods. Sugars also unbalance calcium metabolism, stimulate insulin release and increase inflammation, and have other detrimental effects on the body that directly cause joint pain in some people.
Food Sensitivities. Some cases of arthritis are helped by eliminating allergic foods. The most common culprits are wheat and soy. In fact, I suggest everyone eliminate all wheat and soy products from the diet. Some people need to eliminate other foods, at least temporarily. The change of diet alone can make a huge difference, as it removes the stress of eating nutritionally deficient or allergic foods.
Gluten Intolerance. Many people with arthritis are temporarily gluten intolerant. They feel better without wheat, spelt, oats, barley, and rye. Unfortunately, these foods are found in most processed and prepared items served in restaurants, bars and elsewhere. So it takes vigilance to learn how to avoid them.
As with all food sensitivities, the goal is to enable one to tolerate some of these so the lifestyle need not be so restrictive. However, for a while gluten avoidance is an excellent and simple way to assist digestion, heal the intestines and often reduce some joint pain.
The nightshade family of vegetables. These vegetables and fruits are harmful for everyone, and often cause joint pain in sensitive people. They include all regular potatoes, (though some sweet potato and yam is fine), tomatoes (all types), eggplant, and peppers, including red pepper, green peppers and all hot chiles, as well.
Omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids are extremely anti-inflammatory and often help reduce joint pain. Most people need more of them, due to the way livestock are fed today, among other reasons. An excellent source is sardines, provided that one eats 3-4 cans weekly. Some other fish such as salmon and tuna contain these oils, but they also contain too much mercury. For this reason, I do not recommend eating any fish except sardines. This is very unfortunate, and I hope we can reduce the mercury level in our oceans and streams. One can also take a supplement of about 900 mg omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil.
Vitamin D. This is another anti-inflammatory vitamin that can be very helpful for the joints. Most people need to take a supplement of 4000-5000 iu daily. One cannot rely on sunshine or other methods to get enough vitamin D today.
Eating Habits. Relaxing at mealtime, eating slowly and chewing thoroughly also help one receive more nourishment from food, and this promotes better digestion, as well. Taking a digestive enzyme with ox bile and pancreatin is also helpful for most people. Other digestive enzymes are not quite as good, in my experience.
Always sit at least 10 minutes after eating before resuming daily activities. Resting for longer after a big meal is even better.
Rest. Joint pain will usually become worse if one is tired. It is also sometimes more acute in the morning because the adrenal glands are exhausted and need more rest to function correctly. Most people need 10 hours of sleep. It is also best to go to bed by 9 PM, because the hours before midnight offer better rest than those after midnight.
Exercise And Deep Breathing. Gentle exercise a few times per week is excellent. Too much exercise, especially jogging, or anything that is hard on the joints, is not helpful and can cause traumatic arthritis.
Deep breathing exercises, such as abdominal breathing, helps oxygenate the body, improves circulation, massages the organs and more.
Emotional Clearing. Emotional control, mental training, meditation, emotional clearing methods such as biofeedback, counseling and others can help reduce inflammation in the body. This is important in some cases of arthritis, especially those with a strong emotional component.
Other Therapies. Quality chiropractic care can be extremely helpful for arthritis that is due to misalignment of the spine, hips, knees and even the ankles and feet. This type of problem is quite common, in fact.
At times, other therapies are needed, such as Rolfing or structural integration. These are completely compatible with a nutritional balancing program.
A Nutritional Balancing Program Using Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. In addition to a healthful diet and lifestyle, most people require specific, individualized nutritional therapy to restore and balance the body chemistry. A complete nutritional balancing program includes a diet for oneÕs metabolic type, about 8 or 9 carefully chosen nutritional supplements, and a healthful lifestyle. It also includes detoxification procedures using sauna therapy and coffee enemas, if possible, and mental/emotional training using the Roy Masters meditation exercise.
Sauna therapy often helpful. Daily use of a near infrared lamp sauna up to twice daily dramatically enhances circulation to the joints. Joints have a relatively poor blood supply which contributes to the deposition of toxic substances in the joints. Also, infections are more difficult to heal in tissues with poor circulation.
The heat of the sauna also helps the body fight chronic infections and relaxes tendons and ligaments. In addition, near infrared light itself appears to be very beneficial for healing of the joints. Saunas also powerfully activate the organs of elimination. This is necessary to help carry away toxins that have accumulated over years, in many cases. An electric light sauna can be built inexpensively at home, or purchased inexpensively. Click here for more information about saunas.
When Will I Become Well? Many cases of arthritis respond within weeks to lifestyle and dietary changes, along with a nutritional supplement program based on a properly performed hair mineral analysis. If the situation is chronic, months or even several years may be needed to fully restore joint cartilages.
SYMPTOMATIC THERAPY FOR ARTHRITIS
Symptomatic treatments for arthritis can relieve pain and increase mobility. They are rarely needed if one follows a nutritional balancing program. Most symptomatic approaches actually delay deeper healing, and many unbalance the body and add more toxins to the body. However, at times they are needed for a short while until deeper correction occurs.
Drug Therapy For Arthritis. Drug therapy for arthritic pain is a multi-billion dollar business that not only does not cure the problem in most cases, but makes it worse in many cases by allowing the degenerative process to progress, and by causing untold disability and death due to the adverse effects of the drugs themselves. The side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs causes at least 100,000 hospitalizations each year and some 10,000 deaths, according to official AMA figures. The actual figures are probably even higher as many adverse effects are often not reported. The chronic use of pain killers is now the leading cause of liver and kidney failure in the United States and perhaps in Europe.
Steroid Drugs. Steroid drugs include cortisone, prednisone and similar products. These are probably the worst, if used over a long period of time. They tend to cause adrenal gland depletion, fatigue, bone loss and osteoporosis, and more problems. They are powerful, however, and can stop pain in a few minutes in some cases. Do not be misled into thinking this means they are the best option for you.
Steroids can be injected into a joint and provide temporary relief. At times, it will last a few months or more. This is safer than taking the drug orally for a prolonged period of time. Steroid creams are also safer than oral use, but can cause skin problems and more.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS). These drugs, which include Motrin, Ibuprophen, Aleve, Aspirin, Excedrin and a hundred other similar compounds, all tend to cause gastric or stomach bleeding, kidney and liver disease and more problems. They are inexpensive and available everywhere. However, use them only as a last resort and sparingly, if you must use them at all.
Try nutritional products first, and use all possible natural remedies before becoming dependent on any of these drugs. These drugs should be unnecessary if you do this.
Surgery (joint replacement). In some ways, surgery is better than chronic self-medication with dangerous anti-inflammatory drugs. However, surgery brings its own set of complications, such as joint dysfunction, infections, high cost, perhaps a need for more surgery, adhesions and possible complications, including death. Always consult at least two physicians, or better yet, several doctors, regarding the side effects of surgery or other medical interventions.
Prolotherapy. This is an interesting remedy for a few joint problems. It involves injecting a sclerosing solution, often sugar, into the joint. This can shorten certain ligaments, tightening the joint and preventing further problems. It is quite specific for certain problems of cartilage thinning, however. One must find a qualified orthopedic doctor for this procedure, which is safer than surgery if it is effective.
Symptomatic nutritional remedies. Symptomatic remedies can help some joint pain, although results are not as permanent or as good as with a complete nutritional program. A natural anti-inflammatory remedy is Wobenzym-N, a powerful enzyme preparation with minimal side effects. One must take a number of tablets between meals, but it is quite effective. Anti-inflammatory nutrients include omega-3 oils such as fish oil, cod liver oil, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Dietary remedies include eliminating all citrus fruits and, as mentioned above, the nightshade family of vegetables - potato, tomato, eggplant and peppers. Any food can cause a reaction in some individuals.
Oxygen therapies such as ozone, hyperbaric oxygen and hydrogen peroxide can improve oxygenation of cells and remove free oxygen radicals that damage joint tissues. Colloidal silver and anti-infective herbs may also be useful if an infection is the cause of the problem. Shining a single reddish heat lamp on the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time several times daily may also some reduce joint pain.
While symptomatic remedies have a place in a few cases, I find the best results will be obtained with a more integrated and individualized approach such as nutritional balancing science. This can get to the root of many causes and eliminate them completely, though it may take longer to work than the simple remedies above.
Nutritional research reveals at least 10 causes for arthritis. Natural therapies can end most cases of arthritis, including even stubborn ones. Sometimes a simple natural remedy is effective. A better approach is a precise, individualized nutritional balancing program with changes in the diet, lifestyle and other aspects of oneÕs life to identify and correct the underlying causes of arthritis.