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Getting a Hold on Arthritis

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 5:22 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Rheumatoid arthritis jointAt first, your fingers are stiff and painful. Then, it moves to your wrists, your knees. Eventually, it feels like your entire body is one, giant ache. Your favorite activities are increasingly more difficult to do, if you can do them at all. You feel weak, debilitated, old. You have arthritis, and it seems that nothing could be more frustrating. Unless, of course, you had skin cancer too. Recent studies have found that patients on Remicade or Enbrel, common rheumatoid-arthritis medications, have a slightly higher risk of developing skin cancer.  While doctors say that the risk does not outweigh the benefits of such medications, the fact that it exists at all is enough to send an arthritis sufferer, such as you, searching for alternative treatments.

Your first stop is probably the drugstore, where you pick up a common anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or aspirin. However while these medications are effective and have been proven to decrease arthritis pain, the long term consequences of taking them are damaging. They can cause stomach irritation and, eventually, gastrointestinal complications. That’s not exactly what you were looking for when you opted to avoid a skin cancer risk. So instead, turn to nature.  Ginger, turmeric, flaxseed, omega-3 fatty acid and thunder god vine are all thought to relieve  rheumatoid arthritis pain, without the nasty side effects. The only problem is that it can take weeks for the herbs to start working their magic. So, what should you do in the meantime?

Well, it’s not necessarily what you should do in the meantime but what you should do in general. To ease arthritis pain, experts recommend a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats and low in omega-6 fatty acids and partially hydrogenated fats. So steer clear of stick margarines, fried foods, chips and store-bought baked goods. Opt instead for fish, nuts, soy, avocados and fruits and vegetables. That type of diet will help you keep the pain to a minimum, so will exercise. If you work the muscles around your stiff joints, you can improve your function and quality of life. Try squeezing exercise balls or laying your hand flat, palm-up on the table and bending each finger in, one at a time. But, don’t push too hard. Be aware of your body; if you’re experiencing a flare up, take it easy and give the joints a rest.  Above all though, communicate with your doctor. Talk with him about the benefits and drawbacks of all types of treatments. He knows what he’s talking about, and he may have some ideas you never would have thought of, such as massage or acupuncture.  Arthritis shouldn’t end your life and neither should the treatments.

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