November 29, 2012
Once considered the "disease of kings" and wealthy aristocrats, gout is becoming a much more common problem throughout the western world today. Gout is a painful condition caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the body's soft tissues and joints. Recurrent bouts of gout can lead to "gouty arthritis," which is a degenerative type of chronic arthritis. Like all forms of arthritis, pain management is uppermost in the minds of health practitioners, and chiropractic treatment for gout is centered around non-invasive, drug-free therapies.
According to the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) gout affects upwards of 3.9 percent of the American population, and hyperuricemia (an excess of uric acid in the blood, which is a precursor to gout) affect 21.5 percent. The typical western lifestyle is blamed for the increased incidence of the disease, as gout is triggered by a diet that includes a lot of alcohol, meat and shellfish. Some common medications may also contribute to gouty arthritis. Individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, or those who are obese are at greater risk of contracting the disease.
The pain and inflammation from gout is caused when the kidneys are unable to remove enough of the uric acid that is formed as a result of the metabolism of purines, which are a compound commonly found in many high-protein foods. The uric acid buildup causes the formation of sharp, needle-like crystals, which are deposited in the soft tissues surrounding the joints, causing pain, swelling, heat and redness. Although gout can affect any joint, most initial attacks of gout occur in the lower extremities, particularly in the joint of the big toe.
The most common approach to treating gout is to prescribe medications, anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids to manage pain. While this may work on a short-term basis, it may also cause unwanted side effects. In contrast, the chiropractic treatment of gout usually involves a combination of advice about diet and lifestyle changes along with chiropractic manipulation to reduce pain and address the cause of the disease without the use of drugs.
Your Fremont chiropractor will likely advise that you reduce your intake of meat and alcohol and increase your intake of foods that have been shown to lower the concentration of uric acid in the blood, such as cherries. Half a pound of cherries per day is the recommended amount to eat if you are looking to lower uric acid levels. However, you can also drink concentrated cherry juice or take cherry juice extract to achieve the same results if cherries are out of season or eating that many is not to your taste. Quercetin, a flavonoid found in such foods as apples, berries and onions, inhibits the production of uric acid, so your chiropractor may also suggest that you include more of these in your diet as well. Herbs that support kidney function (like couch grass) may also be recommended, since they may help your kidneys work more efficiently to clear the blood of excess uric acid.
In combination with these, your chiropractor in Fremont may perform adjustments or manipulations using heat and/or ultrasound to help bring the body back into alignment and relieve pain.
March 23, 2011
Millions of people in the United States and around the world suffer from all types of arthritis including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. For those who suffer from this disease it can be very painful and debilitating. Many sufferers in fact have a hard time even doing simple things like buttoning their shirt or combing their hair. Because of this there are many people around the world who try to find relief or a cure for arthritis whether naturally or by medication.
There are a few exercises that can help improve the patient’s pain symptoms, but some exercises can actually make it worse. The reason is that some exercises could result trauma for the arthritic area, inflaming it even more. But, if you do the right exercises you would be able to reduce the swelling as well as slow down the progression of the problem. In addition, medication is made available to reduce the swelling and inflammation, but many patients would prefer a natural alternative.
If you suffer from arthritis you might consider trying different yoga exercises. Yoga is one of the most beneficial and stress reducing type of exercises. Not only do they have tremendous benefits in reducing trauma in your body, but they also increase the flow of blood and nutrients throughout your body. Because of this it has been known to help those sufferers of arthritic conditions.
There are many different types of yoga exercises. The best thing about yoga is that it does not require you to overextend your muscles and or ligaments, thus it builds stamina and resilience in your body. These yoga exercises help reduce the pain due to arthritis and also reduce stress.
Weight management is another reason why a lot of people turn to yoga. Interestingly, arthritis can be amplified because of pressure we are giving to our body, especially on the arthritic joints. By implementing yoga exercises into your routine, you get the added benefit of reducing weight while also reducing the symptoms of arthritis. Yoga has become a recommended solution by many doctors to help with overall arthritis pain management.
June 3, 2009
No other medical professional is quite as associated with overall physical wellness as the chiropractor. Granted, in unlearned circles the work is still referred to as “bone cracking” yet this kind of thinking is quickly dying out, especially now that chiropractic care is entering the mainstream. It is not surprising that more and more patients flock to chiropractors, at least that is what we have seen at our Union City Chiropractic Care office, since many insurance companies now recognize them as primary care physicians and will cover their visits. In the past it was an uphill battle to have a chiropractors’ visit covered by any health insurance company, yet in light of the indisputable advances of chiropractic care, the methodology involved of curing the whole patient, and the fact that the education of practitioners is above dispute made it easy for these breakthroughs to occur.
Of course, with these privileges also come responsibilities, and quite a few practitioners who only yesterday saw only the occasional patient in search of alternative healing suddenly find themselves facing full waiting rooms. For many this requires a shift in thinking since suddenly they are no longer sought out by those who favor alternative medicine but instead they are now becoming members of a team that is often comprised of internists, orthopedic practitioners, and a host of others who are all looking after one patient. Our Union City chiropractors now see that promoting wellness through chiropractic care involves not only treating the patient but also keeping the other members of the team informed as to progress made, assessments found, and changes in general health or complaints the patient may have. Conversely, if one of our Union City chiropractors is chosen as a primary care physician by a patient, this will involve long hours pouring over charts and reviewing information sent over to the office by other physicians.
As part of a team, the patient will also expect our Union City chiropractor to refer them to another doctor for blood work and other testing as needed, and it is no longer considered to be out of form for a chiropractor to do so. The ultimate goal is of course the overall health of the patient, and this is to be achieved in the most natural way possible with as little medication as is indicated. In some cases this might require a chiropractor to educate a patient who is searching for overall health in alternative medicine but may be dubious about the idea of also dealing with the established forms of medicine. As such, a chiropractor will need to weigh limitations of treatment, time spent on alternative methodology, and also the ability of the patient to follow a strict regimen of nutrition and exercise which you may have prescribed as part of the healing process. Thus, a chiropractor promotes wellness not just through treatment of the individual patient, but also through education of the patient and the idea of involving her or him in the process that will lead to wellness. For some the latter might be a new experience, especially if thus far they have only been on the receiving end of shots and pills, rather than actual holistic care.
March 30, 2009
photo credit: dvanhorn
Tens of millions of people in the U.S. suffer from arthritis. This disease comes in two basic categories. Osteoarthritis is a condition described as a simple wearing out of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition which affects the immune system.
Osteoarthritis is a good news, bad news condition. While it typically gets worse with time, it does not progress as rapidly or painfully as rheumatoid arthritis. Currently, there are no pharmaceutical treatments. All your doctor can do is prescribe a pain killer. On the other hand, there are medications available for rheumatoid arthritis that can slow progress of the disease, as well as pain killers to ease those painful joints.
In both cases, conventional medicine does not offer much, besides some relief of pain. However, you can make use of time-tested natural remedies for arthritis that can actually improve your condition and reduce the need for pain medications. It’s also easy to integrate these foods and herbs into your daily routine.
Bing cherries are a terrific anti-inflammatory. Fresh cherries in season work best, but canned cherries will still offer significant help.
Capsaicin creams are one of the most useful of the natural remedies for arthritis when used as a topical on the affected areas. During cold and damp weather, you’ll find substantial relief from pain and inflammation. The effect can be enhanced by wearing nylon gloves and socks, which help hold the heat.
Turmeric, taken in capsules or prepared in curry dishes is a marvelous addition to your natural remedies for arthritis, that is found to be as effective as cortisone in alleviating symptoms of both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Additional benefits include improvements in digestion, reduction of cholesterol and lowers blood sugar, a boon for diabetics.
Alfalfa is another inexpensive and time tested of the natural remedies for arthritis. The best form is the dried powdered leaves. You can buy this at health food stores in capsules. Alfalfa is packed with nutrients and is good for respiratory problems too.
Next in our lineup of natural remedies for arthritis is the Omega-3 fatty acids, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, found in fish. Sardines, salmon, tuna and herring contain high quantities of the Omega-3′s. Alternatively, you can take gel caps from the health food store. As a bonus, taking this supplement reduces your risk of heart problems, reduces bad cholesterol while raising the good cholesterol.
One especially tasty spice in your repertoire of natural remedies for arthritis is ginger. Ginger is anti-inflammatory. Make a habit of drinking ginger tea three times a day. Ginger is also beneficial to your heart health.
You’ve probably heard of Evening Primrose oil, but did you know that this plant oil is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents discovered to date? Several double-blind studies have demonstrated that the pain experienced by arthritis sufferers was typically reduced by 50%!
If you put all of these natural remedies for arthritis to work for you, you’ll be feeling better soon.
For more information on arthritis treatments, contact Dr. Hans Freericks at 510-797-4796 for Fremont residents. For Union City, contact Dr. Hans at 510-324-0100.
January 16, 2009
At last count, some 70 million people in the U.S., or almost 1 in 4 of us, are afflicted with arthritis. Whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, it’s generally a painful deal. It’s no wonder many sufferers look for arthritis therapy. Most people with arthritis find that the cold months are most painful. Stiff, painful and swollen joints are the norm, which isn’t conducive to most forms of exercise. While exercise can actually improve the patient’s condition, it’s somewhat of a catch-22. Most exercise programs are simply too painful, resulting in – you guessed it – the patient dropping out of the program. There are medications available for people with rheumatoid arthritis which can slow down the progression of the disease. Osteoarthritis sufferers may be prescribed anti-inflammatory meds or pain killers, but that’s about the extent of what can be done in treating arthritis medically.
If you suffer from either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, consider taking a yoga class for your exercise regimen. As many arthritis patients can attest, you’ll realize effective, long term benefits. Using yoga as an arthritis therapy can help prevent and treat some of the accompanying conditions, such as fibromyalgia and loss of muscle tone and strength, while increasing your energy level.
Formal investigations of the benefits of using yoga exercises to treat arthritis are fairly recent, but the studies which have been conducted are most promising. Patients report significant improvement in joint structure and mobility, as well as feeling more vigorous with an improved sense of well being in general.
Unlike more traditional forms of exercise, such as walking, jogging or a simple workout, yoga does not place stress on the joints, doesn’t tax your strength, or result in more pain. In fact, yoga does just the opposite. In addition, yoga offers psychological benefits, as a stress management tool, which perhaps explains the reports of an improved sense of general well being. Stress management is an especially important bonus. When you use yoga therapy in treating arthritis, you reduce stress in a number of ways which serve to reduce pain. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, yoga alone can slow progression of your condition. So it’s no wonder that arthritis patients find this a fun and enjoyable activity they want to continue.
Yoga classes typically begin in a seated position, with slow breathing exercises designed to bring your body to a relaxed state. These exercises are followed up with slow, easy stretching movements, which improves circulation. Your yoga instructor will probably include some balancing exercises, as well as standing or lying poses, all of which improves mobility and muscle tone. Mantras, or short chants of certain sounds, are additional techniques of yoga, which are employed throughout the session, helping you to fully relax and focus. Short periods of meditation are also interspersed during each class period. By the time class ends, you’ll have tossed your worries aside and have a newly acquired calm, all without pain!
Weight management is important in treating arthritis, and yoga can help. Within three months of starting a yoga class, meeting just a few times each week, you’ll feel like a new person, shedding a few pounds along the way. You’ll have markedly better muscle tone and suppleness, in terms of joint mobility, while enjoying a significant reduction in pain.
Choosing yoga for the exercise portion of treating arthritis is perhaps the perfect solution. With the evidence mounting in its favor, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
If you would like more information on natural arthritis therapy and even how chiropractic can help, please contact our Fremont chiropractic health office.