I Have Arthritis...Can You Still Help Me?
There’s a lot of misconception about arthritis and what your options are if you have a diagnosis. Most people think that it's a life sentence that's only going to decline as you get older. This is true, but only if you let it happen. Whilst there is no cure for arthritis, there are many things you can do to help manage your symptoms that don't involve relying on painkillers, so that you can continue to enjoy a happy and healthy life.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis and they all affect the body in slightly different ways, but it usually presents as joint pain, stiffness and swelling. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting around 9 million people in the UK. It affects the smooth cartilage that lines the inner surfaces of joints, so when it becomes damaged it can eventually lead to the bones becoming exposed and rubbing on each other. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common, affecting around 400,000 people. It is an autoimmune disorder, causing the body's immune system to attack the outer lining of the joint known as the synovium. Some other common types of arthritis include ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia, lupus, gout, psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis, and reactive arthritis.
As inflammation plays a big role in the symptoms of arthritis, it makes sense that doing things to help reduce inflammation can help relieve some of those symptoms. The use of ice is well known as a way of doing so, as the temperature causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to the area. Dietary changes can also help reduce inflammation. Eating lots of processed food, sugar and alcohol can lead to increased inflammation levels within the body. By including more fruit and vegetables, fatty fish, and spices such as tumeric in your diet you can help to naturally reduce inflammation levels as the antioxidants within these foods help reduce the levels of free radicals in the body.
Managing your stress levels can also help reduce inflammation. When we are stressed, our brain triggers the fight or flight response in order to protect us from harm. Whilst this is fantastic for short term stress, it becomes an issue when we are exposed to it for long periods. It leads to increased production of adrenaline and cortisol, both of which are pro-inflammatory chemicals, meaning the level of inflammation in your body is increased, and eventually leading to increased pain. By doing activities such as yoga and meditation and making sure you're sleeping well, you can help control your stress levels and help to break this vicious cycle.
Another way to reduce inflammation within the body is to get adjusted regularly. Adjustments have a number of effects on the body, but one of those is to reduce the production of neuropeptides and cytokines, as both substances promote an inflammatory response in the body. They also work by helping to switch on certain areas of the brain. Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognitive control, meaning it deals with reasoning, impulse control, and problem solving amongst other things. When we are stressed, either from an external factor like work or home life, or an internal factor such as increased inflammation, the prefrontal cortex switches off. Adjustments work by switching on the prefrontal cortex, which in turn leads to fight or flight mode being stopped and us entering the opposite state known as rest and digest, where all normal bodily processes return to normal. This can help to break that vicious cycle of inflammation, and our body can function well again.
If you or someone you know suffers with arthritis and is looking for another option that doesn't involve the reliance of painkillers, why not book in for a free discovery visit and find out exactly what we can do to help you get back to feeling good again.