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    Natracure Blog — joint pain

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    8 Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Do you have a painful ankle or elbow that you simply think “acts up” from time to time? Or do you have other pain that you’ve been chalking up to “normal soreness”? The truth is, you may be ignoring signs of something much more serious, like Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Unfortunately RA signs are often ignored only because people are unaware of what to look for. Let’s take a look at 8 different Rheumatoid Arthritis signs to watch out for.   1. Injuries That Won’t Heal It is common for athletes and active people to shrug off and minimize their injuries. However, pain from an injury that won’t go away is one tell-tale sign of RA. Many people have multiple surgeries and undergo physical therapy on specific body parts—hoping to eliminate their pain. Little do they know, they may actually be suffering from something more chronic: RA.   2. Frequent Foot Pain It might be more than your tight shoes that are making your feet hurt. Many people attribute most or all of their foot pain to “being on their feet all day” or to wearing the wrong footwear. But the chronic pain in your feet could actually be due to inflammation caused by RA.   3. Dry-Eye Trouble Another risk associated with RA is a disease called Sjorgens syndrome—an autoimmune disorder that affects areas of the face including eyes, mouth, throat, or nose. This is due to inflammation. And it causes glands to stop releasing moisture, which causes dryness. If you have dry eyes, consult with your eye doctor and be sure to also discuss symptoms with other body parts. This is often the best way to identify RA early.   4. Numbness or Tingling in the Hands Have you ever hit your knee or elbow and had it go numb for a moment? If you frequently experience that same sensation in your hands, you may have RA. This is because one of the symptoms of the disease is carpal tunnel syndrome. The tingling effect is directly related to swelling within the arm which compresses nerves traveling to the hand. Doctors may diagnose this as just a case of carpal tunnel syndrome if you do not let them know of any other RA symptoms you have.   5. Frequent Joint Pain One of the biggest signs of RA is achy joint pain. Unfortunately, it is probably the most commonly ignored. Folks are quick to assume their joint pain is caused by overuse or that it is osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis. So how do you know when it might be RA? Keep an eye out for joint pain that is not only frequent and prominent, but also effects multiple joints simultaneously. For example, it can affect the knees and elbows at the same time!   6. Formation of Nodules Nodules appear near affected joints and are characterized as lumps that grow underneath the skin. They are common on the back of the elbow but have been reported in the eyes as well. Although nodules are more common in later stages of RA, they have been seen in earlier cases.   7. Morning Tightness Stiffness in the joints is a side effect of both osteoarthritis and RA. The key difference here is that, with osteoarthritis, after a long night of sleep, pain subsides in about a half hour. However, morning stiffness from RA can take hours to decrease.   8. Locked Joints With physically active individuals, locked joints are commonly mistaken for serious muscle tears. However, locked joints are another common side effect of RA. Inflammation and swelling of tendons around the joint can cause it to not bend easily, or at all. This can lead to cysts forming behind the joint that will further inhibit motion.   If you are experiencing a few of these symptoms, it will be in your best interest to go to the doctor for testing. It’s easy to mistake many of these symptoms as something less serious. So try to stay open-minded. Think you may have RA? Not to worry. There are millions of people living with RA and you can too. Start by getting checked out. And the sooner the better.   By Pat DeRiso Sources: health.com, healthline.com, mayoclinic.org    

    8 Herbal Remedies to Ease Joint Pain

    Healing Herbs In Glass Bottles, Herbal MedicineLook in your kitchen cupboard, your fridge, or even outside on your lawn. You’ll find plants, herbs, and spices with healing properties. Throughout the ages, people in every culture have taken herbs to stay healthy and heal ailments, in the same way we sip mint tea to aid digestion, or garlic to ward off colds today. In Hippocrates’ time, herbs were the official medicines. Herbs have vital nutrients and many are antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. Today many of the pharmaceutical drugs we use have their origins in natural plants, and we can still take advantage of these natural forms of medicine without a doctor’s prescription. (Note: Some herbs interfere with some medications, and not all herbs are good for everyone. Please consult a qualified health practitioner before adding herbs to your health regimen. This article is not meant to be a prescription, but is for informational purposes only. ) 1. Willow Bark White willow bark dates back thousands of years, to the time of Hippocrates when patients were advised to chew on the bark to reduce fever and inflammation. White willow bark contains salicin, a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and in the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin. Combined with the herb's powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds called flavonoids, salicin is thought to be responsible for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. The University of Maryland Medical center reports that “willow bark shows promise in relieving osteoarthritis-related joint pain, particularly in the knees, back, hips, and neck. Several studies show that willow is more effective at reducing pain from osteoarthritis than placebo.” You can take white willow bark in tea or in tablet form. 2. Cayenne pepper Open your cupboard, and you may find a spice that you can eat or apply locally to reduce joint pain. Spicy-hot cayenne contains the active ingredient capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot. When you apply it to your skin, it tricks your brain by mildly irritating your skin along the nerve pathways where pain signals travel. This distracts your brain from the true source of pain. In a University of Oxford study, nearly 40 percent of arthritis patients reduced their pain by half after using a topical capsaicin cream for a month, and 60 percent of neuropathy patients achieved the same results after 2 months. You can also find ready-made ointments in health food stores and drug stores. To make your own topical homemade remedy, mix 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper with 1/2 cup of cocoa butter or coconut oil. Apply it directly to the sore joint. When you use it regularly, this mixture should reduce arthritis pain. However, it can cause skin irritation, so don’t overdo it. 3. Stinging nettles Stinging NettleA traditional treatment, stinging nettles is an herbal tonic with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. It stimulates circulation and gets the blood flowing to the extremities. Components in nettle’s leaves are thought to enhance the response of the immune system, and also contain biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. These effects make nettles a good tea for reducing joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and rheumatism. You can make a tea from the dried herb or the fresh leaves, and drink it hot or cold. You can also soak a compress in the cold tea to apply to painful joints. 4. Boswellia Boswellia has been used for centuries in Asia and Africa to treat inflammation and pain. Today it is praised by alternative health practitioners for its anti-inflammatory properties. Also known as Indian Frankincense, this herbal extract from the boswellia serrate tree is thought to work by blocking leukotrienes, which are substances that can attack healthy joints in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Available in tablets or topical creams, this herbal remedy may be useful in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Check with your doctor first, especially if you are taking other pain medications to treat inflammation, as it may interact with or decrease the effects of other medications.  5. Turmeric TurmericsWhen you eat Indian food, you’re eating one of nature’s most potent healers, curcumin. Turmeric is a yellow-orange powder used in cooking to make curry. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and has been used in China and India for thousands of years as both a food and a medicine. Now modern research is showing turmeric to be one of nature's most powerful healers. Methodist Research Institute in Indianapolis reports a “significant anti-inflammatory action. Curcumin eases inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis”. You can buy curcumin inexpensively as a cooking spice and add it to almost any cooked food such as vegetables and meats, and even to salad dressing. To get the optimal effects for joint pain, it’s best to get it from a supplement. 6. Ginger Fresh gingerGinger warms and comforts your body, and increases blood flow to cleanse toxins and promote healing. Ginger is a staple in many alternative medicine cabinets because the compounds that give ginger its strong flavor are also the ones with anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has a good reputation as a remedy for arthritis, rheumatism, and osteoporosis. In one study, Indian researchers gave three to seven grams of ginger a day to 18 people with osteoarthritis and 28 people with rheumatoid arthritis. More than 75 percent of those participating in the study reported at least some relief from pain and swelling. Get creative to enjoy ginger’s spicy flavor. You can grate fresh ginger into stir fries, steep ginger to make tea, and add it to salad dressings, smoothies and baking. You can also make a compress from cold ginger tea to apply to arthritic joints. 7. Arnica Arnica (Arnica montana) is a traditional homeopathic remedy with natural anti-inflammatory properties. This herb has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and is still popular today. It is commonly applied to the skin, to soothe muscle aches and reduce inflammation, especially for injuries such as sprains and bruises.  You can buy it as a cream, ointment, or salve to apply to your skin. Don’t take it orally, except as a Homeopathic remedy where you take it as pellets under the tongue, because it can cause serious side effects. 8. Licorice Pile of ground licorice with wooden shovel and licorice roots (gLicorice is a natural steroid, which means it reduces inflammation without the side effects of steroid drugs. It does this by decreasing free radicals at the site of inflammation and inhibiting the production of an enzyme involved in creating inflammation. This helps ease pain and the frequency of arthritis flare-ups. You can drink licorice in a tea, take it in a tincture, or use it in supplement form. Licorice is not for everyone. If you have high blood pressure, avoid this herb altogether. Note: Check with your health practitioner before you take any herb or supplement.

    Magnesium: The Miracle Mineral

    Magnesium for your Heart eWhat if you could reduce anxiety, sleep soundly, lower your risk of diabetes and heart attacks, relieve constipation, and feel calmer, and even reduce arthritis pain...all while using something completely natural and inexpensive? If this sounds like magic, it’s not. It comes from a miracle mineral, magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most important basic nutrients that powers our bodies. We need it for more than 300 biochemical reactions. But because of our fast-paced lifestyles and nutrient-deficient soil, it’s estimated that fewer than 20 percent of us get enough on a daily basis. The following interview is with Linda Bolton, a nursing professor of 20 years. She became an expert on magnesium after transforming her own health, and that of several family members.   1. How did you discover the benefits of magnesium? Linda Bolton: I had struggled with sleep problems, fibromyalgia and bone density issues for a long time. As a nurse, I knew magnesium was used in hospitals to treat heart attack, stroke, migraines and high blood pressure, but I never considered using it as prevention. Then one day my sister, who had suffered from severe migraines for many years, told me she tried it after a friend recommended it. The results amazed her. Her migraines were reduced from several a week, to one a month. I decided to try it too. I slept right through the very first night, and within a week, much of my muscle pain from fibromyalgia was gone. To top it off, my next medical test showed higher bone density for the first time in 10 years!   2. Why is magnesium so important for our health? Every muscle and nerve in your body relies on magnesium to function normally. This includes the biggest muscle of them all, your heart. Magnesium has a direct connection to the electrical system of your heart, keeping it beating steadily. Magnesium supports a healthy immune system. It activates Vitamin D that assimilates the calcium into your bones to help keep them strong, so it plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. Magnesium also regulates blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and helps metabolize energy and synthesize proteins. In fact, magnesium is a catalytic mineral that activates over 320 enzymatic processes so your cells can actually take in the vitamins and minerals in your food. Magnesium regulates other minerals, such as calcium, potassium and sodium. It’s like the team-work mineral, aligning itself with other nutrients to help them complete their functions.   3. What’s the connection with calcium and magnesium? It may surprise you to discover that muscle cramps are often caused by a build-up of calcium in the muscles and soft tissues of the body. Without enough magnesium to help absorb calcium, too much calcium can lead to muscle cramps, spasms and pain. Calcium tenses and excites muscles and nerves, thickens blood and creates constipation. Magnesium relaxes and calms muscles and nerves, reduces muscle cramps and relieves constipation. It’s a natural blood thinner and healthy laxative. Research shows that tension-based conditions such as pain, migraines, restless legs, muscle cramps, PMS and even day-to-day stress can be attributed to the imbalance of too little magnesium and too much calcium. That’s why you should never take calcium without magnesium, but you can take magnesium on a daily basis to make sure your food is being properly assimilated.   [caption id="attachment_151" align="alignright" width="300"]soft_drinks Soft drinks rob the body of Magnesium[/caption] Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of the Magnesium Miracle, estimates that 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. People in developed countries seem to be most deficient, for several reasons: • The foods we eat are not nearly as nutritiously dense as they used to be • The soils where our food is grown no longer have the same level of nutrients as in the past. • Many foods and drinks we choose every day actually steal magnesium from our cells. • The body is depleted of magnesium every 12 hours, so it needs constant replenishment. Calcium is everywhere. It’s added to many foods today, and builds up in our bodies. But magnesium is hard to find, and is depleted quickly, so we almost always start out ‘out of balance.’ When calcium is not in balance with magnesium, it can’t be used correctly by the body. This can lead to painful conditions such as hardening and narrowing of the arteries, gall stones, kidney stones, calcification in joints and muscles, calcium deposits in organs, muscle pain and cramps, tension and irritability. Too much of anything is not good, but too much calcium which the body is unable to excrete, is now under increasing study as the key contributor to a long list of health issues.   [caption id="attachment_152" align="alignright" width="300"]Magnesium reduces joint stiffness Magnesium can reduce joint discomfort[/caption] 5. Can magnesium help relieve joint pain from arthritis? Yes, magnesium can dramatically reduce pain by relaxing muscles and driving excess calcium out of the cells. People who suffer from chronic joint pain such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis often have abnormally low levels of magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. “Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis are linked to a magnesium deficiency, either due to low dietary intake or malabsorption problems”, says clinical nutritionist Krispin Sullivan on her website. The recommended intake of magnesium for women is between 310 and 320 milligrams per day, and for men it is 400 to 420 milligrams per day as per the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.  

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