Arthritis” is often used as a wastebasket term; it seems to hold everything, and may be inappropriate to describe what is wrong.  This statement is misused and misunderstood by the public.  Even doctors sometimes used the term too much and too loosely. 

Let’s consider the term “arthritis” and what it means.  The word comes from the Greek “arthron” meaning joint and “itis,” a word termination denoting inflammation; thus, “arthritis” means inflammation of a joint.

Inflammation can be a very mild or a very severe process.  In the true meaning of the term “arthritis,” the condition is present if a joint is strained and inflammation follows.  That certainly does not mean that it’s incurable; yet the common misunderstanding of arthritis is that it is an incurable condition that has to be controlled with pain medication such as aspirin.

Using medication to override the pain allows the condition to remain the same and possibly worsen.  It is much better to determine exactly what caused the problem and correct that cause, if possible.  Many people have an unrealistic attitude toward pain; they consider it an enemy when, in reality, pain is often a friend.  Pain is the body’s alarm system, telling us when something is wrong.  In most cases, functional pain can be eliminated as the body’s function is returned to normal by natural health care approaches.  This is true with many types of arthritis.

The important factor with arthritis is to define the type present.  Many types of arthritis respond favorably to treatment; some can only be managed effectively and then only if the condition is treated before severe damage develops.  All too often when a doctor diagnoses arthritis, the patient ceases all efforts to obtain correction and resorts to pain pill override because “Everyone knows arthritis is incurable.  I’ll just have to live with it.”  This is an unfortunate, erroneous thought.

When true arthritis is present, it is usually one of three major types, Osteoarthritis, Gouty arthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is generally considered the “wear and tear” type of arthritis.  It usually develops from the fifth decade of life on and is most commonly found in the weight bearing joints of the body, such as hands, knees and hips.  It is not the type of arthritis that migrates from joint to joint.

Because osteoarthritis is correlated with strain to joints, it is important to maintain weight at a recommended level, taking strain off the weight bearing joints.  You can see why a knee under constant strain from poor muscular support is more susceptible to osteoarthritis.  Postural balance

is very important because the joints of the spine are frequent sites of osteoarthritis.

Although osteoarthritis is commonly associated with mechanical strain to joints, there is a correlation with specific metabolic or nutritional deficiencies that cause a weakening of the joint surfaces and make them vulnerable to wear and tear.  Protein deficiency has been indicated as a causative factor in osteoarthritis.  This does not necessarily mean that an individual lacks protein in his/her diet; it could mean that the body fails to absorb and use the protein.  Clues that protein may not be digested properly include gas after a meal, brittle and cracking fingernails and poor quality hair and skin.

Long-term osteoarthritis is characterized by additional calcium buildup in the joints, with possible spurs formed around the joints.  Calcium use in the body is a very complex subject.  Dietary change and /or nutritional supplementation may be necessary to improve its absorption and utilization.  This nutritional change is required because there are different ways that calcium is used in the body, and it must be properly balanced with other minerals.

An interesting correlation has been made in the treatment of osteoarthritis with applied kinesiology principles.  In an effort to stop the condition’s progress, the joint structure is balanced with muscle-balancing techniques and manipulation.  The pain is completely relieved although the joint structure still appears damaged.

Rheumatoid Arthritis begins to affect people earlier in life than osteoarthritis. Often the first appearance of rheumatoid arthritis is after a severe infection or some other form of stress.  Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that is progressive throughout the body and can migrate from joint to joint and may cause joint deformities.  For this reason it is also know as “arthritis deformans.”

Ineffective adrenal function appears to have some causative background in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.  Improved adrenal cortex function aids the control of rheumatoid arthritis.  The adrenal cortex manufactures anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory hormones that help control inflammatory processes.  Ideally, it is better to obtain excellent adrenal gland function to provide the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory balance of hormones to help regulate inflammatory processes.  When the adrenal glands are exhausted and incapable of handling all their functions, it is important to eliminate the stresses (physical, chemical, emotional and thermal) which affect adrenal gland function. 

With rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to have adequate protein intake and digestion.  The calcium level must be in proper ratio with other body minerals. These factors are important in regulating the inflammatory attack of rheumatoid arthritis. 

Gouty arthritis Gout is present in males much more often than in females.  Approximately 95% of gout sufferers are male.  Some researchers blame gout on a high level of uric acid, which is a substance generally eliminated from the body by the kidneys.  

Gout is considered a chronic lifetime disease once it is present.  If not kept under control, it has severe, acute manifestations.  An individual can have an attack of gout that requires bed rest. It is extremely painful.

In applied kinesiology, gout is treated by closely evaluating the entire body and its systems for dysfunction. In some cases the kidneys are involved.  When this occurs, uric acid is not adequately eliminated.  Sometimes the bowel is sluggish and its action must be improved.  Research findings have shown that good intestinal bacteria help control gout.  Diet is also very important in gouty arthritis.  The applied kinesiologist may find some deficiencies in this area, indicating a need for improved protein digestion, a decrease of purines in the diet, or some other change that may include nutritional supplementation.

The bottom line in arthritic conditions is to determine exactly what is taking place and eliminate the causative factors.  This makes more sense than overriding the discomfort with pain medication.  Many people with arthritis can obtain correction of the condition and lead happy, healthy lives.