All About Arthritis: Great Tips to Heal
Did you know that a lack of bacterial diversity is called Dysbiosis and is associated with various forms of arthritis and other autoimmune diseases?
Arthritis is not a single disease, but a term referring to various conditions of joint pain or joint diseases. Arthritis affects people of all ages, genders, and race and is the leading cause of disability in America as more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis.
There are actually over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions.
The most common types include:
-rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
-psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
The Gut and Arthritis
My mom had Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), but before she had RA she had a lot of digestive issues. Now we know that gut issues lead to autoimmune issues. I know that RA is a genetic disease but that doesn’t mean I will have it. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissue causing chronic inflammation. This form of arthritis affects more than joints as it can also damage other systems of the body such as the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
The actual cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown. However, genetics is thought to play a part (although genes don't actually cause the disease, genes can make you more susceptible to environmental factors — such as infection with certain viruses and bacteria — that may trigger the disease).
Symptoms of RA
The disease typically starts in small joints such as fingers and toes and progresses to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders.
Symptoms generally occur in the same joints on both sides of the body and include:
-Tender, warm, swollen joints
-Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis, is the most common form of arthritis. Cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that supports smooth joint motion. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time leaving bone rubbing on bone. Osteoarthritis can damage any joint in the body, however, joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine are more frequently affected.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Common symptoms which develop over a long period of time:
-pain in the joint during movement
-joint tenderness when pressure is applied
-stiffness following periods of inactivity
-loss of range of motion
-grating sensation with use of joint
-bone spurs can form around the affected joint
I see this type of arthritis every day in my office. Some patients hurt more than others. Pain is commonly associated with the loss of cartilage causing bone to rub against bone. However, there are other conditions which may cause pain. Bone micro-fractures occur when cartilage is lost placing stress on the bone resulting in bone bruises or tiny fractures. Osteophytes, or bone spurs, are small bony growths that can occur on the sides of joints.
Joints are lined with a membrane or liquid called synovial fluid to help joints move smoothly. When this lining becomes inflamed, too much fluid can build up leading to synovitis. Joint pain often leads to being more inactivity which leads to muscle weakness. Weak muscles will place additional stress on joints. Ligaments are bands of tissue connecting bones together. Damage to ligaments is also common with osteoarthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects some people who have psoriasis. The abnormal immune response leads to inflammation in the joints in addition to overproduction of skin cells.
Genetic and environmental factors play a role in development of the condition as certain genetic markers have been identified which are associated with psoriatic arthritis. (A viral or bacterial infection may trigger psoriatic arthritis in people with an inherited tendency!)
Symptoms can worsen over time with alternating periods when symptoms go into remission and worsen. Symptoms often resemble rheumatoid arthritis but can affect with both sides or just one side of the body.
Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis, but it does not cause body-wide inflammation. Gout can be characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints (most often the joint at the base of the big toe).
Gout results from the accumulation of urate crystals when the body produces too much uric acid or cannot remove excess fast enough. Uric acid is a product from the breakdown of purines which are found in foods such as steak, organ meats, seafood, and alcoholic beverages.
Uric acid normally dissolves in blood and passes through the kidneys to be excreted through urine. When this process is disrupted, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling.
Symptoms of Gout
Symptoms occur suddenly often at night and include:
-intense joint pain usually in the big toe, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers
-pain is most severe within the first 12 hours, however discomfort can last for up to weeks later
-inflammation or redness in the affected joints
-limited range of motion
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease where inflammation can affect many different body systems including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. Lupus most likely develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The cause in most cases in unknown, however, triggers include:
Lupus symptoms mimic other ailments, making it difficult to diagnosis, and no two cases are exactly alike. The most common signs include:
-Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
-Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
-Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
-Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud's phenomenon)
-Shortness of breath
-Headaches, confusion, and memory loss
Functional Medicine and Arthritis
Functional medicine looks beyond symptoms to uncover and reveal the root cause. Thankfully, research has found a link between gut health and arthritis and most studies examining the role of gut health in joint pain center around autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and lupus.
Conventional treatment relies largely on pain-relieving, nonsteroidal, anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which disrupt gut microbiome even further.
A plethora of scientific literature connects gut health and joint pain and reveals a strong association between altered intestinal microbiomes and various arthritis types.
Some studies have found depleted levels of Haemophilus species of bacteria and an overabundance of Lactobacillus salivarius. Inflammation can be aggravated by the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria or a lack of immune-modulating commensal bacteria. Other studies report to finding high levels of a bacterium called Prevotella copri and low levels of a genus of bacteria called Bifidobacterium.
The Gut Microbiome
A microbiome is the dynamic collection of microbes (bacteria) in an ecosystem, in this instance, the gut. (The human body hosts a variety of different ecosystems called microbiomes. The gut microbiome refers to bacteria living along the entire digestive tract, which ranges from the mouth to the anus, most of which are located in the intestines.)
Gut bacteria serves a variety of purposes:
-Aid the immune system
-Breakdown nutrients for absorption
-Regulate chemicals that communicate with the brain which affect mood, memory, and sleep
-Regulate hormones to keep the body properly balanced
There are approximately over 400 species of bacteria in your system that make up your gut microbiome. (Did you know that a lack of bacterial diversity is called Dysbiosis and is associated with various forms of arthritis and other autoimmune diseases?)
While every person has a unique gut microbiome, the general population shares some commonalities. In fact, across nations, populations show varying gut microbiomes, for example, people living in the United States are notably different than the gut microbiomes of people living in China!
Did you know that newborns inherit their microbiome from mothers at birth?
When the ‘bad’ bacteria outnumber the ‘good’ the result is dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can occur at any stage of life and can occur suddenly or over time. Sudden imbalances are usually the result of an infection or use of antibiotics, whereas diet, medications, alcohol use, and smoking can create an imbalance over time.
Testing for dysbiosis is not a standard practice for conventional medical practices. However, testing gut bacteria is usually one of the first steps when working with a functional medicine professional. Dysbiosis is typically diagnosed by testing fecal samples.
Common symptoms of gut dysbiosis include:
- Frequent gas, bloating, belching
- Loose stools, diarrhea, constipation
- Acid reflux
- Unexplained weight gain and/or difficult weight loss
- Irritable bowel syndrome / Irritable bowel disease
- Anxiety, depression and/or frequent low mood
- Halitosis (chronic bad breath)
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- Skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis)
- Low energy and chronic fatigue
- Diagnosis of an autoimmune condition (such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or rheumatoid arthritis)
- Allergies and food sensitivities
- Chronic yeast or fungal infections
How to Heal Your Gut
To heal the gut, it is necessary to regain proper bacteria balance as beneficial bacteria needs to be restored while problematic bacteria needs to be reduced. When doing so, improving diet and reducing chronic stress are key factors to consider.
Stress can cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal system and make you more susceptible to infection. It’s important to find ways to reduce stress when healing dysbiosis. The key is to find an activity you enjoy. Dance and deep breathing techniques are great for stress relief! I have written many articles about stress relief
Also keep in mind that the food we eat has the power to heal or destroy gut bacteria.
Avoid added sugars as sugar feeds yeast. Sugar goes by many names, look out for: cane sugar, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, and glucose. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, can also negatively influence bacteria in the gut. Natural sweeteners should also be avoided in the initial stages of gut healing! Refined grains also breakdown into sugar and can feed yeast and other bacteria. Stay away!
It’s recommended that 70% of the diet comes from vegetables as they contain different types of fiber to feed beneficial bacteria in the gut. Foods to eat more of include:
-lightly steamed vegetables
-healthy fats (fatty fish, avocado, coconut oil)
-fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir)
Chronic inflammation is one of the major causes of pain associated with arthritis. In fact, a number of foods have been found to increase the body’s inflammatory response and should be avoided:
-Vegetable oils found in mayonnaise, salad dressings, barbecue sauce, crackers, bread, potato chips
-Refined flour, usually listed as enriched flour
-Processed meats, bacon, hot dogs, bologna, sausage, jerky
-Trans fats, usually found in margarine/shortening; baked goods like doughnuts, cookies, and muffins; non-dairy coffee creamers; frozen pizza; frosting
Detoxing is a great way to rid the body of toxins that are responsible for the inflammatory condition associated with arthritis. Poor circulation in the joints can occur with arthritic conditions which can cause the areas to become clogged with organic waste and toxins. Thankfully, drinking plenty of pure water can help flush out accumulated waste.
For an extra boost, try drinking warm water with fresh lemon juice which works to fight inflammation. In fact, regular consumption of lemon water can improve digestion, detox the gallbladder, and boost the liver.
Also try to add healing teas to your daily routine. Try this amazing herbal tea recipe:
-grated ginger root
-1 tsp. turmeric
-some fresh Peppermint leaves
-2 cups pure water
Boil the water and let the ingredients steep for at least 5 minutes before drinking. Functional medicine programs usually incorporate a plan for detoxification as metabolic detoxification provides nutritional support to facilitate the body’s natural pathways involved in the processing and excretion of toxins.
Ginger root is known to improve joint pain and reduce inflammation for people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The potential anti-arthritic effects of turmeric include inhibition of joint inflammation, reduction in edema and/or swelling and slowed periarticular joint destruction.
Massage this oil directly into painful areas to help reduce inflammation.
Comfrey can be added to topical creams to help with pain for arthritis.
Add to stir-fries or make a decoction for this powerful anti-inflammatory herb.
Stinging nettle is an amazing herb for all types of arthritis and gout. It has anti-inflammatory benefits plus it’s packed with minerals (boron, calcium, magnesium and silicon) to ease pain while helping to build strong bones.
Licorice can decrease free radicals at the site of inflammation and inhibit inflammatory enzyme production.
Detox plans are best when personalized by your functional medicine physician but if you would like to do a challenge with me you can.
Order your simple Clear Change® 10-Day Program and join the Challenge with us at https://cweaver.metagenics.com/clear-change-10-day-program-with-ultraclear-renew and enter promo code "detox20" to get 20% off.
The Clear Change® 10-Day Program is designed to enhance the body’s natural metabolic detoxification process while providing adequate fuel for both cleansing and other daily activities—providing energy and support for overall well-being.
This is ideal for anyone wanting to benefit from an occasional “Spring Cleaning”!
Our office team will be starting our group detox on January 19th!
Join the detox with us and post on our exclusive Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/382639405839519/ to get entered into the surprise raffles! Click the link above to request to be added to the group.
Once again, if you ever need any additional guidance or support, don’t hesitate to reach out!
I am deeply passionate about helping people become the very best versions of themselves. If you need any additional information, help, or questions answered, please email me at email@example.com.
If you want more healthy tips you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/drcorinneweaver. Like and comment on my channel so I will know what tips and topics you want to know about. I am forming a community of people who want to take action in their own health with my social media channels and I want to know what health topics you want to hear.
I hope my column speaks to you and you can wake up each morning with a purpose. What I do every day is a calling, and I give God the glory for allowing His gifts to work through me. I do believe in miracles, because I get to see them every day! For more information you can go to www.nomoremedsmovement.com and sign up for my closed Facebook group #NoMoreMeds-Community for more healthy tips.
Dr. Corinne Weaver
Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.
Dr. Weaver was recently named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds.
Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.