I was just visiting at home over this past Thanksgiving break, helping out, and doing Active Release Techniques® (ART) on the hands of my highly active grandmother of 85 years young, and chatting about her issues with Rheumatoid Arthritis, commonly called, “R.A.”. For those of you who are not aware, R.A. is an autoimmune condition. Unfortunately the immune system goes after and attacks its own tissues, and in regards to this condition, the joints. The immune system recognizes the cells and tissue as an invader, and is constantly attacking certain joints of the body more then others. In the long run this ends of triggering chronic inflammation in the body, which equals pain surrounding the joints usually.
The most common form of “standard medical treatment”, our nemesis, is prednisone, BOO… In the short run this drug can definitely reduce pain, but acts more like a bandage. There are also many bad side affects in regards to using prednisone for the long run as well. Many of those side affects have been made very well aware of to the general public over the past few years, including weakening the immune system.
What if we were to think outside of the box for a little bit? Just bare with me here… Don’t you think it would be a good idea to understand where this autoimmune condition is coming from? Can you even guess? What are the more advanced and validated medical researchers these days saying where many, if not most conditions are coming from? The gut, obviously! With all of the research out there now on R.A., it is showing a huge connection between the two.
Many of you may be familiar with “Leaky Gut Syndrome”, and if you are not, it is a condition in the digestive tract where these tiny holes are created. Factors such as poor diet and poor environmental conditions cause these little holes where the intestines are supposed to be so tightly bound together. Bad bacteria then can freely travel and enter into the bloodstream, not good! There are paragraphs in much greater detail about “Leaky Gut”, but this part isn’t to bore you, or more realistically, overwhelm you. Bottom line, these factors weaken the immune system, and this is what can also lead to a multitude of food sensitivities that everyone is now talking about, and everyone now seems to have.
In regards to the use of prednisone to treat R.A., this drug also weakens the immune system as stated above. This drug may help control the level of pain, but doesn’t it really now seem counter intuitive to use?
I was discussing with my grandmother about eating a “whole foods” diet, and trying to stay away from processed food, which she does for the most part. How do you think she has made it this far and remained in such amazing shape? I was also talking to her about common food sensitivities that many people seem to have; gluten, dairy, and refined sugar! Trying to remove these things from your diet is a huge key factor in regards to any inflammatory condition, autoimmune or not.
In regards to taking supplements, there are a few natural products that could be of great help as well. Taking a high strain good quality probiotic (everyone and their mom should be taking this) to help increase good bacteria levels in the gut, and taking ~5,000mg of L-glutamine daily to help with healing your gut lining. Taking in more good quality fats, like a fish oil, to help decrease inflammation through out the entire body. Some other supplements worth mentioning and taking if contending with R.A. would be high potency curcumin, MSM, and glucosamine sulphate.
I know this a lot of information, and unfortunately there is no “quick and easy fix” when dealing with an autoimmune condition such as R.A. That is why people are so quick to turn to prednisone for pain relief. Unfortunately, much of the population is not well educated in regards to what an autoimmune disease is, and what terrible side affects drugs such as prednisone can have on the body. I feel it is my job as a chiropractor to help educate my patients to the best of my ability so we can all lead a healthier and happier life.
In closing and as a side note, if you are dealing with R.A., chiropractic treatment and ART® have proven to help provide a lot of relief when dealing with chronic inflammation and pain surrounding the joints. The goal is also to remain active. Joints are meant to move, so KEEP MOVING! Should you have any questions, always feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Happiest and healthiest of holidays to you all, cheers!