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					Arthritis- A Friendly Chat




                             Sandra   Digitally signed by Sandra Firman
                                      DN: cn=Sandra Firman, o=Sandi's
                                      Freelance, ou,


By Sandra Firman             Firman   email=sandifirman@yahoo.ca, c=CA
                                      Date: 2009.02.17 05:16:36 -05'00'



2009
                                 Arthritis- Definitions and Types

Before we delve into the remedies for arthritis, it is important to understand the two
main types of arthritis. There are over one hundred types of arthritis but they all go
under the heading of these two main branches:

   1. Osteoarthritis
       This is my burden in life, the main type and the one most often suffered.
       Osteoarthritis means basically the degeneration of joints. Your knees and hips and
       lower back are giving out on you and the loss of mobility in these joints causes
       untold pain. If you are an athlete or an older person you most likely suffer from
       some degree of osteoarthritis. You find that your lower back aches, your knees
       hurt when you climb stairs and your hips ache if you stand or sit too long. You are
       not alone. Over 33 million people in the United States suffer from this type of
       arthritis. This condition can and does result from obesity because the wear and
       tear also results from the weight- bearing joints start to break down.
       With Osteoarthritis, the cartilage or soft bone in the joint begins to wear down. It
       had been serving as your shock absorber for many years, and protecting the joints
       from damage. As more damage to your joints occurs over time, the cartilage on the
       bones of the joint starts to wear away more and more and soon it does not work at
       all.
              The cushioning effect of the cartilage is gone and also the gel-like fluid in the
       joints. The end result is pain when you run, walk or stand for a long time. You might
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       each other. Bone spurs can develop at they end of the bones and they are very
       painful.
              If one area, such as your lower back is affected, there are several vertebrae
       affected. An x-ray of your lower back and knees will be able to detect the damage
       and to what degree each is suffering. The diagnostician will be able to pinpoint
       which S joints or Spinal joints and L joints or Lumbar will need attention, or to what
       degree you knee joints are affected. After that determination you are responsible
       for whichever treatment you opt to take, and you need to be informed. Many people
       continue to live athletic and demanding lives, you will not be compromised by
       osteoarthritis, but you will need help. And that you have to judge for yourself!
                                The Second Type of Arthritis

The second most debilitating type of arthritis is called Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is
characterized as an enduring disease that affects joints in any part of the body but most
especially the hands, wrists and knees. You may remember your grandmother or aunt with
gnarled up hands, enlarged knuckles and closed up fists. She was hardly able to lift a spoon
or a pot, but she could still cook. The only trouble is she could no longer knit, crochet or do
any fine-motor skills. The looks of the hand is the signal that rheumatism has taken over.

In this type of arthritis, the body is attacking itself, called auto-immune disease. There
were no damages or accidents to the wrist or knuckles or knees. The body is simply ganging
up on itself and causing the joints to swell up and gnarl up. The inflammation in the joints
then spreads to any surrounding tissues and can damage the cartilage or bone. In very
severe cases rheumatism can spread and do damage to the skin, eyes and nerves.

Lupus, gout and fibromyalgia are also classed under the rheumatoid arthritis branch in
which the body is attacking itself and is an auto-immune disease.

The first symptoms of any sort of arthritis are:

   x   Pain in the joint areas of the body
   x   Fatigue due to lack of beneficial sleep
   x   Aches which seem to come and go with changes in the weather
   x   Diminished capacity of active life
   x   Joints react with severe stabs of pain
   x   Lower back aches which start with early morning stiffness and reappear all day
   x   Pain reappears throughout the day with normal activity

Lupus is an agonizing auto-immune systemic disease in which the antibodies start to attack
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become involved and slowly fill the patient with agonizing pain. Gout occurs when crystals
gather in the joint, as in the knees, and make movement of any sort painful and difficult.
The knees, knuckles and toes are the most susceptible to gout. Fibromyalgia is another
type of arthritis in which the muscles surrounding the joints are affected with pain and
aches. There are 11 points that a rheumatologist checks and at least 8 of them have to
react in order to be determined as Fibromyalgia. It is often grouped together with Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome but I find that not to be the case. Pain and discomfort is the only
characteristic for me with bouts of fatigue on certain days.
                              Medical Treatment for Arthritis



Now that we have defined what arthritis is, we can discuss what the medical field will
offer you in one form or another. The doctors and rheumatologists have diagnosed the
arthritis so it their duty to follow through with a medical plan.

You might be offered an anti-inflammatory in pill form. An anti-inflammatory or NSAID is
usually very safe to take and does not interfere with any other medication you might be
taking. It is used for arthritis pain, sports injuries and headaches. It will relieve the
constant pain or ache if taken on schedule, daily and with food. The only side effects that
I am familiar with are stomach problems, so take them with food to reduce the risk of an
ulcer,

Names of NSAIDs that you might recognize are Naproxen, Celebrex and aspirin. In fact,
ordinary baby aspirin of 81 mg is also recommended for heart patients to prevent blood
clots. So in addition to relieving pain, aspirin is good for the heart in a small dose every
day. An NSAID is fine to relieve the inflammation but the pain is a different matter.

Pain relievers that can be prescribed or sold over the counter are Tylenol, Advil, Motrin,
and many others too many of which to include. These pain relievers in addition to the
NSAIDs as above would be an adequate combination to help out with the pain and aches of
arthritis.

If, however, your arthritis, or disc degeneration is so severe, and the pain unbearable, the
doctor may give you a prescription for Tylenol #3 or #4, Oxycocet or Percocet which are
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taking these on a regular basis. I take mine at night to give me a deep sleep along with
Naproxen to reduce the swelling. Also keep in mind that these are narcotics and they are
very potent. Do not leave any pills or medication within reach of a baby or youngster,
Opiates are also very habit- forming and can become a problem if you take them for a long
period of time.

In addition to medication, the doctor may request that you have sports therapy which is a
special athletic gym with equipment to reduce the weight bearing on your joints and give
your muscles a work out. Physiotherapists are trained to put you on a routine of special
equipment to take the pressure off of the joints and to reduce the inflammation. It is
wonderful to take part in the facilities and to gain some strength and agility back.
                            Alternative Methods for Arthritis

For every country, culture and ethnicity there is a cure for arthritis. We are now learning
to trust and use the alternative methods which have proven tried and true for centuries
for many races. Modern society has the majority of us run to the university trained
doctors but we do not necessarily need to choose their suggestions for a cure. I will offer
home remedies first because some of them can be made from the garden or from
household items. Bear in mind that these are for your perusal and do not promise to cure.
Once again, make sure your doctor knows what you are trying.

  1. Teas made of just about any herb or root, steeped for two minutes, drunk three
      times daily
  2. Heat apple cider vinegar, pour on a cloth and rub into the sore joints before bed
      time. Repeat through the night if necessary and once in the morning
  3. Drink hot apple cider vinegar mixed with a table spoon of liquid or solid honey, in a
      tea cup.
  4. Thinly -sliced root vegetables such as potato, beets or carrots soaked in wine. After
      one month of soaking drink the wine twice a day
  5. Put a cup of raisins in one cup of gin. When all the liquid has soaked in, take 6-8
      raisins a day.
  6. Make a hot poultice of flour, hot water, cayenne pepper and mustard powder. Mix all
      ingredients into a paste and put directly onto sore joints or onto hot, soaked
      flannelette. Place the cloth or tie around the joint.
  7. Take a colon cleansing and a liver cleansing to rid the body of all toxins which is said
      to cause arthritis
  8. Avoid all purified foods such as white sugar, flour, bread and cakes or pies
  9. Eat only whole wheat and brown sugar, entire grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
      Nothing canned or frozen. As much fresh -caught fish as possible.
  10. Use home-PDGH SHDQXW EXWWHU LI \RX DUHQ·W DOOHrgic and make cookies and use on
      toast with honey. Rub peanut butter onto joints for a few minutes
  11. If you are not allergic take a bee and sting the inflamed joint which is introducing a
      toxin into the system. It is like taking snake venom to counteract a snake bite.
      Catching the bee might be tricky
  12. Hot baths with all joints immersed is an excellent end to the day. It should have
      Epsom salts or vinegar in the water.
                                Arthritis and Heat Remedies



I highly recommend heat- applied treatment for arthritis, no matter where the arthritis is
located. In this article I am going to talk about heat, its application and saunas.

When the weather changes and the barometer rises or lowers my body seizes up. I rely on
a hot water bottle or two placed directly on my lower back or shoulders. Some people like
to use both the hot water bottle alternated with an ice bag to relieve the inflammation
and pain. The other heat application is a heating pad which is electrical and is very flat so
it can be placed under or over the body without interrupting sleep. Try to find the brand
of pad which turns off after a few minutes automatically.

Try using an electric blanket for the first few minutes of bed time. The blanket warms up
the bed and then I can turn it off. In days gone by the servants would warm the beds of
their masters with hot water- filled pans and remove them before they retired for the
night. One night I left the blanket turned on all night and I slept like a baby. There is a
new contraption that you can put on your chair or flat on your bed which both vibrates at
different intervals and heats up as well. I wore mine out.

Saunas are wonderful to release the tension, toxins and pain in your joints. The true
Finnish or Swedish method is best, not a dry heat. In the Finnish method, a wood stove
heats up the rocks beside it and the building gets very hot. Your body becomes used to the
heat gradually. Then you take a cup or a ladle and splash water on the rocks. The steam or
humidity fills the room with healing heat and you sit for 10-12 minutes with a towel on.
Then you run out and jump into the snow or lake and cool off in the most exhilarating way.

)RU WKH DUWKULWLF GRQ·W MXPS LQWR the lake or snow. Just enjoy the heat and humidity.
However, please check with your physician, because people who have high blood pressure
may not be able to use the sauna. I can only go in a sauna for 5 minutes tops before I can
feel my condition worsening. Hot tubs are the same. Swirling water in a hot tub is great,
but I can only do that for a few minutes. Newer style bathtubs, called jet whirlpool
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a good soak. So heat does do wonders for the arthritic patient but, like everything else, do
it in moderation.
                       Topical Skin Treatments for Arthritis



Now that we have covered the home remedies for arthritis and its varied
applications, I would like to talk about the application to the body of treatment via
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health and arthritis will follow. I cannot possibly describe all the points of entry
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body which can be treated by the needles. Once the needles are inserted, the
doctor will let you rest and then he re-enters to touch the tops of them to add
stimulus and minutes later you are done.

Before he starts, the traditional acupuncturist will study your mouth and teeth,
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breath and body odor. Then he knows what to do. Acupuncture treatment takes
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used in other diseases and conditions. I tried acupuncture but the cost was not
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,Q WKH VDPH YHLQ WKH 7(16 PDFKLQH LV D JRRG WRRO IRU VRPH VXIIHUHUV TENS or
transcutaneous electrical neuron stimulator is a compact unit with wires which
attach to the skin with pads. The pads are placed around the tender or painful area
and then the unit is turned on. With dials and various intensities, the wires
stimulate the nerves and much like acupuncture are supposed to reduce the pain
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OLNH HYHU\WKLQJ HOVH WKH HIIHFW on me is temporary. You can carry the TENS
around in your pocket or attach it to your belt and use it while you DUH ZRUNLQJ
                            Ultrasound and Infrasound Therapy

We have all heard in the past 40 years that we can have a picture or sonogram taken of a
fetus in vitro, still in the womb. This picture of the baby is taken using ultra high sound
waves which are conducted into the womb via a transducer and some conduction gel. It
helps to gather data about the baby, anything from due date, gender, possible birth
defects, size and if it is a multiple birth. I had one when I was two months along and the
size of a barn. I had full- term full- weight twin girls some 7 months later.

So how does this relate to arthritis and joint pain? Well in much lower doses a
physiotherapist can conduct the sound waves with a wand onto the area of pain or joints
which are in pain. Joints such as knees, ankles, wrists, elbows and shoulders can be treated
over time with the sound waves, ultrasound. Once set up on a chair or bed, the client can
give himself the ultrasound over the area while the physiotherapist works with others. I
had a bone spur in my foot which hurt very badly. I thought my foot was broken but I
FRXOGQ·W WKLQN RI ZKHQ RU KRZ , ZHQW IRU [-rays and there it was, a tiny piece of bone at
the end of another bone and it grated on other bones when I tried to walk. So I took
ultrasound treatments for five sessions and it was gone. The spur broke apart and was
blasted into smithereens. No problems since.

Infrasound is based on the other end of the spectrum. Much lower frequencies of sound,
so low we cannot hear them but animals can, are conducted into the area of pain. Muscles
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had been denied. Joint pain can be reduced by also introducing the infrasound. Vitality,
improved wellness and recuperation after an operation have been attributed to infrasound.
In fact, both ultrasound and infrasound have been used in equine medicine. Horses love it!
Their joint pain and muscle rigidity are lessened and they are in much better shape. Now
small pet owners are asking to have infrasound administered to their animals.

These two types of sound therapy are very useful in actually attacking the cause of the
pain and muscle problems. Wellness is a state of mind and, of course, everyone has
different opinions and beliefs about pain, the threshold of pain, the use of alternative
methods versus medical treatment. Choose what you like and how you want to be treated.
                                    Hot Stone Massage



A relatively new method of massage is based on the use of smooth, small, stones placed on
your body. It has come into favor lately as a method of soft massage which does not have
to be as intrusive as deep tissue massage. Some people find that deep tissue massage is
very wrenching on an already sore and painful body.

The stones are gathered from a rapid running river and are small, the size of an egg and no
bigger than the palm of your hand. They are gathered from the river bed as they are
smoothed from the rushing water. Then they are placed into a heating oven which heats
them throughout. They can also be boiled. The stones are then removed and used by the
therapist.

He puts them in his own hands first to make sure they are not too hot. He then puts them
on various parts of the back and legs and arms where the joints and muscles are found to
be sore, tender and tight. First the body may be oiled to allow the rocks to slide from one
spot to another. After a few minutes, the stones are removed and put back in the heater.
The therapist then uses his hands and the oil to do a soft massage. The muscles and
tendons are already relaxed so the deep tissue massage is not necessary.

He can remove the stones once again and place them on the body or use the stones to help
with the massage. They glide over the body due to the oil which also sinks into the skin.
The patient is left with the stones on his/her back for a few minutes before being
excused.

In my younger day, I remember my osteopath using hot steamed towels in heavy amounts
to relax the back and the muscles. I would lie on my stomach and he would come in and
place these heavy hot steaming towels all over my back, let me lie there for a while and
then come in and remove them. His job was much easier to manipulate my sore joints after
a firm massage. I would walk out of there as though I had no spine left and it lasted a good
long time.

Massage has its place in the manipulation of the muscles and the spine. It is meant to be a
relaxing time with soft music and warm sheets. No one should walk out of a massage
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                                      Massage Therapy



Massage Therapy has been practiced in all societies since the earliest of time. The laying
of hands or manipulation of the soft tissue of the body is a well known and respected form
of therapy to assist with the lessening of pain. There are close to one hundred different
styles of massage but in all types the therapist may use his/her hands, fingers, knuckles,
elbows, forearms and even the feet.

The main intent of massage is to relax the client, apply oils and creams to the back, arms
and legs, cover him with towels and warm sheets and to lightly rub and manipulate the
body. He will relax the soft tissue, increase the blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to
the necessary areas, keep the body warm and help to decrease pain. The main concept is to
deliver blood and oxygen to the starved muscle groups, joints and tendons in order to
relieve the pain of arthritis and other conditions.

There are so many different types of massage that I cannot do justice to any one method.
The Swedish style uses long, hard strokes on the back while twisting the body, the arms
and legs to get muscles to move and start to work again. North Americans are probably
more familiar with the deep tissue massage where the therapist uses a combination of
strokes and deep finger pressure where he can feel the knotted muscle groups that need
to be relaxed deep under the skin.

I have had the deep tissue massage and I have felt discomfort because my arthritis is
right throughout my body. I cannot relax because I know that every movement is going to
mean more pain to my body. Then you have to get up after your treatment and get dressed
to leave. I do not find full measure relief in any massage unless I am at home, in bed and I
just get a regular back rub. That does me the world of good.

Massage is not just for arthritis pain but is found to be useful in lowering the levels of
blood pressure, anxiety and stress. The clinical practice itself is often housed in the same
office as a chiropractor as they work co-operatively with each other. One week you might
need a chiropractic treatment followed the following week by a massage. Be sure to find a
registered massage therapist RMT rather than someone who hangs out a shingle offering
massages by the hour.
                              Acupressure and Reflexology



There are many claims by trained medical practitioners that neither of these
techniques treats a disease or a diseased organ. Given that they are the touching, the
massaging and the manipulation of different parts of the feet, ears or hands in
reflexology, it is hard to believe that it would work. For acupuncture, the conjecture is
the same. It is a long-held belief that these practices are not healing nor should they
be trusted as a cure.

Well maybe not as a cure, but I am always up for a massage on my feet and or hands.
Rheumatics have trouble with their feet and ankles, hands and wrists. So why not
encourage a little massage and maybe stir up some nerve endings which lead to other
organs as well.

The feet are the tell tale of your general health. If your feet are in good condition, then
most likely so are you. If you are a diabetic all you hear about is look out for cracks or
bleeding or yellowing toe nails. That means your circulation is poor and you need
proper foot care or else gangrene can set in.

So why not indulge in some reflexology while you are having your feet pampered. Try
to find a health centre or spa which has a registered reflexologist on staff. Explain
your needs, arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes or what have you and have a thorough
going over. He or she will be able to tell you a few things that maybe you did not know.

Every part of your foot has a nerve ending which can correlate to a body part or organ.
By stimulating with firm massage every part of your foot, toes and ankles, the
reflexologist can determine, supposedly, the general health of your body. If that part is
in need of more circulation or nutrients then the massage will open up the pathway to
it.

There is no harm in trying new methods and new procedures. Always check with your
doctor first about your plans. Never start to take pills or herbs unless your doctor is
aware because so many of them can interact with the medication you are currently
taking. Serious consequences can take place if one contradicts the other or the two are
too strong for your system.

So relax, have a day spa, a massage with stones, a herbal wrap, a facial and a
reflexolology treatment. What can be better for your health?
                                     Topical Pain Medications



Your body is a temple and when that temple starts to crumble and fall, we all need help.
After a really active day or a sporting event, our muscles and joints usually scream with
agony. After a very warm bath with Epsom salts, towel off and have a topical joint and
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WKDQ JUDEELQJ DQRWKHU SDLQ NLOOHU

   1. &UHDPV WKDW PDNH \RXU VNLQ IHHO KRW DQG FROG LQWHUPLWWHQWO\- they are called
       counterirritants because they contain irritable ingredients such as menthol,
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       FROG ZKLFK ZLOO WKHQ WDNH \RXU PLQG RII RI WKH DUWKULWLF SDLQ
   2. Analgesic Creams- which contain aspirin which has pain relieving powers. These
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       are excellent for sports injuries or sport- related arthritis. Examples are Bengay,
       Aspercreme and Sportscreme.
   3. Creams that are made from chili pepper seeds. These seeds contain a strong
       compound called capsaicin. It forms a burning sensation and they are most
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       ILQJHUV NQHHV DQG HOERZV DQG MRLQWV ZKHUH LW FDQ EH UXEEHG LQWR ([DPSOHV DUH
       Capzasin and Zostrix
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       and a new one called Voltaren which contains diclofenac which is an NSAID and
       should be used only for a short period of time. ,W ZRUNV JUHDW There are many
       others and they all deliver the same type of support; that is, warm the area and
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       rub.
   5. Gels and patches can be made up using the analgesics and diclofenac. They can be
       placed in WKH DIIHFWHG DUHD DQG NHSW WKHUH IRU XS WR  KRXUV

   Creams, gels and patches can be very effective but only for a short while. Their
   effectiveness wears off after an hour or so. There was one lotion in a bottle called
   Heet which was offered in Canada for a short while. My husband swore by that stuff
   DQG KDG PH DSSO\ LW ZLWK WKH EUXVK HYHU\ QLJKW RQ KLV EDFN ,W ZRXOG VRRWKH KLP DOO
   night, wafting in and out all the next day as well. It was very effective in helping him
   and his aches and pains from construFWLRQ ZRUN
                              Liquid Supplements for Arthritis



Since the dawn of time there have been snake-oil salesmen and voodoo practitioners
offering their elixirs. While the west was being settled, wagons would pull into towns
selling a potion that would settle any discomfort and the dreaded sciatica. I also
remember Lucy trying to sell Vitaminamin juice from a bottle and even she could not
tolerate the taste.

I have been very enticed to try a couple of online bottles of this and that. I refuse to
become a dealer because I want to keep my friends and furthermore, everything you need
can be bought at the health food store or pharmacy. So what is the catch!

It is always some berry that triggers my interest..a berry that is cultivated in the
remotest of jungles in a little known part of a country no one can pronounce. The
tribesmen have never been seen before nor have they seen by white men or women, but
somehow they have suddenly discovered the berry. When crushed and mixed with only the
most natural of ingredients, it will bring on untold health and welfare.

It is the hype that these berries and elixirs receive that gets you into the craze to buy
WKHP 7U\ RQH ERWWOH QRZ DQG XVH \RXU FUHGLW FDUG ,I \RX GRQ·W OLNH LW SKRQH XV ZLWKLQ 
days and we will not charge your card any further. Well I fell for it about five years ago,
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I could not drink that stuff that quickly nor did I feel any better. I felt worse because of
the cost. I quickly phoned the number on the website and listened to music for ½ hour. I
could not get through by phone or by website or email. I was in it for the duration.

But I have no one to blame but myself and maybe a popular talk show host for what
happened next. Another berry was found somewhere and it would help me to lose weight
and feel better if I took it with another set of pills. If it sounds too good to be true, then
it must be. I sent away for the trial size. A week later I found four or five charges to my
FUHGLW FDUG IRU GLIIHUHQW FRPSDQLHV , KDG QHYHU KHDUG RI DQG , UHFHLYHG D PRQWK·V ZRUWK
of berry juice and pills. Here we go again!

I had to fight tooth- and- nail to get the charges stopped to the point where I had to have
my credit card changed to another number. It got that bad. No phone numbers would work,
I got put on hold and I listened to mXVLF , JRW QDVW\ HPDLOV %XW , GRQ·W FDUH , ZLOO VWD\
plump and arthritic if that is what it is going to cost me.
                                      Copper Bracelets



Thousands of years ago, one of the minerals that were mined for the earliest civilizations
was copper. It was malleable and it could be stamped with designs. The South Americans
used copper for jewelry and building materials. It was found to be a formidable material
for shields during warfare and to use as a totem in many tribes.

The cultures who made use of copper soon found out that their copper rings and bracelets
began to get smaller over time. And they were feeling better over time. There was a
correlation between losing copper and getting relief from aches and pains. The injured or
elderly began to wear the copper whenever possible to aid in their comfort.

Over the years, copper gained in value and was used for copper piping in plumbing in
housing until recently. But the belief in the healing powers of copper continued. We now
manufacture copper bracelets and necklaces and rings to be worn by anyone who believes
in its healing effects.

Copper bracelets are very common and are not very expensive at all. They can come with a
design or just plain. But it is important to buy one without any finish or lacquer so that the
copper has direct contact with the skin. It is believed that our bodies are lacking in all
sorts of earth minerals and the main one is copper. That is why the body makes use of the
copper bracelets and they become smaller.

My husband uses a copper bracelet on one wrist and it leaves a green tarnish on his skin. It
is also getting smaller as time passes. He has been diagnosed as having carpal tunnel
syndrome and he is awaiting a surgical date. The green suggests that the copper jewelry is
reacting to its environment and the sweat in his skin and it corrodes or turns green. He
takes the copper bracelet off for a couple of days, has a good scrub and then puts it back
on. I recently bought my first copper, silver and gold woven bracelet and my sore wrists
are gone.

Many people proudly wear their copper bracelets and go out golfing or mountain climbing.
They would never part with it nor take it off. Part of the mystique of copper healing is the
¶EHOLHI LQ LW· 7KH\ DUH KRSLQJ LW ZLOO ZRUN DQG WKHUHIRUH LW GRHV 2WKHUZLVH WKH\ ZRXOG QRW
bother wearing it nor have any use for it. The belief has been passed down through
generations and therefore there must be some truth to the fact that copper does have
healing potential.
                                   Magnetic Therapy



Magnets and their therapeutic uses have been around for centuries. This time we can
thank Cleopatra for sleeping on lodestone which is filled with magnetic rock and the
Greeks who noticed that they could not climb hills in shoes whose soles were made of the
same material that was found on the hills. The magnetic pull made the climb too difficult.

Magnets have long since been used in all types of experiments and for all sorts of reasons.
We use magnets around the house for different reasons from keeping the refrigerator
door shut to putting paperwork up on the fridge door. But the most important reason for
magnetism is its use in lessening the inflammatory process in the body.

Magnets, when placed on parts of the body for a variety of reasons, such as cancer, can be
found to have recuperative properties. The use of magnets is now widely advertised for
different products such as mattress covers, arm braces, knee braces and wrist guards.
7KH PDJQHWLF TXDOLWLHV KHOS WKH EORRG·V FLUFXODWRU\ V\stem to get the good nutrients and
oxygen to the organs, joints and tendons which are badly affected by arthritis.

So now the magnets can be placed on the body in a number of ways:

   1. Mattress cover-by sleeping directly on the pad your whole body gets a full night's
       recuperative rest and you should wake up refreshed and ready to work.
   2. Magnetic belts-are worn around the waist and lower back to work on the lower spine
       to relieve the arthritic vertebrae.
   3. Magnetic wrist bands- worn around the wrist to help relieve the agony of carpal
       tunnel syndrome.
   4. Magnetic jewelry such as a copper bracelet to constantly work on the tone and
       strength of your body. ,W LV \RXU FKRLFH WR XVH PDJQHWLF WKHUDS\ DQG LI LW GRHVQ·W
       work for you, give it to someone who might enjoy it and get some relief. It all comes
       down to what you believe it and what you are able to spend.
                                   Yoga and Mild Exercise



Yoga has its origins in eastern cultures and it originated in India. The term yoga means
yoke or ‘bring them together· which is what they did with water buffalo. Yoga is the best
known of the eastern slow movement exercises or body movements. It is far better
preferred than exercise bikes or jogging for those of us who suffer from arthritis.

In the beginning lessons, the students are taught to do very calming and stress-free
movements of the body either in a sitting or standing position. As they progress, the
student begins to notice that he/she has gained strength, balance and vitality with these
simple exercises. Flexibility is one aspect of yoga training which the arthritic will
appreciate over all else. The ability to move, walk and bend is so elusive to most of us.

Overall, yoga has its roots in the spiritual world so that the whole body will benefit from
the movements. The main goal of yoga is not to cure or relieve arthritis but to help
patients with true inner happiness and balance in their lives. However with there being so
many types of yoga there is one in particular which is beneficial for the arthritic.

The Hatha Yoga leaves out the spiritual aspect of happiness and concentrates on the
movements that are more necessary to the painful joints and tight muscles. It
concentrates on postural alignment, strength and endurance or vitality. One posture is
called the Spinal Twist Position which has the client sitting on the floor, legs stretched in
front, draw on leg up and put its ankle over the knee cap of the other leg. Wrap your arm
around the raised leg, and look backwards over your shoulder. It is a very calming, twisting
of the spine which is barely noticeable.

Not only does Yoga address the physical needs of the client but also the psychological
needs by bringing strength and wellness into the mix. Yoga also brings an increased mental
vitality and a general feeling of well -being not usually noticed by the arthritic. And finally,
the Medical Society recognizes the goodness of Yoga and declares that it is a good
treatment for those suffering with Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Yoga is the preferred type of mild and non-exertive exercise for arthritics. It wakes up
and makes the innermost muscles and tendons move and gets the blood circulating to the
furthest regions of the body. Yoga, when done properly under supervision, brings
encouragement to the weakest and the most pain-filled of all Arthritics.
                                                   Tai Chi

Tai chi is used extensively in all parts of the world to reduce stress and improve upon agility for
everyone. It is the style of slow movements that are so inviting for many people. Most cities and
towns have parks and gyms where tai chi is taught and practiced.

Tai chi developed in China as a form of self defense and it has been in existence for over 2000
years. If practiced regularly, tai chi will bring serenity to the body and relieve stress and other
health conditions. It is sometimes called tai chi chuan and is a self-paced system of physical
exercise and stretches. You must be able to do a series of postures in a slow and graceful manner.
Each posture flows into the next without stopping.

Tai chi is generally used to:

    x    Reduce stress and anxiety
    x    Increase energy and agility
    x    Increase flexibility
    x    Improve on muscle strength
    x    Increase feelings of well being overall

As always check with your doctor before involving yourself in any exercise program and especially if
you have a heart problem, joint or spinal injury. With tai chi you can find three or four of your
favorite movements and stick to them or gradually add to your routine. If you join a group at the
park, there is usually a leader to take you through your steps and you can learn a new routine to
practice. You also get out of the house and make new friends.

Your body will begin to feel better gradually and have more tone and strength. You will enjoy more
vitality. When you are faced with a stressful moment you can shut your eyes and pretend to go
through your paces before handling the situation. You will learn new breathing techniques to
enhance your movements and benefit even more. Tai chi is also great for the arthritic as it is low
impact, very low key movements and no stressful techniques to be learned. Besides stress relief,
research is acknowledging that tai chi offers many other benefits to the human body:


    1.   Reduces anxiety and depression
    2.   Improves upon balance and coordination
    3.   Reduced number of falls and broken bones
    4.   Improved restful sleep
    5.   Slowing osteoporosis in women after menopause
    6.   Lowers blood pressure
    7.   Improved cardiovascular fitness
    8.   Relieves chronic pain
                              Lumbar Pain and Treatment



Lower lumbar pain which affects the lower spine into the sacroiliac can become so
debilitating that further help is required other than lotions, pills or exercise. In fact
you cannot even attempt minimal exercise or walk for the pain. It is hard to roll over,
sit up or stand, sit back down or lie on one side or another. Work is prohibitive
because you cannot even get dressed or into a car. Family life is crashing down and no
one can understand the gnawing agony in your back.

Call in the doctor and his needle. In my lifetime I have had two or three cortisone
shots which have lasted a week or two when I could not recover from a bent over
position. It is not funny when you walk all bent over in your nightgown into
emergency. So now you can have Epidural Steroid Injections, which have been around
since the 1950’s. It is basically a shot for pain relief of the sciatica and low back.
Possibly then you could try simple low-impact exercises, stretches or yoga.

Once you get the shot, and only three per year are allowed, you should not race out
and try to play a round of tennis. Your back has just received some medication and it
needs to rest, lying down and it needs time to heal. The muscle groups around the
affected area have to regroup and get new positions. If it is a slipped or herniated disc,
it might require further investigation. I recently had cortisone injected into both knees
and they are now relatively pain free.

How one rests is another good topic which I will address in another article. But I can
promise you the needle does not relieve your arthritis or any other back pain or joint
pain. You have received a temporary moratorium from pain, just as a mother has
during labor, and it does wear off. Now is the time to put your game plan into play.

Ask your doctor for an anti-inflammatory which in combination with a strong pain
medication will keep you in the right vein for a while. Do not get used to this but take
a regular routine of anti-inflammatory to help the muscles relax and regroup. Then
wean yourself off the steady amount when you and your doctor agree that it is time. If
you revert back to the pain and agony, return to the pill regimen.

Try a very light bed exercise such as lifting your legs one at a time and making
circular movements. Bend one leg so that your knee reaches almost to your chin. Very
small steps but keep the back and legs moving. The leg muscles and your back
muscles must be exercised. Do it in bed on a firm mattress so that if you do overstrain
yourself, you can stay put and rest.
                                       Hip and Knee Problems



Most arthritics will tell you that hip and knee arthritis is the worst of all pain. I used to
tell my chiropractor that the pain was in the middle of my buttocks and he would shake his
head and say there were no joints in that area. Then it spread into my pelvic region and
everything seized right up, the same for the groin for men. It can go down the front
bundle of nerves on the thigh to the knee and I had no idea what was happening. I know I
had lower lumbar pain, osteoarthritis. Then my knees went berserk on me and my left knee
had to have arthroscopy. My right knee is now showing the same business, as it cannot
bend or rotate or do much without me wincing. Both knees have recently had cortisone
shots to help relieve the pain.

If the pain was in my lower back and referred down the back bundle of nerves in my legs
then it would most likely be a pinched nerve. Accompanied by numbness or tingling it would
be very disconcerting, but guess what? I have had both sets of symptoms. So now I am
undergoing more tests to determine if it is my hips or my lower back or what? I feel like a
pin cushion.

If you have hip disease you might have a limp because one leg might be shorter than the
other. Your gait is slightly off because you walk with a limp and you might need the
assistance of a cane to help you get around. Because of the pelvic or groin pain you will not
be able to walk very far and it will get worse. You will have to cut back on golfing or other
activities with walking or bending because of the hip pain.

Your doctor will start you off on NSAIDS and you might also get anti-inflammatory
medication. That is fine because this pain does not go away willingly. Bed rest, heat
treatments and heating pads are your best friends. Take the time to rest and do stay
home from work for a while. *R RQ VLFN OHDYH ZLWK WKH GRFWRU·V QRWH EHFDXVH \RX KDYH QR
idea how long this is going to take.

Regarding the awkward gait, I am a retired teacher. On staff we had a lovely ESL teacher
from Egypt who had a very noticeable gait problem and for years she was in pain. She
finally had the hip replacement surgery and is walking like a teenager now. But her
GDXJKWHU LQ KHU ODWH ·V KDV WKH H[DFW VDPH SUREOHP WKH XS DQG GRZQ JDLW DQG VKH LV LQ
GLUH SDLQ 6KH FDQ·W KDYH WKH KLS UHSODFHPHQW VXUJHU\ XQWLO VKH LV LQ KHU ·V EHFDXVH LW LV
offered only once.
                                       My Final Say



I have had to cope with osteoarthritis, lower back disc degenerative disease and
ILEURP\DOJLD IRU PRVW RI P\ OLIH , FDQ·W UHPHPEHU D GD\ ZLWKRXW SDLQ , WRRN J\P FODVVHV
LQ KLJK VFKRRO DQG IHOO RII WKH XQHYHQ SDUDOOHO EDUV VPDFN RQ P\ EXP Then when my
parents and my sisters and I EXLOW DQ LQ-JURXQG SRRO , VOLG RQ WKH FHPHQW JRLQJ GRZQ WR
XQSOXJ WKH GUDLQ DQG IHOO VPDFN RQ P\ EXP , FDUULHG WZLQV WR IXOO WHUP VLGH E\ VLGH DQG SXW
RXW P\ EDFN WR WKH SRLQW WKDW DW VL[ PRQWKV DIWHU GHOLYHU\ , was in a Toronto hospital and
having tests.

%XW , KDYH VWrategies to cope with the pain and , NQRZ WKDW WKHUH LV QR FXUH for arthritis
VKRUW RI KDYLQJ VXUJHU\ 6R IDU , KDYH QRW EHHQ D FDQGLGDWH DQG , GRQ·W ZDQW WR EH 6R
here are my tips and tactics that have worked for me over the years:

   1. /LH RQ WKH IORRU QH[W WR D EHG RU VRID DQG SXW \RXU OHJV RQ WKH VRID 'R QRW XVH D
       SLOORZ RU DQ\ RWKHU FXVKLRQLQJ *HW DV FORVH WR WKH FRXFK ZLWK \RXU EXWWRFNV as
       SRVVLEOH DQG MXVW UHOD[
   2. Use a heating pad or hot water bRWWOH ZKHQHYHU \RX JR WR EHG RU DUH UHVWLQJ
   3. %XLOG XS D IRUWUHVV RI SLOORZV DOO DURXQG \RX KHDG OHJV DQG ERWK VLGHV
   4. /LH RQ \RXU VLGH DV PXFK DV SRVVLEOH WR WDNH WKH ZHLJKW RII \RXU EDFN DQG WKH PDLQ
       artery which helped when I was pregnant as well. Use the pillows to make a cocoon
       DURXQG \RX IRU VXSSRUW
   5. +DYH DOO RI \RXU HTXLSPHQW ULJKW EHVLGH \RXU EHG VR \RX GRQ·W KDYH WR JHW XS H[FHSW
       for the occasional bathroom break
   6. %H FDUHIXO JHWWLQJ LQ RU RXW RI D EDWK ,QVWDOO WKH JUDE EDUV DQG XVH WKHP
   7. 3XW D SLOORZ EHWZHHQ \RXU NQHHV ZKHQ O\LQJ RQ \RXU VLGH
   8. I wrap my whole bottom half in a fleecy blanket or throw before getting into bed to
       keep my body warm
   9. Invest iQ DQ HOHFWULF EHG ZLWK D WHPSXU-pedic mattress if at all possible

   And here is my piece de resistance- a MDU RI KDQG FUHDP RU IDFH FUHDP 3XW LW ILUPO\
   XQGHU WKH VSRW WKDW KXUWV WKH ZRUVW VXFK DV ORZHU VSLQe, hips or back of the neck,
   DQ\ZKHUH WKDW \RX DUH KDYLQJ WKH ZRUVW SDLQ /LH RQ WRS RI WKDW MDU XQWLO \RX IDOO DVOHHS
   EXW GRQ·W PRYH LW ,W ZLOO KXUW IRU WKH ILUVW IHZ PLQXWHV EXW WKH PXVFOHV ZLOO JUDGXDOO\
   UHJURXS DQG DFFHSW WKDW LQWUXGHU 7KH SDLQ ZLOO EH JRQH DQG \RX ZLOO GULIW RII WR VOHHS
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