Arthritis: Causes and Cures

By Dr Ernst
August 25, 2017

Arthritis is one of those ailments that is so common that we almost expect to get it someday because if we know five people, one of them has some kind of arthritis.

Before we get into the nuts & bolts, here are some fun statistics for you.

  • Right now in the U.S., 55 million people have arthritis. That’s about 23% or almost one in four.
  • And it’s on the rise. It’s expected by the CDC that by 2040, 78 million American adults will have arthritis.
  • Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the U.S. As such, the economic impact of arthritis is huge, with an estimated $300-$400 billion in lost productivity every year.
  • Half of arthritis sufferers are over the age of 65, though it becomes much more common among people 45 and above.
  • Obesity and being overweight add to your chances of having arthritis. 33% of people who are obese also have arthritis, while only 16% of people in their ideal weight range have arthritis.

What causes arthritis?

If you ask most people this question, they will probably just shrug their shoulders and say something like, “it’s just something that happens as you get older.” Wrong!

There are causes that you can control, whether you’re relatively young or even if you’re older and you’re already suffering from arthritis.

The first thing you’ve got to realize is that when you say “arthritis,” you may be referring to any one of 200 different conditions. The most common type is osteoarthritis, but rheumatic versions are also relatively common including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

There are five main causes of arthritis:

  1. An injury that doesn’t get properly taken care of
  2. A metabolic disorder
  3. In some rare cases you can just inherit arthritis genetically
  4. An infection
  5. An autoimmune disorder.

And obviously there can be a combination of these things going on as well.

Let’s start with the most common form of arthritis: osteoarthritis. This is basically when the cartilage between joints breaks down, then when the disease is more advanced, the bones themselves start to break down.

The cause of osteoarthritis is primarily “mechanical,” meaning the way you move (or don’t move) throughout your life determines if you will develop this disease or not. And one of the reasons people who are overweight have a higher risk of developing arthritis is because the extra weight puts an extra strain on the joints which, over time, degrades the cartilage and bone in between the joints.

Repetitive motions done over the course of years and decades will lead to arthritis as well. If you work in a factory for 30 years on an assembly line where you make the same motion with your hands all day, then you have a greater chance of developing osteoarthritis.

Spinal misalignment over time leads to osteoarthritis. It puts undue pressure on some joints over others, degrading the connective tissue over time. Say, for example, one hip is higher than the other because you pelvis is out of alignment. The knee below the lower hip will take more stress and impact than its counterpart.

So what if you’re young and want to avoid developing osteoarthritis?

Obviously, the first thing is to keep the weight off—and if you’re overweight, losing it will help you avoid it.

Moderate exercise is very important, and it’s better if it’s low-impact stuff—things like swimming or rowing or yoga. Stretching regularly and yoga are very helpful.

Get regular chiropractic adjustments. This will ensure your joints are taking equal impact as you walk, run, exercise, etc throughout daily life.

If you are suffering from osteoarthritis already, all of these tips still apply: lose weight, moderate exercise, yoga and stretching and chiropractic.

There are some supplements that help. Glucosamine sulfate or chondroitin sulfate are proven remedies that go beyond simple pain management and actually help the connective tissue regenerate. Collagen helps with that as well.

By keeping inflammation down, you guard against developing secondary types of arthritis and it also helps with the pain. You can do that with things like ginger, turmeric and garlic. Just add it to your food–or in the case of turmeric, you can take it as a supplement.  Acupuncture can be very helpful for the pain as well.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This is a different sort of arthritis. Rather than your connective tissue degrading, your joints are constantly inflamed, swollen and painful. It is caused by autoimmunity. Essentially, your immune system becomes tricked into attacking itself.

What happens is, over time when a person eats pesticide-toxic foods, takes medications, and eats a lot of sugar, their small intestine becomes permeable—which basically means there are tiny holes in the intestinal wall. You may have heard of it as leaky gut. The problem is, food particles leak into your bloodstream—they’re not really big food particles—but they’re big enough that your immune system attacks them.

So what if you’re eating chicken wings. You get some skin, some meat and some connective tissue. Your immune system attacks these things over and over and over throughout the years until eventually, it notices that the connective tissue in your joints looks basically the same as the connective tissue it’s been attacking from the chicken wings you’ve been eating all these years. Then, it attacks your connective tissue as well.

So what do you do?

You’ve got to avoid and/or fix the leaky gut. That means: organic fruits and veggies, grass fed beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, stay away from the meds—even things like aspirin and benadryl contribute to leaky gut. Seek natural remedies.

If you’ve got leaky gut already, it might take a four-day bone broth fast to fix it up.

Gout is a form of arthritis, affecting most often the joints of your big toe. It comes from the buildup of uric acid in the blood, which is often a result of a diet too heavy in fructose, protein and alcohol. These things should all be consumed in moderation. Protein should not exceed 30% of your overall diet.

The primary risk factor for gout is metabolic syndrome. That is when someone has a combination of three of the following health conditions: obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, and abnormal lipid levels.

Basically, lay off the sugar and carbs and get some exercise. Keep your weight down and you should be fine.

Sometimes, arthritis comes from an infection—and most often that infection is Lyme disease, but it doesn’t have to be. If an infection enters the synovial fluid between the joints, causing inflammation and pain, that’s arthritis. If you get rid of the infection, you get rid of the arthritis. However, for Lyme disease, that can be very complicated. Luckily, if you check out the list of radio topics on iTunes, or you search the Health News section of the website, you’ll notice we have videos, radio shows and articles on how to beat Lyme disease. If it’s something you’ve been struggling with for a long time and it is advanced, request a consultation and I can help out with that.

In some cases, arthritis is caused by a mutated chromosome, such as in the case of Sjögren’s syndrome, which is a genetically-inherited autoimmune disorder. In this case, managing inflammation is your life’s work. Eat a lot of ginger, garlic, turmeric, bromelein (from the core of a pineapple), devil’s claw, white willow bark…

The good news is, having arthritis doesn’t have to be this lifelong things you just have to deal with. Chiropractic, a clean diet, moderate exercise and low toxicity will go a long way in managing both inflammation and pain, and can even reduce the cause of your arthritis by helping to regenerate connective tissue.

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