Alternative Treatments

...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!

Your body is designed to be free of pain. Feeling good is the normal state.

There are certain common denominators in the treatment of arthritis, such as special exercises for strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Other treatments include the following...

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Aquatic Exercise and Swimming are excellent alternative treatments for some people with arthritis. The water offers support to the joints and prevents abrupt, high-impact movements. It also offers gentle resistance that can help build strength.

Dynamic Strengthening Exercises exercises that involve movement and the use of weights— Dynamic exercises need to be approached with caution because of the potential for excessive stress and strain on the muscles and joints. Even so, this alternative treatment can be more efficient than isometric exercises in building strength, and they have the added benefit of introducing movement to the joint.

Acupuncture An acupuncture practitioner inserts tiny needles into your skin at precise points on your body. Studies of acupuncture have found it may help relieve many types of pain. This is a safe alternative treatment when done by a certified practitioner. Ask your doctor for names of recommended practitioners in your community. Don't undergo acupuncture if you're taking blood thinners.

Botox When injected in small quantities, Botox is an effective alternative treatment. It causes weakening and paralysis of muscles, thereby alleviating spasms and pain. Although the drug is approved only for certain problems involving the muscles of the eyes, doctors have used it to treat the muscular rigidity seen in various medical conditions including cerebral palsy, strokes, multiple sclerosis and for the pain of a muscular condition called myofascial pain syndrome. In fact, it was the successful use of Botox in some people with severe myofascial pain syndrome that led doctors to try it for fibromyalgia.

Although its use in fibromyalgia is not well studied, this alternative treatment is being pushed over the Internet and in the news media as the new “miracle cure” for Fibromyalgia. There are reports of patients with fibromyalgia getting relief up to three to four months. Even though muscle pain is one of the major features of fibromyalgia, there are many other symptoms of the condition not helped by Botox.

If you decide to try Botox, be prepared to wait about eight days before you see any effects. The most relief occurs at about three weeks, and the injections can be repeated every three to four months. But be careful not to get them more often. Too frequent injections may cause you to develop immunity to the injections. Some patients who have received too much Botox, have developed facial and eyelid drooping, bruising, jaw weakness, headache, neck or back pain, and back weakness. Such symptoms last until the injections wear off.

When administered correctly, Botox appears to be safe. But the drug is expensive, costing $400 per injection.

Diet Diet is very important, but it has less to do with what you eat than how much you eat. Being overweight worsens arthritis pain and disability. Rather than going strictly by numbers on a scale, doctors commonly use the body mass index to determine obesity. A BMI of 19 to 24 is optimal. If yours is higher, you should lose weight. To calculate your BMI and determine how close you are to your ideal weight range, take your body weight and multiply it by 703, then divide that by your height in inches squared. Let's say, for example, you are 5 foot, 4 inches tall (64 inches) and you weigh 150 pounds. Your BMI would be (150 x 703) ÷ (64 x 64) = 25.74, slightly overweight.

Relaxation techniques Relaxation techniques may help you take your mind off your signs and symptoms and help you relax. Relaxation techniques include activities such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery. You can learn relaxation techniques from a therapist, or you can do them on your own. Relaxation techniques are generally safe.

Isometric Exercises are static exercises that do not involve weights or exercise machines, but instead harness resistance within your own body. As with aquatic exercise, isometric exercise may not be right for all patients.

Exercise When the muscles are strong, they support better, so there is less stress on the joints themselves. As a result, movement is easier and less painful.

    Sidebar on exercise:
    Inadequate physical activity is implicated in a host of serious physical problems that range from muscle and bone degeneration (
    arthritis) to heart disease.

Weight Control Excessive weight puts stress on joints, including the lower back, hips, knees, and feet. Even a modest weight reduction—a loss of 5% to 10% of total body weight—can make a noticeable difference in the condition of your joints. You need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Also you need to reduce your overall caloric intake. In addition to a healthful, well-balanced diet, you need certain vitamins or dietary supplements.

Biologics arthritis is a result of the complex interplay among cells called lymphocytes, cells called macrophages, and the messenger signals they communicate with, called cytokines. Biologic medications work by targeting these different areas. In essence, they work with laser-like precision on the immune system. The use of biologics is the new wave in alternative treatments in arthritis therapy.

Prosorba column Since rheumatoid arthritis is the result of cellular interactions that produce an excessive amount of destructive antibodies, it makes sense that removing some of these toxic influences may make rheumatoid arthritis better. That is the theory behind the use of the Prosorba column for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

T’ai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that involves gentle, graceful movements to promote flexibility and balance. An added benefit of T’ai Chi is the sense of control, well-being, and peace of mind.

Splints & Braces. These devices used to support or stabilize a joint usually aren't a permanent solution by themselves. Braces and splints may be store bought or custom designed.

Heat & Cold packs There are several other pain-relieving techniques you can try. Apply heat or cold packs, to aching joints. Soak in a warm tub or spa, or try practicing relaxation techniques. As a last resort, surgery can be done using minimally invasive techniques.

Atlas Correction New Breakthrough for Fibromyalgia Sufferers. No drugs or surgery are involved. This complex, little known type of health care that involves only the correction of the Atlas in the neck. It can restore proper function of the brain stem and nerves of your entire body. And that means healing. It feels like a light touch, or a soft massage at the side of the neck as the Atlas is moved precisely back into its correct position. "The NUCCA Correction involves NO twisting, popping, or cracking of any kind and is safe for all ages." It is completely underwhelming. Patients are often surprised how anti-climactic it is until, over a period of time, they feel their bodies healing. The procedure cures nothing. It simply restores body balance and proper flow so that organs, limbs and tissues can resume normal functioning. Your body is designed to be free of pain. Feeling good is the normal state. This is so obvious when you think about it... but did you realize your body consists of three parts? Your head, your "Atlas" bone, and the rest of your body.

In recent years, specialized NUCCA Upper Cervical Doctors have developed a way to safely align just this Atlas bone, clearing the pathway that your body uses to transfer all of the nerve communication information between your brain and your body. Not only does this bone protect your brainstem right at this critical point, it balances your head on your spine... And just like a chain, this Atlas bone controls the alignment of the rest of the bones in your back balancing your legs, hips, and your entire body. Call Houston Spinal Care Toll-Free at 1-888-446-6896

Magnets One very small study suggested a magnet-filled mattress pad would help. Consider purchasing a magnet to wear over the area of the body where you need pain relief before making a more substantive investment in a magnetic mattress pad. In one Harvard University study of people with OA, those who wore a sleeve containing a high-powered magnet over their affected area reported greater pain relief after four hours than those wearing a placebo sleeve.

Spirituality Studies show that 90 percent of Americans believe in God, and many consider faith and spirituality an important aspect of well-being. Indeed, many people trust in their spiritual beliefs to cope with health challenges. Studies have even shown that faith is associated with better health outcomes.

Hypnosis During a hypnotherapy session, a therapist talks in a gentle voice that helps you relax. The therapist helps you reach a state of altered consciousness that lets you focus your mind on your goals or think positively about your challenges. Hypnosis may help relieve pain and stress. Hypnosis is generally safe if you work with a trained therapist.

Fish oil supplements Fish oil supplements have shown some promise in relieving signs and symptoms of other connective tissue diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil supplements may help relieve joint pain and stiffness. But don't take fish oil supplements if you're allergic to fish. Talk to your doctor first if you're taking blood thinners. Fish oil supplements can cause an upset stomach and a fishy taste in your mouth.

Surgery Extreme cases of arthritis may require surgery.

Each individual has great power over his or her condition: an upbeat, positive attitude combined with physical therapy, exercise, dietary changes and supplements can tip the balance in your favor and minimize the impact of the disease on your life.

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There are 2 types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain doesn't last long and usually goes away as your body heals. Chronic pain lasts at least 6 months after your body has healed.

Treatment of chronic pain usually involves medicines and therapy. Medicines used for chronic pain include pain relievers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants.


  • Celebrex
  • Other types of alternative treatments involve different types of therapy to ease the pain. Physical therapy and low-impact exercise can help reduce the pain. However, exercising too much or not at all can hurt chronic pain patients. Occupational therapy teaches you how to pace yourself and how to do ordinary tasks differently so you won't hurt yourself. Behavioral therapy can reduce your pain through methods that help you in your daily routine.

    Lifestyle changes are also an important part of any alternative treatment for chronic pain. Getting regular sleep at night and not taking daytime naps should help. Giving up cigarettes helps too, because the nicotine in cigarettes can make some medicines less effective. Smokers also have more pain than nonsmokers.

    Most alternative treatments for pain will not take away all of your pain. So understand that most treatments only reduce how much pain you have and how often it occurs.

    Medications In 2004 $5,3000,000,000 was spent on Arthritis medications. But then VIOXX, BEXTRA and REFLAN had to be pulled from the market, and CELEBREX was greatly scaled back. So the spending to a large extent has shifted to the Neutraceutical Industry (supplements) that that are producing greater results because they treat the problem instead of just masking the pain, and there are few if any negative side effects. Ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Collagen, Chondroitin, Glucosamine, and MSM are getting the best results.

    Medications from Mexico Many “miracle drugs” for combatting arthritis from Mexico do not disclose their ingredients. Side effects like round face, obesity of the trunk, and easy bruising indicates a medication containing large doses of cortisone or a cortisone derivative. Cortisone is a powerful medication that can be very useful as an alternative treatment, but its use and risk of side effects have to be evaluated carefully. Taking it unknowingly, particularly in doses larger than necessary, can lead to potentially dangerous side effects.

    Another ingredient that has been found in some of these unlabeled capsules is Butazolidin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Because of its associated side effects, particularly aplastic anemia, Butazolidin is no longer available in this country.

    Supplements One of the most promising alternative treatments is the dietary supplement glucosamine. Taken in doses of up to 1,500 mg a day, glucosamine has been shown to reduce pain and possibly slow the progression of cartilage loss. Most studies have been performed with pharmacy-grade glucosamine, so it is important to find a high-quality product. If you see "GMP" on the label, you can be assured that the product has been manufactured using "Good Manufacturing Principles."

    What about doing nothing? Chronic pain is NOT a problem you should just put up with! In fact, you should make every effort to reduce it because an increasing number of studies are showing serious consequences of having chronic pain.

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