Attention Arthritis Sufferers!

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Attention Arthritis Sufferers!

Confused by all of the ridiculous claims being made on the Internet?

Wondering if the so called “miracle cures” really work?

Are you looking to reduce your dependence on dangerous prescription drugs to treat your arthritis?

We can help!

No matter what kind of arthritis you have…whether it’s osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or even gouty arthritis, you have some things in common with your fellow arthritis sufferers:

  • You are in some level of pain
  • The pain is caused, in part, by inflammation
  • Prescription pain relievers have serious side effects
  • You would like to find a safe pain reliever to compliment your over-the-counter or prescription pain reliever

What can you do?

At WisdomAndHealth, we’ve assembled a set of products that can compliment, or even reduce the amount of dangerous prescription drugs that you need to take for your arthritis.

More importantly, this letter can hopefully help you decide which product is best for your specific condition.

Ultimately, only you and your doctor can decide which is the best product for you. It may take some trial and error, but you can eventually land on the one or two products that work best for YOU.

So, let’s begin!

It is likely that your doctor may only recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, to be taken as needed. But just because it’s over the counter doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe. So it’s not too early to consider pain relievers that you can apply directly to the skin, at the source of the discomfort.

But which one?

We can offer you many options. Try progressing through these products in this order. Experiment a little and see what works. Eventually, you’ll hit on a product or two that works really well for you. Once you’ve found it, stick with it!

BioFreeze is simple, safe, and it works. The active ingredient is menthol. But, BioFreeze contains a special blend of ingredients

Sept. 7 | Biofreeze

BioFreeze

to help drive the menthol deep through the skin and into the areas where you need it. Apply it as a roll on (the most economical way) or directly from a tube 3-4 times a day.

If you decide to try BioFreeze, we recommend using it alongside your over-the-counter oral pain reliever. Then, try reducing the oral pain reliever to fewer times a day, or maybe every other day. Give BioFreeze a few weeks to see if it helps before giving up on it.

Like BioFreeze, Sombra Warm contains menthol. But is also contains camphor and a small amount of capsaicin. The combination of all three can really work wonders for arthritis sufferers. Many people actually prefer the pleasant scent of Sombra Warm to BioFreeze.

As with BioFreeze, give Sombra Warm a few weeks before giving up on it. Also try reducing any oral over-the-counter medicines while on the Sombra Warm.

Want to try something a bit more exotic? Traumeel is a great product that has been used in Europe for decades for arthritis pain. It comes as an ointment, a gel, and as an oral tablet. The tablets are taken 1-3 times a day for adults, and 1/2 tablets for children (they’re very safe, even for kids!).

Traumeel is a blend of herbal extracts which has been shown to help against many different forms of pain, including arthritis pain. If you’re taking an oral prescription or over-the-counter pain reliever, it is highly unlikely that you will run into any problems taking the two together.

But again, experiment a bit a see what works for you.

Here’s another idea. If you like warmth on your arthritic joints, try Salonpas patches. They come in a small 2.5 inch by 1.6 inch size, which are perfect to wrap around an arthritic knee or elbow, especially for overnight use. Just be careful peeling the patch off. It can be a little sticky!

In conclusion, you don’t have to suffer needlessly. With some trial and error and a little patience, you can find the right combination of arthritis pain relievers that will help you reduce your dependence on prescription or over-the-counter drugs, and you’ll feel better in the process!

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Can a donut pillow help my sciatica?

Boy we get this question a lot!

We’ve talked about pain relievers such as BioFreeze in sciatica. Our answer back then was:

Now as anyone with sciatica will tell you, sciatic pain can be far from minor. However, ice is certainly one of the ways we recommend to treat sciatic pain. So in that sense, BioFreeze may help. But we can’t definitely tell you one way or another, as we’re all different.

Herein lies the problem in recommending a specific treatment. Sciatica is difficult to treat! As we have discussed in the past , there are many options. Some patients claim that massage and ice work best, while others prefer stretching. It just depends.

So can a donut pillow help? First, let’s understand what a donut pillow is, what it’s used for, and how to use it.

As the name implies, a donut pillow is simply a seat cushion with a hole carved out of the center. They are made out of foam (contoured donut pillow) or egg-crate, sponge-like material (convoluted donut pillow). They are typically recommended for:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Pregnancy
  • Tailbone injury recovery
  • Anyone who is in a seated position for extended periods of time

So can they help sciatica?

The short answer is yes.

But, again, it depends.

The best answer we can give regarding sciatica is that it is a very difficult condition to deal with. It may take experimentation and a combination of two and three approaches to find the “formula” that works for you.

For example, your sciatica treatment may be a combination of ice, a donut pillow, and massage. But for others, it might be BioFreeze, a massage, and a stretch. For another person, it might be Sombra and a walk. It just depends.

We wish we could give you a secret cure for sciatica. But, regardless of what you might read on the Internet, a simple “magic cure” simply doesn’t exist.

Experiment a bit, and find what works for you. Once you find it, stick with it, and don’t give up!

What is Osteoarthritis?

If you or someone you love suffers from arthritis, you (or they) are not alone. Chances are if you have arthritis, you may have osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, or OA, is a progressive degenerative disease which may eventually destroys the joints it affects. It affects over 20 million people in the United States, and becomes more common with age.

With osteoarthritis, the cartilage, or padding between the bones in the joint becomes worn and thin. This causes increased friction between the bones, which in turn leads to a loss of mobility in the joint. It may also cause new bone growths, or bone spurs, to form around the joints. The end result is you have a joint which is painful and does not move as well as it should.

The older you get, the greater your risk of osteoarthritis becomes. If you are overweight, you are greatly increasing your risk of being affected by this form of arthritis. Once OA begins, being overweight will accelerate the ravaging effects of this disease on your joints. Osteoarthritis can also be caused by joint injury, joint overuse, as well as chronic inflammation. Most commonly you will find symptoms of osteoarthritis in your hands, feet, spine, hips, knees and ankles.

Preventing Osteoarthritis

Prevention consists first of incorporating moderate, low intensity physical activity in your daily routine. Activities such as walking, biking, and use of home exercise equipment such as elliptical trainers or stair climbers performed throughout your lifetime has been proven to make a significant impact on preventing OA. Secondly, reducing your body weight decreases the risk of developing OA. Lastly, preventing injuries to the joints commonly affected by OA will improve the chances of avoiding it.

Managing Osteoarthritis

If it is too late for prevention, your greatest hope is managing your osteoarthritis, as there are no known cures for this condition. Management is available several different ways, depending on the contributing factors to your situation. If obesity is a contributing factor, reducing your weight will greatly reduce your pain and help slow the progression of damage within your joints.

There is no magic pill or bullet to help you lose weight. The best way for you to reduce your weight is through eating smaller portion sizes and increasing your physical activity level. A simple way to eat less is to eat 2/3 of your normal portion size. When done so regularly, you will decrease your food intake enough to help you decrease weight. The beauty of it is that you won’t struggle with still feeling hungry after every meal.

Selecting more fruits and vegetables will also help you eat less, as they are dense foods – foods which contain a large volume of water. Dense foods fill you up faster and cause you to eat less at each sitting. Dark-colored fruits and vegetables, especially those that are blue or purple, have been found to be very rich in agents called phytochemicals, which are greatly beneficial to your health and well-being.

Physical activity doesn’t have to mean exercise. Being physically active means movement more so then hitting the gym and “working out”. Perhaps one of the best methods you can use to increase your physical activity is to begin using a pedometer. Keep track of the number of steps you make in a regular day over the course of two weeks. Then work to increase your steps by 3000 per day for the next 60-90 days. Once this new level of activity becomes habit, re-evaluate your level of activity and work to increase your steps again by another 3000 per day. If you really want to make this program work for you, get a friend to walk with you. Having someone hold you accountable is a great way to improve your compliance to any physical activity program.

Doing resistive exercises which target the joints affected by osteoarthritis has also been found to slow the progression of this condition. The key is to do one set of many repetitions at a very low amount of weight. Elastic bands or weights can be used, and you can very slowly increase the resistance over time.

Supplements which help protect the cartilage in the joints can also be very beneficial to arthritis sufferers. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate have been found to benefit the joints. Another supplement, known as SAMe, or S-Adenosyl-methionine, has been found to be a very effective, although more expensive, approach for osteoarthritis.

Relief from the pain of osteoarthritis without the side effects common to prescription medication can be found in topical analgesics that contain menthol, camphor and/or methyl salicylate. There does not appear to be any harm from using these products on a repeated basis, which lends to their strong popularity.

There are over 40 different medications are currently on the market which are commonly prescribed to deal with the effects of arthritis. Finding the one that is right for you can be expensive, frustrating and potentially dangerous. Getting relief from the aching in your joints as well as the muscle soreness that often accompanies stiff, swollen joints can be a daunting challenge.

Summary

Osteoarthritis is a challenging condition to treat. Exercise and topical pain relievers are the best non-prescription approaches to managing this disease.

Tips to relieve sciatic pain

Have you ever experienced a literal pain in the butt that continues all the way down your leg? Has it ever felt like someone was sticking a hot poker into your leg? If either of these scenarios is familiar to you, you’ve probably suffered from sciatica, a pain in the sciatic nerve. No one experiencing sciatica wants it to stick around any longer than, well, at all, so let’s not delay in discovering how you can make your leg pain a distant memory.

To understand and defeat the beast that is sciatica, it will be helpful to understand what it is and what causes it. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, which starts in the low back and travels all the way down your legs to the bottom of your feet. It controls nearly everything within your legs: from the large hamstring and quadriceps muscles in your upper legs to the smallest blood vessels in the bottom of your feet.

Sciatica is simply an irritation of the sciatic nerve. This can happen several different ways at a few different points in the nerve’s journey from the lower back to and through the leg.

Frequently, sciatic nerve pain is a result of the joints in your lower spine being poorly aligned and putting pressure or stretching on the nerves as they come off from your spine. This problem is called a subluxation and is diagnosed and treated by chiropractors. Sciatica can also commonly occur due to spasm of a muscle in the buttock called the piriformis muscle. The sciatic nerve passes under this muscle as it travels through the pelvis near the hip down to the back of your leg. This problem is frequently treated by physical therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists.

If you aren’t able to get in to the chiropractor or physical therapist right away or you hope to help improve your situation at least in part on your own, here are some tips to help relieve the pain associated with sciatica.

Give it a rest. Exercise is a great asset to getting and staying healthy, but when your sciatic nerve is unhappy, exercise will frequently flare up your problem and slow your progress. Especially if the piriformis muscle is involved, exercise which causes pounding, such as walking, running, tennis, basketball, soccer, etc., will flare the piriformis spasm and put additional strain on the spine in the lower part of the back.

Take a break from your regular exercise routine to give your sciatic nerve a break. If you simply must exercise, try non-impact exercises of the upper body, like resistive exercise band exercise or exercise ball exercises. Swimming may be a helpful alternative to your regular routine as well.

Stretch yourself. Relaxing the muscles in the lower back, buttocks and upper legs through stretching will help reduce the strain on the sciatic nerve and the joints throughout the lower back and pelvis. Always stretch gently and avoid any further stretching if it causes sharp pain or if it aggravates your problem.

Stretching the piriformis muscle can be done several different ways. However, when your sciatic nerve is screaming, the easiest stretch involves lying on your back with your knees bent and pulling one knee at a time up towards the opposite shoulder and holding it for 5-30 seconds. You will know you are getting a good stretch when you feel a mild stretch in the buttocks near the hip.

Chill out. Ice will be your best friend when you are suffering from sciatica. Placing a cold pack or ice pack on the lower spine, tailbone and/or buttock for 20 minutes once every 2-3 hours will help reduce swelling and also reduce pain. It is important to use ice exclusively at the onset of sciatica, as it has been found to decrease the length of time needed for healing.

If after 4-5 days you choose to alternate ice and heat, keep it off from the spine and limit heat use, especially with a heating pad, to no more than 20 minutes. Avoid sleeping while applying heat, as it can cause burns and can dry out the tissues, slowing the healing process.

Get it straight. Your posture plays an important role in the health of your spine. Sitting and standing as straight as is comfortably possible will help to reduce the effects of nerve irritation and get your nerves healing quicker and more completely. Avoid sitting in soft couches or chairs, as they will not give you the support that you need to sit well. Instead, drag a kitchen chair into the living room and spend your time sitting in a more supportive chair. Use a back support cushion in every chair you sit in; whether at work, in the car or at home to help support your back properly.

Move it! While sitting in a straight-back chair is helpful in supporting your lower back and spine, be sure that you aren’t sitting for any longer than 15-20 minutes at a time. Lack of movement in the joints of the spine especially can cause further damage, stiffness and muscle strain. Getting up and moving frequently, even if only to stretch or walk gently around the room will help to keep circulation fresh and facilitate a quicker recovery. Be sure that you stay well within your limits; if you are pushing yourself too hard and it is causing pain, then stop and give yourself a rest.

Get some sleep. Sleep is one of the most critical components in helping start and in maintaining a healing process. When you sleep, your body does its best work of healing and repairs the damage done throughout the day. Following any injury or during any illness, regular sleep is critical in helping your body get the upper hand.

Drink like a fish. To drink like a fish, you need to drink what a fish drinks: water, lots and lots of water. When your body isn’t hydrated properly, the tissues become tacky and adhesions form. If adhesions form, this slows the healing process and causes increased scar formation. Adhesions can form between your sciatic nerve and the surrounding tissues, causing your healing process to be incomplete and leaving you vulnerable to frequent, repeated sciatic episodes.

Put on some relief. Topical analgesics can help alleviate some of the bite of the pain of sciatica while helping soothe the spasm in the muscles of the low back, buttocks and upper leg. Getting even temporary relief from your sciatica can help your healing process by providing you an opportunity to rest or sleep.

Go for a massage. It stands to reason that if your sciatica is due to irritation of the sciatic nerve from spasm of your piriformis, hamstring or lower back muscles, deep tissue massage can be of great benefit to you. Getting a massage or even using a massager at home that is able to get into the deeper tissues of the buttocks and low back may help relieve some or all of your sciatic pain. At the very least, it can help to reduce the stress that commonly accumulates when you are in pain.

Get professional help. It is always a good idea to seek help from a chiropractor, medical doctor, physical therapist or massage therapist when you experience pain in the low back and/or legs. Waiting too long to effectively treat a condition involving your nerves can cause problems as mild as missing time from work all the way up to irreversible nerve damage. It is wise to effectively and completely deal with any problems involving your nerves, as doing so will help prevent similar problems from rearing their ugly head again down the road.

Even if you end up seeking professional help to deal with sciatica, incorporating practical home care can help shorten your recovery time and get you out of pain quicker. If pain in your buttocks and legs is something that you would rather avoid than deal with again, use these tips regularly to give yourself the best chance of preventing sciatica for years to come.