Category Archives: osteoarthritis

Spoiler alert – on being 79 years old

First of all, please read and digest the facts contained in the photo below. I very much believe what it says and live my life accordingly. I think it paints a clear picture about the wonderful organic machines that are our bodies. As such, for the most part, I enjoy robust good health riding my bike nearly every day year ’round here in Chicago.

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Nonetheless, at 79 years old I am not a kid any more.. This week I will be going to a physical therapist where I am getting treatments for lower back pains. In between visits to her, every day I do between 20 minutes and a half hour of physical therapy exercises which she has proscribed. I presently am working through some serious lower back pains.

On Friday I meet with a dental specialist who will be consulting on a problem I have under some bridgework on the upper right side of my mouth. That dental structure was put in over 20 years ago and has recently shown signs of age.

While I am not seeing a medical practitioner for the arthritis that afflicts my hands, I rub CBD oil on them regularly and roll Chinese exercise balls around in them to relieve the pain and increase my dexterity. You can read about my experience with CBD oil.

Other than that, President Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

I did not intend this post to be as much of a downer as I fear it may be, but I wanted to put out some of the facts of my life that are indicative of a guy who just turned 79 years old. The good news is that I am retired and need to answer to no one for my time.

I am very happy with my life and once this Midwest weather straightens itself out I look forward to being back riding my bike daily.

But, I also wanted to paint a fair picture of things on this side of the temporal spectrum. 

Tony

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Some tips on arthritis – Tufts

Approximately 350 million people worldwide have arthritis. Nearly 40 million persons in the United States are affected by arthritis, including over a quarter million children! More than 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Approximately 2.1 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
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I have written more than once about the arthritis I suffer from in my hands. Mine is osteoarthritis.  Following is a series of tips from Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

Nonsurgical options for osteoarthritis:

Physical therapy: A therapist can work with you to develop a stretching and strengthening routine to relive symptoms and keep you active.
-Weight loss: If you are overweight, shedding some pounds reduces the pressure you place on your knee joints.
-Walking: For those with milder arthritis, regular brisk walking or even light jogging has been shown in some studies to slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
-Acupuncture: Studies on acupuncture for joint pain are mixed, but some doctors think it’s worth a try for a few months.
-Supplements: Research is mixed on whether glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate and other purported “joint support” supplements relieve pain, with the data trending toward no benefit. But some people feel the pills make a difference.

Here is a breakdown on the two types from the National Institutes of Health.

Osteoarthritis: a disease that damages the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. This allows bones to rub together. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. The condition can cause bone spurs to grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space, which causes more pain and damage. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joints and not internal organs. It is the most common type of arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: a disease that affects your joints. Joints are where two or more bones join together, such as at your knees, hips, or shoulders. Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, swelling and stiffness. If joints on one side of your body have rheumatoid arthritis, usually those joints on the other side do, too. This disease often occurs in more than one joint. It can affect any joint in the body. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you also may feel sick and tired, and sometimes get fevers.

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Is There An Anti-Arthritis Diet? – Tufts

As an arthritis sufferer, hands, anything that might suggest relief from the pain piques my interest.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is from the Tufts Health and Nutrition Update:

The short answer is “We don’t know,” but some studies have linked dietary factors to increased risk of aching joints. For example, some observational research suggests that higher intake of saturated fat, relative to unsaturated fats, is associated with progression of osteoarthritis. Conversely, higher intake of unsaturated fat was linked to less progression.

An author of one of those studies, Jeff Driban PhD, associate professor in the division of rheumatology at Tufts University School of Medicine, says it’s still an open question whether eating specific foods can counter osteoarthritis.

“There have not been any new findings recently,” Driban says, “but it’s true that key advice for osteoarthritis is maintaining a healthy body weight and being physically active.” Driban notes that a 5% to 10% weight loss can produce a significant improvement in osteoarthritis symptoms.

As for rheumatoid arthritis, research is extensive and ongoing to determine if dietary factors can alleviate the condition, which causes pain, disability and disfigured joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition, so foods or diets with anti-inflammatory properties, hypothetically, could have benefits.

“While there is no specific ‘diet’ that people with rheumatoid arthritis should follow, researchers have identified certain foods that may help control inflammation,” says Alicia Romano, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian, Frances Stern Nutrition Center, Tufts Medical Center. “Many of them are found in the Mediterranean diet pattern, which emphasizes fish, vegetables and olive oil.”

When googling for advice on “anti-arthritis” diets, watch out for claims that seem too good to be true, because they probably are. They include not eating nightshade vegetables, like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers; avoiding acidic foods or beverages; drinking cider vinegar (which is acidic, by the way); and avoiding dairy foods.

Instead of relying on pseudoscience, talk to your primary care doctor or arthritis specialist. Driban, vice chair of the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance, says you can find plain-language advice on weight loss and exercise for osteoarthritis here.

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Is there an anti-arthritis diet?

As a person who suffers from severe osteoarthritis in both hands, I would love to add or subtract something from my diet that would alleviate the piercing pain in my palms.

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Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

The short answer is “We don’t know,” but some studies have linked dietary factors to increased risk of aching joints. For example, some observational research suggests that higher intake of saturated fat, relative to unsaturated fats, is associated with progression of osteoarthritis. Conversely, higher intake of unsaturated fat was linked to less progression. Continue reading

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5 Exercises to improve hand mobility – Harvard

I have written numerous times about the arthritis I suffer from in my hands and the various techniques I have tried to relieve the pain. Here is Harvard with five exercises that will restore some of the mobility in your hands.

If you find daily tasks difficult to do because you suffer from stiffness, swelling, or pain in your hands, the right hand mobility exercises can help get you back in motion.

 

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Therapists usually suggest specific exercises depending on your particular hand or wrist condition. Some help increase a joint’s range of motion or lengthen the muscle and tendons via stretching. Other exercises strengthen muscles around a joint to generate more power or to build greater endurance.

Your muscles and tendons move the joints through arcs of motion, such as when you bend and straighten your fingers. If your normal range of motion is impaired — if you can’t bend your thumb without pain, for example — you may have trouble doing ordinary things like opening a jar.

These exercises move your wrist and fingers through their normal ranges of motion and require all the hand’s tendons to perform their specific functions. They should be done slowly and deliberately, to avoid injury. If you feel numbness or pain during or after exercising, stop and contact your doctor. Continue reading

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My experience with CBD Oil for arthritis pain

Last month I wrote a post on CBD Oil as a possible pain reliever for the arthritis I suffer from in my hands. Before you read the current post, I wish you would go back and check out the original from January 18. It is from Medical News Today and has lots of good information in it. This is a quote from that post “CBD is a type of cannabinoid, which is a chemical found in cannabis plants. Unlike delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical found in cannabis, CBD is not psychoactive. This means it does not change a person’s mental state or produce a “high” as THC can.

So, now you know what it is, and isn’t. You can’t get high using this stuff.

On to my experiment experience with it. Of course I went to Amazon because that is where you buy anything. And, of course, they had lots of it. Keep in mind that one can use this oil topically, rubbing it on the skin, or internally, drinking it. Being the human guinea pig, I felt safer with the topical use.

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This is what I bought for $19.99 on Amazon

Continue reading

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Can CBD oil relieve arthritis pain? MNT

Regular readers may remember that I suffer from a severe case of osteoarthritis in my hands. Mine is situated at the base of my thumbs, so it usually hurts me to use my hands. I wrote about this on another venue and someone suggested CBD oil for pain relief. Being completely ignorant of it, I checked it out on the web and have ordered some from Amazon. I will let you know in a subsequent post how/if it worked. Meanwhile, here is what Medical News Today had to say about CBD oil.

Recent studies suggest that cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) could play a role in the treatment of arthritis. What are the benefits of CBD oil and are there any side effects people considering using it should be aware of?

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CBD oil, also called hemp oil, is an oil made from an extract from cannabis plants. Some people use CBD oil to relieve pain associated with chronic conditions, such as arthritis.

What is CBD oil?

CBD is a type of cannabinoid, which is a chemical found in cannabis plants. Unlike delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical found in cannabis, CBD is not psychoactive. This means it does not change a person’s mental state or produce a “high” as THC can.

Continue reading

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Some rheumatoid arthritis cells respond to Vitamin D – MNT

I have written numerous times about the arthritis problems in my thumbs. I suffer from osteoarthritis.This is the most common for of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, however, is also a painful, if less common, affliction. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is recognized as the most crippling or disabling type of arthritis.

After studying immune cells taken from the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis, scientists have found that once the disease sets in, some types of cell lose their sensitivity to vitamin D, according to Medical News Today.

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The team — which comprised researchers from University College London and the University of Birmingham, both in the United Kingdom — reports the new findings in the Journal of Autoimmunity.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that arises because the immune system attacks healthy tissue — usually the joints — by mistake, leading to painful inflammation and swelling.

The disease often affects several joints at the same time, such as the knees, hands, and wrists. It inflames the lining of the joint and eventually damages the joint itself. This can lead to long-lasting pain, problems with balance, and deformity.

Estimates suggest that approximately 1 percent of the world’s population has rheumatoid arthritis, including around 1.3 million adults in the United States. It affects women more often than men, raising the question of whether hormonal factors may be involved.
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Managing arthritis in the hands – MNT

I have mentioned ‘personal posts’ previously. Well, arthritis pains in the hands are something I live with daily. It doesn’t get more personal than this. For the past 15 years. I have had trouble buttoning shirts, jackets, etc. I drop keys and other small objects regularly. Any activity that involves manipulating fingers and thumbs causes pain to me in a greater of lesser degree. I thought this rundown on managing arthritis in the hands by Medical News Today was very thorough. I hope this subject is never more than academic for you.

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This kind of simple activity can be difficult if you have arthritis of the hands.

Many bones in the body, including those of the wrists and hands, are protected by cartilage. Cartilage can wear down over time. As a result, a person can experience a condition known as osteoarthritis.

Another name for this type of arthritis is “wear and tear” arthritis. The most common causes of osteoarthritis include age, repetitive joint movement, trauma, and sex. Genetics can also play a factor in the development of osteoarthritis.

Arthritis in the hands may also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis or post-traumatic arthritis.

Fast facts on arthritis in hands:

Women are more likely than men to experience osteoarthritis.
There is no cure for any type of arthritis in hands.
Treatment focuses on relieving the pain and managing the underlying condition.
In rare instances, a doctor may recommend surgery to repair a severely damaged finger joint.

What types of arthritis affect the hands?

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can affect the hands.

While osteoarthritis is due to degenerative changes in cartilage, RA is the result of an autoimmune condition.

RA occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue that protects the joints. The resulting symptoms can be similar to those of osteoarthritis, including pain, inflammation, and redness.

RA can occur with no risk factors. However, women are more likely to experience the condition than men. Those with a family history of RA, who are obese, or who smoke are also at a greater risk of developing it.

While a person can experience RA at any age, the most common age of onset is between 40 and 60.

A person can also experience post-traumatic arthritis in the hands. This occurs after a person has damaged their hands, such as in a sport-related injury or accident.

Broken or sprained fingers or wrists can also cause post-traumatic arthritis. Injuries can accelerate the breakdown of protective cartilage as well as cause inflammation. Continue reading

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Harvard offers hope for aging knees

I will be turning 78 in January and, thankfully, have yet to experience the kind of knee pain that many of my fellow seniors suffer. My brother, three years younger, got a titanium knee more than 10 years ago. My arthritis pain lives in the base of my thumbs, so I have trouble using my hands. Also, there is no surgery for hand arthritis. Harvard Health Letter has some positive words for those of you who have problem knees.

Stanford professor Michel Serres hikes the Dish on a regular basis.

Knee pain is common in older age, often caused by osteoarthritis (the wearing away of knee cartilage). Fortunately, there are ways to fool Father Time and postpone knee problems or even prevent them entirely. “In many cases, you can delay or avoid the need for surgical intervention, such as a knee replacement,” says Dr. Lars Richardson, an orthopedic surgeon with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

The aging knee

Your knees absorb a huge amount of pressure with every step — typically one-and-a-half times your body weight. That pressure, plus regular wear and tear, takes a toll over time. Muscles and ligaments get weaker. The knee’s two shock absorbers — pads of cartilage called menisci — start to deteriorate. So does the articular cartilage protecting the ends of the leg bones where they meet at the knee. If you have a family history of osteoarthritis, if you’re overweight, or if you’ve had some knee injuries, you may be more prone to this deterioration. Continue reading

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What about arthritis and surgery? Mayo Clinic

Since I suffer from arthritis in my hands daily, I hope I can be forgiven for being the slightest bit preoccupied with it. I was first diagnosed with it, about 15 years ago. At that time I was given an acrylic splint that I wore on my right hand. It partially immobilized the hand, but gave me a lot of functionality as my hand was stronger as a result. Living with pain is an ongoing and developing experience. I am not sure what will be next.

The Mayo Clinic offered the following in the Special Report of its Health Letter:

“Sometimes, more conservative treatments such as medications and physical therapy aren’t enough to relieve your arthritis signs and symptoms. In these cases, a number of surgical procedures may be considered to relieve pain, slow or prevent cartilage damage or restore mobility and stability. Common surgical procedures include:

“* Arthroscopic debridement – A thin tube (arthroscope) is inserted into the joint area through a small incision to suction away loose fragments of bone, cartilage or synovial tissue that may be causing pain. This is particularly helpful in treating ‘mechanical’ symptoms of arthritis, such as catching or locking.

“* Synovectomy – Often done in rheumatoid arthritis, this involves surgically removing inflamed synovial tissue to reduce pain and swelling, and possibly delaying or preventing- joint destruction.

“* Joint fusion – Often done when joint replacement isn’t an option, permanently fusing a joint in the spine, wrist or ankle or foot can reduce pain and improve stability, although flexibility of that joint is lost.

“* Joint replacement – Hip, knee, elbow and shoulder joints – and less commonly some of the joints of the hands – can all be replaced by artificial joints made of various materials. Advances continue to be made in artificial joint durability and the overall success of these procedures. In some cases, less invasive procedures such as partial knee replacement or hip replacements using smaller incisions are helping reduce recovery time. Modified anesthesia techniques, aggressive post-operative rehabilitation and better postoperative pain management are also contributing to quicker recovery times.”

Anecdotally, my brother had a titanium knee put in several years ago and he was discharged from the hospital the same day. That blew my mind at the time and still does.

The report concludes, “You may not be able to make arthritis pain totally go away or do everything that you once could. But you can make the most of what you can do, which includes fully utilizing the medical therapies available to you, leading a joint-healthy lifestyle and maintaining a positive attitude.”

Tony

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Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise? – Harvard

I exercise regularly and I also suffer from severe arthritis of the hands, so the subjects of exercise and painkillers touch me where I live. Following is a very informative write up of painkillers in general and NSAIDs in particular by Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

“Not long ago, I took ibuprofen after a dental procedure and was amazed at how well it worked. Millions of people have had similar experiences with ibuprofen and related medications (called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) when used for a number of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and headache. That’s why NSAIDs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide.”

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Coincidentally, I stumbled across NSAIDs by accident. You can read about it in my post – What about a bubble on my elbow?

“More than a dozen different NSAIDs are available, including naproxen (as in Naprosyn or Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren) and indomethacin (Indocin). Aspirin is also an NSAID, though it is usually taken in small doses for its blood thinning effects (to prevent heart attack or stroke) rather than for pain.

NSAIDs are fairly safe, but not risk free

“The safety profile of NSAIDs is generally quite good, especially when taken in small doses for short periods of time. That’s why several of them, including ibuprofen and naproxen, are available in low doses over the counter in this country and elsewhere. Continue reading

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Is it Okay to Exercise if you Suffer from Arthritis?

Because arthritis sufferers experience pain when they move, many conclude that not moving is healthier because it doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, that is one instance where listening to your body is not the best course of action. I hope the following information will alter that conclusion.

First, some startling statistics on arthritis from Ashley Boynes.

Some 50 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That’s 22 per cent of the population, more than 1-in-5 adults!

Arthritis costs the US economy $128 BILLION per year.

Sad statistic – 31 per cent of US 18-64 year olds with arthritis either can’t work, or report work limitations.

Arthritis is the number one MOST COMMON disability.

Some 32 percent of veterans surveyed in 36 States had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared with 22 percent of non-veterans, representing a 50 per cent increased risk for arthritis for veterans.

More than 1,000,000 joints will be replaced this year alone.

To answer the question about suitability of exercising with arthritis, I recently attended a Northwestern Memorial Hospital Healthy Transitions presentation on Arthritis and Exercise.
Continue reading

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5 Ways to manage arthritis pain – Harvard

No one has to explain arthritis pain to me. I have lived with it in both my hands, at the base of my thumbs, for years.

Arthritis is a painful problem that can interfere with your ability to do the things you enjoy. But you can take steps to manage arthritis by protecting your joints, reducing discomfort, and improving mobility.

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Physical or occupational therapists can be very helpful in teaching you how to modify activities and accomplish daily tasks more easily in order to manage arthritis. But there are simple things you can do for yourself, starting today. Here are five of them:

Keep moving. Avoid holding one position for too long. When working at a desk, for example, get up and stretch every 15 minutes. Do the same while sitting at home reading or watching television. Continue reading

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Running actually reduces some inflammation – Study

Running may also slow the process that leads to osteoarthritis

As regular readers know, I ride my bike nearly daily,  here in Chicago. A hundred years ago, it seems, I ran daily. I stopped running because I enjoy bike riding more.

We all know that running causes a bit of inflammation and soreness, and that’s just the price you pay for cardiovascular health. You know; no pain, no gain.

Running

Well, maybe not. New research from BYU exercise science professors finds that pro-inflammatory molecules actually go down in the knee joint after running.
In other words, it appears running can reduce joint inflammation.“It flies in the face of intuition,” said study coauthor Matt Seeley, associate professor of exercise science at BYU. “This idea that long-distance running is bad for your knees might be a myth.” Continue reading

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Daily aspirin benefits outweigh risk to stomach – Study

As a daily consumer of aspirin for the arthritis in my hands, I was pleased to run across this new study from Cardiff University on the drug’s benefits.

Stomach bleeds caused by aspirin are considerably less serious than the spontaneous bleeds that can occur in people not taking the drug, concludes a study led by Cardiff University.

 

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Published in the journal Public Library of Science, the extensive study of literature on aspirin reveals that while regular use of the drug increases the risk of stomach bleeds by about a half, there is no valid evidence that any of these bleeds are fatal.

Professor Peter Elwood from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Although many people use aspirin daily to reduce the risk of health problems such as cancer and heart disease, the wider use of the drug is severely limited because of the side effect of bleeding from the stomach…”

“With our study showing that there is no increased risk of death from stomach bleeding in people who take regular aspirin, we hope there will be better confidence in the drug and wider use of it by older people, leading to important reductions in deaths and disablement from heart disease and cancer across the community.”

Professor Peter Elwood, School of Medicine
Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death and disability across the world, and research has shown that a small daily dose of aspirin can reduce the occurrence of both diseases by around 20-30%.

Recent research has also shown that low-doses of aspirin given to patients with cancer, alongside chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, is an effective additional treatment, reducing the deaths of patients with bowel, and possibly other cancers, by a further 15%.

The study ‘Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials to ascertain fatal gastrointestinal bleeding events attributable to preventive low-dose aspirin: No evidence of increased risk’ can be found in Public Library of Science.

Tony

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