Today’s bit of alternative health research is about arthritis.
This morning I woke up to an unfamiliar feeling of pain in my right index finger. Motherf*****, I thought to myself. Is this ARTHRITIS? Not yet another thing!
I remembered the hands of my grandmothers, Lois, Renee and Saree. In their 80s, their hands had become so swollen and twisted by arthritis that none of the fingers lay straight. They’d earned those hands through years of hard work…
And then I took a deep breath and tried to think reasonably. I figure that it’s probably yet another part of the whole problem. My body’s currently like a four year old acting out in order to get attention. The Rituxan therapy seemed easy enough, but perhaps it depleted my body in ways that I’m still figuring out.
After I stopped freaking out, I did what any good child of my dad would do, and dug straight into research.
What helps cope with or reduce arthritis?
First I looked at a few Western medicine websites. These explained that pain blockers like Motrin help reduce the inflamation, but a common side effect is stomach cancer. Um, been there, done that, moving on. Western medicine also recommends that people lose weight to reduce pressure on joints, and do physical therapy to increase mobility. Fair enough.
Alternative medicine websites indicated that acupuncture can help, and these sites also mentioned physical therapy and nutrition. Research also suggests that meditation helps to improve symptoms of arthritis by reducing stress, which is one of the triggers.
Following a lead on nutrition, I pondered the fact that while I was doing chemotherapy, I ate a pretty healthy diet. I eliminated meat, focused on vegetables and fish, and cut caffeine. This was pretty beneficial to my system. I had few headaches and no colds at all while I was going through treatments. This article seems to point to the fact that the same diet, with an emphasis on fish and dark leafy greens, is good for arthritis too.
After treatments I added meat and a lot of dairy back to my diet, with the disasterous results that I discussed over here. After a few days of a veggie-heavy diet with no dairy and little meat and no caffeine, I’m on the path toward health again.
But seriously, why the arthritis? Am I not already eating pretty healthily?
Then it struck me, something so simple that I feel kind of silly writing an entire blog post about it: What I lack right now is water!
The direct connection is here, through this Ayurvedic text about the connection between water and arthritis: “Waste buildup and an accumulation of undigested food are results of these toxins. Toxins are able to build up in our system due to poor digestion.”
This made a lot of sense to me, and once again underscored what I know to be true, that my whole body is a system that works/doesn’t work together. So my digestion issues have accumulated toxins in my blood, which I haven’t yet flushed out, and they’ve pooled up and exacerbated arthritis. It’s time to drink more water and flush the toxins out of my system!
- Western medicine:
- Alternative medicine/nutrition:
- Eating right with arthritis, including a great Q&A about different foods and a list of the mercury content of various fish.
- And this excellent article from the Huffington Post that explains what foods to eat and what to avoid.