Home // Rheumatoid Arthritis and Natural Healing
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is chronic autoimmune inflammatory disorder, in which the body attacks the joints and other tissues, and attempting to cope with it can be devastating. It tends to primarily affect the small joints of the hands and feet, but it can potentially attack any joint in the body, as well as the internal organs. In addition to causing damage, deformity, and loss of function in the joints, RA can cause lung disease, atherosclerosis (fatty plaques in the arteries), eye inflammation, subcutaneous nodules, lowering of white blood cell count, lymphoma, and other serious complications. Women are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with RA than men.
Most patients with RA—80 to 85 percent—suffer some joint damage from the condition, with most of that damage caused within the first two years after onset. Traditional medicine therefore tends to treat the condition aggressively, with cocktails of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), corticosteroids like prednisone, and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS), intending to reduce inflammatory and suppress the action of the immune system that is causing damage. But these drugs come with side effects that can also be hard to endure, such as gastrointestinal damage, accelerated osteoporosis, liver toxicity, and increased risk of infection.
Not treating rheumatoid arthritis is not an option, because the risk of mortality increases dramatically. Those with RA who don’t receive treatment are twice as likely to die as unaffected people of the same age. However, faced with a lifetime of dependence on multiple pharmaceuticals, more than one RA patient has asked if there is a natural way to reduce inflammation and manage their disease rather than relying on drugs. The answer is yes.
Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the lining of the joints, causing joint swelling and stiffness. In addition, patients may experience systemic symptoms like fatigue, fever, depression, and malaise. When the disease has been persistent for some time, RA typically causes a characteristic symmetrical joint swelling, but this isn’t always the case when only a few joints are affected at the beginning of the disease. Swollen joints feel warm and tender to the touch, as well as being stiff, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
As with other autoimmune disorders, RA’s symptoms can come and go, alternating periods when swelling and pain fade or disappear with flare-ups when symptoms increase in severity. Not knowing when a flare-up might occur, as well as coping with one when it does, only increases the stress of living with a condition that can cause cumulative damage throughout the body. That anxiety, unfortunately, can increase the likelihood of another flare-up.
Just as traditional medical treatment for RA focuses on reducing inflammation, a natural healing approach is centered on lowering the inflammation that causes pain and damages joints. However, we focus on enlisting the body’s natural ability to heal itself for sustainable benefits without negative side effects that can impact a patient’s quality of life.
This approach starts with the diet. What we eat is the foundation of our health, and for someone with an autoimmune disorder, it is essential that the food they eat be healthy, unprocessed, and specifically chosen to meet their body’s needs and avoid triggering foods. At the Natural Healing Center, we use Nutrition Response Testing to determine exactly what nutrients are needed to reduce inflammation and modulate immune response, creating an optimal nutrition plan without a nerve-wracking, drawn-out trial-and-error process. We can also recommend whole-food supplements that can help reduce pain, improve movement, and lower inflammation.
Patients with RA are also strongly advised to lower their stress levels to help maintain overall good health and keep flare-ups at bay. Regular exercise can be helpful, especially activities like yoga and tai chi, as long as you’re careful not to overexert yourself, especially during a flare. Mindfulness techniques like meditation or keeping a gratitude journal can also help to keep negative emotions from taking over. The Natural Healing Center can also support your efforts to manage your stress and reduce inflammation with modalities like Emotion Code, NovoTHOR, Bemer, and therapeutic massage.
At the Natural Healing Center, we understand that living with a chronic condition like RA requires a long-term vision for overall wellness, not a quick fix designed to paper over today’s symptoms. We’re focused on preventing problems before they occur by rebuilding your health and eliminating the cause of painful, troubling symptoms. We’ll create a treatment plan personalized just for you, incorporating the treatment techniques best geared to support your physical and mental health. If you’re ready to take back your life from RA, contact us here for your free initial consultation.