Inflammation occurs when the body is using its defence mechanism to fight against infection. Inflammation has five symptoms redness; heat, swelling, pain, and sometimes a later cessation in the use of the joint. Wherever inflammation occurs, there is an increased supply of blood to the area which manifests itself as redness and heat. To protect against redness and heat chemicals from the bodies’ white blood cells are released into the bloodstream to shield the affected tissue from foreign particles. These chemicals cause fluid to leak into the tissues, and this manifests itself as the swelling. The swelling process stimulates the nerve endings and results in pain.
Joint inflammation is known as arthritis, the most common type being osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis has been caused by wear and tear on the joints, and is more common in the elderly. Although it can strike any joint it is more common in the knees, hips, and the finger joints. Where osteoarthritis occurs, the bony parts of the joint develop growths called spurs. These spurs put pressure on surrounding tissue, and result in inflammation. Because traditional treatments can have side effects many arthritis sufferers look to alternative therapies to be used either in conjunction with traditional medicines or to replace traditional medicines for arthritic pain relief. Acupuncture has been used for centuries by the Chinese to control pain and it can be used as a stand alone treatment or in conjunction with traditional drugs. A side effect of cortisone treatment is that it suppresses the immune system, and a healthy immune system is crucial to allow the body to fight of infections.
Omega 3 oils found in oily fish will reduce naturally inflammation, as will pumpkin seeds, walnuts and flax seeds. When combined with vitamin E, they are especially helpful in reducing inflammation. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, such as olive oil and rape seed oil, nuts, leafy green vegetables. Allowing the body to make the best uses of vitamins for healing is also important. Direct injections of vitamin B12 have been proved effective in reducing inflammation.
Vitamin A protects the cellular walls, and can contain and reduce the severity and size of swelling. More clinical trials are needed in relation to different types of inflammation, but a cream containing vitamin A, may help most sufferers. Zinc and copper both play a part in the healing process; zinc has an analgesic effect, in addition to being able to reduce swelling. Chondroitin is currently manufactured from natural shark and beef cartilage or it can be produced synthetically. It is often combined with glucosamine, and glucosamine is necessary to produce glycosaminoglycans, which are a major component of joint cartilages. It is intended to keep the cartilage supple and improve mobility.
However glucosamine is generally extracted from shellfish and anyone who has a shellfish allergy may not find it suitable. It is possible to purchase glucosamine made from corn. The benefits of glucosamine have been proved by several clinical trials run by the manufacturers’, but independent trials have had unclear and mixed results. As the product generally does not have any side effects, nothing will be lost by tying the product to see if it assists in natural pain relief for arthritis.
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