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Arthritis Awareness

Arthritis by definition means inflammation of the joints and for the most part is divided into Autoimmune arthritis’ (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis), septic arthritis due to an infection and osteoarthritis (OA).

OA, the most common form of arthritis, is related to aging and the long-term wear and tear on the joints that is seen.  Previous injury or other trauma can also impact the severity that OA is experienced by an individual.  Unlike the other forms of arthritis, OA is not primarily an inflammatory condition (although there is usually some underlying chronic inflammation present) and has to do more with the loss of the cartilage surrounding the joints.  Symptoms can vary greatly from some mild stiffness in the morning to tenderness or severe pain and loss of function or locking of the joint, as well as increased fluid around the joint (an effusion).  As the disease progresses, bony calluses can form at the joints leading to more restrictions and pain.

Conventional treatment usually lies in pain management through analgesics.  Acetaminophen is your typical first line therapy followed by NSAIDS if the pain relief is not good enough.  Weight loss and exercise are also recommended and if the symptoms keep on progressing then a joint replacement surgery might be recommended.

There is so much that can be done from a Naturopathic medicine standpoint, including pain management, reducing inflammation in the body, strengthening current cartilage and preventing its further destruction and overall providing a healthy lifestyle modifications.

These can include:

  • Acupuncture to help with pain management
  • Exercise prescription
  • Manual therapy
  • Bracing
  • Hydrotherapy and Castor Oil packs
  • Nutritional and supplemental interventions
    • Many people who increase the good omega-3s in their diets and decrease the omega-6s and trans fats have decreased pain and stiffness
    • Glucosamine and Chondroitin can help prevent further degeneration of the cartilage, decreasing the progression of the disease.
  • Herbal Remedies
    • There are some wonderful herbal remedies that have powerful anti-inflammatory and/or pain relieving effects, and you might even find some in your kitchen!

Another great intervention is Yoga, which helps to increase strength and flexibility, and has been shown to decrease stiffness and pain.  There are yoga classes out there for people with different forms of arthritis, or if you talk to your yoga instructor before class they can let you know which poses are safe and which should be avoided.

For more information or to see how Naturopathic Medicine can help with your arthritis symptoms please contact Dr. Joanne, ND.

Protect Yourself From the Heat

During extreme heat events conditions of high temperature and humidity are present, which can increase your body temperature, especially during physical activity. Hot air and exposure to direct sunlight or hot surfaces can also heat your body. This heat is lost by contact with cool air and by sweat productions, which cools your body as it evaporates. Weather conditions play a big role in how your body regulates its temperature; in windy conditions sweat evaporates faster, which helps to cool you. Conversely, high humidity slows down this process, leading to increased body temperature.

The extreme heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, however, those most at risk are:

  • Older adults/infants and small children
  • People with chronic illnesses, such as breathing difficulties, mental illness or heart conditions
  • People working in the heat
  • People exercising in the heat

Heat illnesses can lead to long-term health problems and even death. These illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, fainting, edema (swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps and are mainly caused by over-exposure to heat or over-exertion for a person’s physical condition in combination with dehydration.

Heat illnesses are preventable! During very hot weather, the most important thing is to keep cool and stay hydrated. Following these 5 steps to protect yourself in very hot weather.

  1. Prepare for the heat- make sure that your air conditioner is working and that you are not out for prolonged periods of time by yourself in heat, there will be nobody to notice the signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  2. Pay attention to how you, and those around you, feel– watch for signs and symptoms of heat illness, which include:
    1. Dizziness or fainting
    2. Nausea or vomiting
    3. Headache
    4. Rapid breathing or heartbeat
    5. Extreme thirst
    6. Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine

If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately move to a cool area and drink lots of liquids- water is best!

  1. Stay hydrated- drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration.
  2. Keep cool- dress for the weather and make sure that your home, car and office are kept  cool
  3. Avoid exposure to very hot temperature when outdoors- Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle; reschedule or plan your outdoor exercise/activities during cooler parts of the day;  avoid sun exposure by staying in the shade, wearing a wide brimmed hat, or sitting under an umbrella.

Benefits of Exercise!

Do you want to feel better, boost your energy levels, and even decrease your risk of chronic disease? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then regular exercise may be just what you need and Apple Creek is here to help!

There are endless benefits that we can get from regular exercise, regardless of age, sex, and baseline fitness level. Here are just 8 ways that exercise can benefit you:

1. Improve your mood- Physical activity stimulates the release of brain chemicals, such as endorphins, which will make you feel happier and more relaxed after working out.

2. Combat chronic disease- Regular exercise can also help you to prevent, or manage, high blood pressure. It can also help to control your cholesterol by booting your “good” cholesterol (HDL) while decreasing the “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Lowered blood pressure in combination with decreased bad cholesterol keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries. Regular physical activity has also been proven to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.

3. Promote better sleep habits- Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep, which in turn will leave you feeling more rested, productive and in a better mood the next day.

4. Boost energy levels- Regular Physical activity helps to make your cardiovascular system more efficient as well as the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. When your heart and lungs and muscles work more efficiently, you’ll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.

5. Manage weight- When you exercise you burn more calories, both during and following your work out, you increase your metabolic rate, and you decrease your percent body fat while increase your lean body mass. This will leave you feeling and looking better!

6. Decrease risk of osteoporosis- Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise and strength training, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and can even reverse it buy building bone tissue.

7. Enhance coordination and balance.

 8. Fun- Exercise doesn’t need to be an individual activity; it can be a great way to spend quality time with family and friends! Go for a hike, a bike ride, a round of golf or try something new and exciting…like one of our fitness classes.

Apple Creek offers both one on one personal training and group fitness classes to help you reach your fitness goals. Please check out the performance lab section on our website or contact the clinic for details as to how we can best help you!