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Joint Inflammation

How to reduce your pain

For people living with joint inflammation, the symptoms are all too familiar. Pain, stiffness, redness, and swelling are common problems which can really have an effect on a person's everyday standard of living. Some patients also experience flu-like symptoms and headaches.

What are some of the causes of joint inflammation?

Inflammation can occur when our immune systems are trying to rid our bodies of harmful substances like viruses and bacteria. The body can develop various diseases when the immune system continues to fight off foreign substances even after they are gone. These are autoimmune diseases, often generally referred to as arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Tendonitis and bursitis are also common problems. Fibromyalgia is another diagnosis that is becoming quite common. Drinking alcohol can be very detrimental to the nervous system and can lead to and worsen symptoms of inflammation in the body.

What are some other specific types of arthritis?

The tendons of the jaw can occasionally become misaligned and swollen, producing a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder. Degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, can occur after a traumatic injury to the joints, such as a broken knee. Over the years cartilage at the injury site can be worn down. Alternately, some elderly people develop this type of arthritis, without necessarily being able to point to any particular trauma that might have triggered it.

Sacroiliac joint inflammation happens when the joint that connects the spine and the pelvis becomes misaligned. This can be brought on by pregnancy, vigorous sports, being overweight, persistent heavy lifting in a job setting or through excessive weightlifting exercises. Your doctor may misdiagnose this condition as sciatica or a herniated disk. If you think you have sacroiliac joint inflammation, it's important to ask for specific tests to ensure you get an accurate diagnosis.

What are some of the treatments available?

Some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDs, include Naproxen and aspirin, which can both be helpful for those suffering from arthritis, headaches and flu-like aches. Some prescription medications include Celebrex and Toradol. Specialists like rheumatologists can help you decide which of these might be right for you.

Some natural health experts say we can reduce inflammation and help slow the breakdown of cartilage by avoiding certain foods, particularly those with a high glycemic index and those of the nightshade family (white potatoes, bell peppers, eggplants and tomatoes are some examples).

Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon and tuna, can be beneficial. For the vegetarian, omega-3s can be found in flax seeds, Spirulina and blue-green algae. Glucosamine and chondroitin is also a helpful supplement.

Canes can provide some relief by shifting weight. In cases in which cartilage has been completely worn down, joint replacement may be recommended. Knee and hip replacements can also provide significant relief.

Are there any websites that can help me find a doctor?

A great way to find a doctor is to call your insurance company or visit their website. You will find doctors who will accept your insurance and you can learn about their qualifications, which makes things much easier than using the phone book.

By Lindsey Feldman

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