Achy joints and limited mobility from arthritis are enough to make anyone hunt for a quick fix.
Often the “solutions” you find sound good, but are they really helpful? Sometimes popular arthritis treatments are unhelpful at best… and at worst can cause life-threatening side effects.
So before you jump onto the next arthritis treatment that sounds good, check to make sure it’s not one of these popular arthritis treatments you should avoid. Because in a moment you’re about to discover the most worthless, questionable and riskiest arthritis treatments commonly used.
The Most Mistaken Arthritis Treatment
Let’s start with one of the most popular arthritis “treatments” which actually isn’t a treatment at all… yet arthritis sufferers repeatedly – and mistakenly – take this approach to help their arthritis pain: avoid exercise.
One might believe abstaining from exercise is common sense. Osteoarthritis is, after all, a set of symptoms associated with joint degeneration caused by wear and tear on your joints. So why not take it easy on them?
The problem is avoiding all exercise actually contributes to pain and stiffness in your joints as you fail to move them adequately. While some high-impact exercises using your arthritic joints may need to be avoided, starting an exercise program using the pattern described below can help reduce your arthritis symptoms by keeping muscles strong and joints flexible:
- Begin by exercising slowly, lightly and with limits to avoid aggravating symptoms – moving each joint helps lubricate the joints and stretching nearby muscles
- Incorporate strengthening exercises into your routine – this helps stabilize your joints and helps your body improve circulation, bringing in oxygen and nutrients to the area which decrease inflammation, stiffness and pain
- Increase the rigorousness of your exercise routine and time spend exercising as your body recovers and strengthens – listen to your body for cues to avoid overdoing exercise too quickly
The Most Confusing Arthritis Treatments
ICE OR HEAT
One of the most confusing arthritis treatments is the question of whether cold or heat is better for pain relief. The reason for the confusion lies in the fact there are two primary – yet quite different – forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
I called on my good friend, Healthy Back Institute® Medical Advisory Board member and chronic pain specialist, Dr. Mark Wiley to help straighten this dilemma out. Here’s his personal advice on using heat vs. cold for arthritis:
Never use HEAT on an INFLAMED area (for whatever reason). Heat causes blood and fluids to move into the area, expanding the area. This makes an inflamed area worse.
Never use ICE on a SPASMED area, as Ice CONTRACTS and makes tighter, preventing blood and fluids from entering area.
Osteoarthritis in the knees, hips and neck often engage supporting muscles around the affected joint to stabilize the arthritic area. As such, the muscles become tighter (contracted) and so HEAT is the answer to relieve the pain by relaxing the muscles, bringing fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients into the area thus decreasing the “compressive force” on the arthritis joint.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an auto immune disease that is characterized by hot, swollen, inflamed joints. This pain requires ICE to cool, reduce swelling, decrease pain by preventing too much fluids into the are and numbing the area and pain receptors and cooling the joint area.
So in summary…
For RA: No heat, just cold.
For OA: Heat is great… cold can help when spasm is not there (but when in spasm, no ice).
The Most Dangerous Arthritis Treatment
If you’ve heard me talk about painkillers before this won’t be a surprise at all: painkillers kill.
I understand when the pain gets severe you may still need to reach for something to help you make it through the day. But the goal is to reverse the arthritis itself (or the cause of any pain you’re experiencing) so the painkillers aren’t necessary in the first place.
I’ve previously shared my list of the five most dangerous painkiller drugs, but is there one that stands out as especially dangerous for arthritis sufferers? It turns out there is according to a review published in Rheumatology News a couple years ago.
After a careful examination of over 12,000 elderly rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthitis patients taking opioids, NSAIDs or coxibs for their arthritis pain, researchers found all of these drugs were high risk for adverse events. But those taking opioids for pain were especially vulnerable to bone fractures, myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure.
Overall, those using opioids for arthritis pain had a 64% greater risk of dying from any cause than those using either NSAIDs or coxib drugs.
The Most Invasive Yet Worthless Arthritis Treatment
One of the most invasive arthritis treatments is also considered by many – even in the conventional medical establishment – to be the absolute worst option. I’m talking about arthroscopic surgery.
Yes, I understand arthroscopic surgery has been around for decades. And your doctor may even prescribe it for you. Politely decline.
“A doctor who says arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn cartilage or clean out a joint will relieve arthritis pain is doing a huge disservice to a patient. This type of minimally invasive surgery does nothing to relieve arthritis pain… Some patients are actually worse off because their joint becomes inflamed after surgery.”
And that doesn’t even count possible post-surgical infection and other complications. All from a procedure that is highly unlikely to help your pain and may make it worse.
The Most Useless Arthritis Treatment
Let’s get personal here. The most useless arthritis treatment is the one that doesn’t work for you.
It doesn’t matter whether it worked for your friend, co-worker or family member. If it doesn’t work for you, it’s time to try something else.
The key question is how long should you give any given treatment to work? After all, your arthritis didn’t happen overnight so you should expect some recovery time for the long-term relief you’re looking for. Especially if you want your body to repair the damage arthritis has wreaked on your joints rather than just mask the symptoms.
According to Dr. Wiley, you should diligently follow a protocol for three months to allow it ample time to work. If by that point you haven’t noticed a definite improvement, it’s time to try something new.
I’ll add that often it takes multiple approaches to achieve 100% relief. One treatment might give you significant relief – which is great. It’s still progress. But you might need to add something to that approach to get the complete healing you’re looking for.
What Really Works to End Arthritis Pain
Have you tried – and failed – to get long-term relief from arthritis pain? Are you concerned about the long-term effects of using drugs to mask the pain?
The good news is there are still many options available to you. Yes, even natural options without the risks of surgery or painkillers.
In his brand new book, Arthritis Reversed, Dr. Wiley lays out the proven facts about arthritis: simply and without big medical jargon.
He goes on to share the most helpful arthritis treatments both conventional and alternative medicine has to offer. Best of all, he leaves you with a personalized arthritis treatment plan to help you get lasting relief as your joints heal to become pain free and flexible again.
That’s because right now I’m giving away 1,000 copies of Dr. Wiley’s new book – absolutely free! All you pay is the cost of shipping it to you. (Yes, I’m talking about an actual free hold-in-your-hands book, not some PDF you have to sit at your computer for hours reading.)
If you or a loved one is struggling with arthritis, it’s time to find out what really works. Ask for your free copy of Arthritis Reversed now while copies are still available.
Moon, M. Elderly With Arthritis: Opioids Riskier Than Other Analgesics. Rheumatology News. 2011 Jan.
Wiley, M. Arthritis Reversed. Tambuli Media. 2013.