Treating joint problems
by Dr. Larry Wilson —
Joint problems, such as arthritis, are a major cause of disability around the world. The joints are one of the most delicate structures in the human body, and they take a lot of punishment. They often must be rebuilt to offset the constant wear and tear that occurs, especially on the weight-bearing joints.
Medical doctors often do not address the root causes of arthritis but simply prescribe painkillers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which have terrible side effects and can worsen a person’s health. In contrast, nutritional-balancing science can often identify the cause of joint problems and usually correct them at the deepest level.
Basic causes of arthritis
The basic causes of arthritis can be divided into three categories: mechanical, biochemical and biological. Mechanical causes include physical traumas or accidents; misalignments or subluxations of the joints; and problems with the ligaments and tendons that affect the joints.
Biochemical causes include factors, such as nutrient deficiencies; deposits of minerals in the joints, like iron, manganese, calcium and copper; generalized inflammation in the body that affects the joints; and a tendency for tissue breakdown or catabolism that affects the joints.
Biological causes include the presence of infections or parasites that affect the joint surfaces, and stress and psychological factors that can influence body chemistry.
Identifying causes of arthritis
A hair mineral analysis that is properly run and interpreted can assess more than half-a-dozen causes of arthritis. The following are among the most common causes found.
1. Elevated tissue calcium level — A hair calcium level above 70 mg percent may indicate calcium or other mineral deposits in the joints. This is associated with a phenomenon called bio-unavailable calcium.
2. Copper imbalance — Copper is an anti-inflammatory nutrient that is often associated with arthritic changes when the level is out of balance. This is a common occurrence but cannot be seen on blood tests and can be tricky to identify on hair tests, as it is not always the imbalance related to the copper level in the hair.
3. Elevated sodium/potassium ratio — A hair tissue sodium/potassium ratio above 5 often indicates excessive inflammation in the body. It may also indicate acute stress, which can cause arthritic changes.
4. Low adrenal and/or thyroid activity — This is commonly associated with the buildup of toxic metals in the joints and often occurs with generalized inflammation.
5. Excessive tissue breakdown — A ratio of sodium to potassium in the hair tissue less than about 2:1 or a phosphorus level less than 13 mg percent is associated with excessive catabolism or breakdown of body tissues. This can affect any tissue or organ, and it often affects joints.
6. Elevated iron, manganese, copper, lead or other toxic metals — These can contribute to or directly cause arthritic problems by several mechanisms: (1) they may deposit directly in the joints; (2) they can cause an inflammatory response; or (3) they may replace vital minerals in key enzymes needed for joint surface repair and activity.
7. Hair tissue calcium/magnesium ratio greater than about 9.5 — This ratio is associated with too many carbohydrates in the diet, which can cause joint problems.
8. Emotional causes — Emotional imbalances such as anger, rage, resentment and others can stress all body systems and can also cause joint pain.
9. Acidic condition of the body — This extremely common condition is often due to a deficiency in the alkaline reserve minerals.
Eliminating refined starches, white sugar and other poor-quality junk food helps reduce chemical intake and increases nutrient levels. Higher-quality foods must be substituted. Eating many more cooked, not raw, vegetables is very important to increase the intake of the alkaline reserve minerals.
Sugars and yeast — Sugars in the diet can lead to intractable yeast infections. This may occur without specific symptoms — just aches and pains. It is well worth eliminating most sugars, including fruit, juices, maple syrup, honey and even artificial sweeteners. Eliminating refined sugars is impossible without cutting out refined and processed foods. Sugars also unbalance calcium metabolism, stimulate insulin release, increase inflammation and have other detrimental effects on the body that can directly cause joint pain.
Food sensitivity — Some arthritis can be helped by eliminating food allergens. The most common culprits are wheat and soy. I suggest that everyone eliminate wheat and soy products. Some people need to eliminate other foods, at least temporarily. A change in diet can make a huge difference, as it removes the stress from eating nutritionally deficient foods and foods that can cause an allergic reaction.
Gluten intolerance — Many people with arthritis are temporarily gluten-intolerant, another type of food sensitivity. They feel better without wheat, spelt, oats, barley and rye. Unfortunately, these foods are found in most processed and prepared items served in restaurants, bars and elsewhere. It takes vigilance to learn how to avoid them.
The goal is toleration of some food sensitivities so that one’s lifestyle is less restrictive. However, at least for a while, gluten avoidance is an excellent and simple way to assist digestion, heal the intestines and often reduce some joint pain.
Avoid the nightshade family — The vegetables and fruits in this family can be harmful for everyone and often cause joint pain in sensitive people. They include all regular potatoes (although some sweet potatoes and yams are fine), tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, including red and green peppers, and all hot chili peppers.
Omega-3 fatty acids — The omega-3 fatty acids are extremely anti-inflammatory and often help reduce joint pain. Most people are deficient in them due to the way livestock are fed today, among other reasons. An excellent source is found in sardines, provided that one eats three to four cans weekly. Salmon and tuna contain these oils, but they also contain too much mercury. I do not recommend eating any fish other than sardines. Another option is to take a fish oil supplement containing about 900 mg omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin D — This is another anti-inflammatory vitamin that can be very helpful for the joints. Most people need a supplement of 4000 to 5000 iu daily. One cannot rely on sunshine or other methods to get enough vitamin D.
Eating habits — Relaxing at mealtime, eating slowly and chewing thoroughly help the body receive more nourishment from the food and promote better digestion. Taking a digestive enzyme with ox bile and pancreatin is also helpful for most people. Other digestive enzymes are not quite as beneficial. Remember to sit at least 10 minutes after eating before resuming activities.
Rest — Joint pain is usually worse when one is tired and also in the morning because the adrenal glands are exhausted and need more rest to function properly. Most people should strive for 10 hours of sleep. It is also best to go to bed by 9 p.m. because the hours before midnight offer better rest than those after midnight.
Exercise and deep breathing — Gentle exercise a few times per week is excellent. Too much exercise, especially jogging or anything hard on the joints, is not helpful and can cause traumatic arthritis. Deep breathing oxygenates the body, improves circulation, massages the organs and more.
Other therapies — Chiropractic care can be extremely helpful for arthritis that is caused by misalignment of the spine, hips, knees, and even the ankles and feet.
Nutritional-balancing program using hair tissue mineral analysis — In addition to a healthful diet and lifestyle, most people require specific, individualized nutritional therapy to restore and balance body chemistry. A complete nutritional-balancing program includes a diet for one’s metabolic type, about eight or nine carefully chosen nutritional supplements and a healthful lifestyle. It also includes detoxification procedures using sauna therapy and coffee enemas, if possible, and mental/emotional training using the Roy Masters meditation exercise.
Sauna therapy — Daily use of a near-infrared lamp sauna dramatically enhances circulation to the joints, which have a relatively poor blood supply.
The heat of the sauna helps the body fight chronic infections and relaxes tendons and ligaments. Infrared light by itself also appears to be beneficial for joint healing. Saunas powerfully activate the digestive organs that help carry away accumulated toxins. An electric light sauna can be built and installed inexpensively at home.
Coffee enemas — This may sound strange, but many clients report that a daily coffee enema is extremely helpful for reducing arthritic pain and body toxicity.
Many cases of arthritis respond within just weeks to lifestyle and dietary changes, along with a nutritional-supplementation program based on a properly performed hair mineral analysis. If the situation is chronic, months or even several years may be needed to fully restore joint cartilage.
Symptomatic therapy for arthritis
Symptomatic treatments for arthritis can relieve pain and increase mobility; however, they are rarely needed if one follows a nutritional-balancing program. Some symptomatic approaches actually delay deeper healing, and some herbs can create imbalances and increase toxins in the body.
Drug therapy for arthritis
Drug therapy for arthritic pain is a multi-billion dollar business that does not usually cure the problem. Anti-inflammatory drugs, in fact, cause untold disabilities and death due to their adverse side effects. According to the American Medical Association, at least 100,000 hospitalizations and some 10,000 deaths each year are attributed to these drugs. The actual statistics are probably even higher, as many adverse effects go unreported.
Two classes of drugs are often prescribed for arthritis.
Steroids — These types of drugs include cortisone and prednisone, and they can have the worst potential side effects if taken orally for long periods of time. Their use can cause adrenal gland depletion, fatigue, bone loss and osteoporosis. In some cases, these powerful steroids can stop pain within a few minutes; however, do not be misled into thinking this means steroids are the best option.
Steroids also can be injected into a joint to provide temporary relief. The relief can sometimes last a few months or more. Steroid creams are safer than oral ones but can cause skin problems and more.
NSAIDs — These types of over-the-counter medications include Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Excedrin, aspirin and hundreds of other similar compounds that all tend to cause gastric or stomach bleeding, kidney and liver disease, and other problems. However, they are inexpensive and readily available. NSAIDs should be taken sparingly and as a last resort.
Try nutritional supplements as a first line of defense and use all possible natural remedies before becoming dependent on medication.
Joint replacement surgery — Surgery may be more effective than taking anti-inflammatory drugs for many years. However, surgery puts stress on the body and is never without toxicity and possible complications, including death.
Symptomatic nutritional remedies
Symptomatic remedies can help relieve some joint pain, although results are not as permanent as with a complete nutritional program. A natural anti-inflammatory remedy is Wobenzym-N. It is a powerful enzyme preparation with minimal side effects. One must take a number of tablets between meals, but it can be effective. Anti-inflammatory nutrients include omega-3 oils, such as fish oil, vitamin D, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Dietary remedies include eliminating all citrus fruits and, as mentioned above, the nightshade family of vegetables. However, any food can cause a reaction in some individuals.
A multivitamin might help, as can oxygen therapies, such as ozone and hyperbaric oxygen. Colloidal silver and anti-infective herbs may also be useful if an infection is the cause of the problem. Shining a single reddish heat lamp on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes, several times daily, may also reduce joint pain.
While a symptomatic remedy certainly has its place, I find that the best results are obtained using nutritional balancing, which is an integrated and individualized approach. This can get to the root of many causes of arthritis and eliminate them completely, although it may take longer to obtain benefits.
Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree and has been in the health field for more than 25 years. His books include Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis, Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners, Healing Ourselves and Manual of Sauna Therapy and The Real Self. He also co-authored Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease and contributed to The Dangers of Socialized Medicine. drlwilson.com or 928-445-7690.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 5, October/November 2014.