Arthritis Awareness

Arthritis Myth’s Answered

Consulting a doctor and really asking about the myths and truth behind any medical diagnosis, fear or curiosity is so important to make sure you are doing all you can to keep your health in order!⁠ 

MYTH: Supplements like Glucosamine and chondroitin work for all types of arthritis.

TRUTH: Glucosamine can benefit a subset of people with “wear and tear” arthritis or Osteoarthritis by possibly stimulating the regrowth of cartilage that is worn out. Most individuals can try the supplements for 3-4 months and see if there is an effect on joint pain. Degenerative arthritis IS different from rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis which can result in other organs being affected (systemic inflammation).
For other types of inflammatory arthritis, disease-modifying medications (DMARDs) that block inflammatory chemicals in the immune response are needed.

MYTH: Medications for rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are too risky and I should take herbs or nothing instead.

TRUTH: Although there are so many TV commercials and pamphlets highlighting the side effects of medications used to treat inflammatory arthritis, it is also important to remember that every individual is different and will react to a medicine in his or her own way. A discussion with a physician about the risk:benefit profile for any medication is NECESSARY.
Leaving a disease like RA UNTREATED, can carry serious consequences like heart disease, blood vessel inflammation, strokes, liver, kidney and eye disease. In both RA and PsA, severe joint damage can occur without medications resulting in permanent joint destruction and disability. 

I do consider my patient’s wishes when requesting to be on herbal supplements, however, I am uncertain of all the active ingredients in these herbs and there is a possibility of some supplements affecting organs like the liver where metabolism can occur. 

Herbal medications may also cause a reactive immune response.  Improving your diet with foods rich in essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids may be better than taking a herb. A healthy diet could be beneficial in addition to a therapy approved to treat arthritis.

MYTH: The amount of joint damage on Xray directly relates to an individual’s joint pain and function? 

TRUTH: This not true. Sometimes there might not be serious objective joint damage on imaging however, the person may have substantial pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Also, someone with progressive joint damage on Xray may have minimal symptoms. Studies like ultrasound or MRI can show more details concerning joints, tendons, and ligaments. The bottom line, imaging findings do not directly correlate with the extent of someone’s symptoms.

Stay tuned for more myths!

Disclaimer:  This blog contains my personal opinion based on personal and clinical experience, tips from trainers, health coaches and lastly research.  This blog does not endorse specific treatments, procedures, products.  You should always consult with a doctor, nutritionist, or other healthcare professional to discuss your own health and lifestyle goals and regimen based on your medical history.  Thank you for reading!