Here are my thoughts on arthritis and cortisone shots and why I believe an alternative route will be more beneficial to your quality of life long term.
Education on arthritis:
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of one or more joint spaces. The space between the joints is filled with a special fluid called synovial fluid. You also have similar fluid surrounding other various parts of your body as a protective mechanism to ensure that your vital organs are always protected from external trauma (an accident for example) and internal trauma (chronic disease such as diabetes or auto-immune conditions, chemicals and other sources of toxins).
A great example of other places in your body with a protective sac of fluid is the heart. The heart has a pericardial sac (peri = around, cardium = heart). That sac is also filled with a special type of fluid to help protect the heart.
As you read further, you will begin to learn why this analogy is so important.
So how does the joint space get inflamed?
Have you ever noticed that most people begin to develop arthritis around the age of 40-60? Have you also noticed that the ONLY children that have arthritis are those who also have an auto-immune condition? There is a scientific reason.
Lets focus on the adult that develops arthritis. As a child YOU may have an episode or two that requires antibiotics. This may kill the “bad” bacteria, but it also kills the good bacteria too. As you kill the good intestinal bacteria (probiotics), you weaken the immune system, your internal defense system, as well as the integrity of your intestines (intestinal health). If you are able to repopulate the intestinal bacteria with mothers milk, probiotics, fermented foods and a clean diet then you are back on the road to a healthy immune system.
* Health of your intestines will reduce internal inflammation improving your arthritis.
Part of your digestive health is also the health of your liver. Your liver is responsible for filtering and detoxifying ALL of your toxic waste and build up. I don’t care how “healthy and clean” you think you eat or your life is…your body is still ALWAYS removing waste.
1. Every cell inside your body poops and pees, so to speak. All your cellular waste goes to the liver and the liver then filters out nutrients to be delivered to your body as well as waste to be excreted.
2. The air you breath, the food you eat, the pharma drugs you take, the alcohol and water you drink, the make-up you wear, the chemicals your skin comes in contact with like deodorant, lotions, laundry detergents, perfumes, ect ALL get proceed by the liver too.
And guess what, that isn’t it.
3. The liver also breaks down your hormones (sex hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and progesterone), vitamin D and lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, fats that you eat and more).
So you’re liver is always working and working hard. When the liver gets overloaded or congested it works less efficiently, meaning that it removes toxic waste from your body LESS EFFICIENTLY = more internal toxins = more internal inflammation = more signs/symptoms and PAIN.
* Cleaning up your liver is key to reducing internal inflammation and improving your arthritis.
In medicine, the suffix -itis means inflammation. Arth- means auricular spaces. When someone is diagnosed with arthritis, all it means it that the joint spaces are inflamed.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, my goal is to reduce your joint inflammation, but I can only be successful long term without other health complications or side effects IF I reduce your internal inflammation as a whole!
* The key to success is reducing internal inflammation in addition to using products both topically and internally to aid in the health of your joints and reducing arthritic pain and inflammation.
Why are cortisone shots so bad?
So what is cortisone? Cortisone is a steroid that tells your immune system to stop fighting. When the immune system is silenced, the body stops its natural inflammatory process and the local inflammation decreases.
May sound nice, but inflammation is your bodies way of saying “something is wrong, something is off, something is out of balance, something is not working properly- help!” By ignoring that, you could be doing more long term damage.
Cortisone shots mode of action is to temporarily reduces the inflammation in the space the cortisone is injected, stopping your bodies natural inflammatory response. For some people it works great for a short amount of time. For most, it doesn’t have a significantly positive impact on your pain. And, it is temporary, meaning that you have to go in repeatedly for cortisone injections to keep the pain away. And guess what, the more you use the cortisone and IGNORE the root cause, the quicker the pain will return and the worse it will get over time. AND, other health complications will begin to pop up with the suppression of your immune system and the ignoring of the root cause to your internal inflammation. Not good.
This is where the heart analogy comes in. When the body is being told by an outside source to “shut up and stop showing signs and symptoms of dis-ease”, the body responds by SCREAMING LOUDER. Often times, this means that a more serious health complication will arise. If the body isn’t being listened to, it will continue to show LOUDER signs/symptoms until you choose to listen and cure the root of your imbalance.
In addition, in my experience, when someone has previously been diagnosed with an inflammatory condition such as diverticulosi/-itis, the administration of cortisone often times creates a flare of your other inflammatory condition.
That may seem like a lot of info, but lets think logically here. When the body is inflamed, it is telling you something. Wouldn’t you rather know what it is saying verses telling it to shut up? It’s kind of like a small child that is screaming crying but can’t talk. Do you pay attention to the child to understand what is wrong or do you “make” the child “shut-up” by locking him/her in a room, giving your child a sleeping pill or putting a mussel on?
D- None of the above! That is child abuse.
You love your child and want to understand what is wrong to make a change. Do you love yourself enough to make a change? Sounds like an intense question, but ask yourself, how willing are you to understand what your body needs to feel healthier.
Steps to improving you arthritis:
1. Clean up your digestive health
– diet (anti-inflammatory diet)
– gut repair amino acids
2. Improving your liver health
– castor oil packs
– liver herbs
– liver protective foods
3. Joint anti-inflammatory measures
– Joint specific herbs
– Joint specific topical creams
– Fish Oils (a clean source)