Arthritis is well-managed using naturopathic medicine.
Arthritis refers to inflammation of joints: the most common types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Less common types of arthritis may be associated with other conditions that can affect other parts of the body (e.g., psoriasis which affects the skin).
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an autoimmune reaction: your body’s immune system “attacks” the lining of the joint capsule (the tough membrane that encloses all joints).
Osteoarthritis is caused by “wear and tear” on joint cartilage, the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones. Long-term “wear and tear” may result in bone opposing directly on bone, causing pain and restricted movement.
With time, joint inflammation may result in damage to the joints. Surgery is often required, and permanent joint disfigurement is possible.
Seek professional healthcare if you experience persistent discomfort and swelling in your joints, or if you have joint swelling or stiffness lasting longer than a few weeks.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Possible symptoms of arthritis include:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling and redness
- Joint stiffness and decreased range of motion
- Weight loss
Arthritis Treatment at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goal of arthritis treatment is significant or complete pain reduction, and prevention of disease progression.
Conventional treatment for arthritis may include physical therapy or surgery, and a variety of medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and immunosuppressant’s. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment as an alternative to conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your arthritis symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating arthritis may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., weight management, sedentary lifestyle) or general health (e.g., underlying disease condition causing joint inflammation [e.g., gout], existing untreated injury) that may be contributing to your arthritis symptoms
- Reduce inflammation and pain using Bowen Therapy, Suikodo™, acupuncture or botanical (herbal) medicines
- Increase joint cartilage integrity using nutritional supplements
- Identify and remove triggers of immune system using laboratory assessment
- Reduce tendency for inflammation using nutritional counseling
- Reduce tendency for autoimmune response using botanical (herbal) medicines and nutritional supplements
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Arthritis [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2009 Feb 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arthritis/DS01122.
Rheumatoid arthritis [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2009 Feb 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020.
Osteoarthritis [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2009 Feb 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteoarthritis/DS0001.