How Our Joints Work
Lets get a better picture of what a joint looks like. All joints whether fixed, hinge, pivot or ball-and-socket are formed when two bones meet. The bones are connected to one another by strong flexible bands called ligaments. Muscles, which provide the pulling force to move the joints, are attached to the bones by tough fibrous tendons . Both the ligaments and tendons are housed in protective mucous sheaths.
A healthy joint is surrounded by a joint capsule, and between the muscles and the joint capsule lie protective fluid-filled pockets called bursae. Within a joint capsule, the bones are protected from wear and tear by a pliable lining made up of cartilage, a smooth sheet-like coating that allows bones to move directly over each other, and synovium, which is more like a cushiony inner-tube that protects and lubricates the joint surfaces as well as brings nourishment to the surrounding tissues. These various tissues and fluids both within and outside of the joint serve as packing and reduce friction between all the moving parts.
If something happens to just one aspect of the joint, it can lead you to experience pain.
Happily, there are so many ways to naturally soothe your pain and calm the inflammation at its root, arthritis or not, including the most inexpensive medicine around: food. Lets look at the possible causes of your joint pain and explore some solutions that will have you moving and feeling like your old self again.
Foods That Trigger Inflammation In Arthritis
Arthritis is a disease of the musculoskeletal system that specifically affects the joints, and is mainly caused by a combination of external factors such as foods, physically demanding jobs, allergies or previous injuries. There are various types of arthritis, but the most common forms are rheumatoid arthritis and infectious arthritis. Arthritis is also one of the major reasons of physical disability among older adults over the age of 55 years. Although there is no known cure for arthritis, the symptoms can be kept under control and joint mobility and range of motion can be enhanced with the help of physical and occupational therapy. Consuming more anti-inflammatory foods and avoiding inflammation causing foods can also help in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And Caffeine: What To Consider
While experts are not sure if people living with RA should limit caffeine, you can probably consume it if you keep a few things in mind.
Whether its served up in the form of hot coffee, iced coffee, energy drinks, soda, or even dark chocolate, Americans love their caffeine. We get about 300 milligrams a day on average, mostly from coffee and other beverages.
Nearly 60 percent of Americans drink coffee each day, making it more popular than any other beverage including tap water, according to the National Coffee Association. The average daily consumption is almost two cups for every adult in the country.
But is caffeine something people living with rheumatoid arthritis should be consuming?
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Can Caffeine Consumption Hurt Your Joints
Some studies suggest that caffeinated drinks may reduce the risk of conditions that cause joint pain.
Mixed results are reported on whether decaf coffee increases or decreases the same risk.
Drinking coffee showed a greater reduction in joint-related disease risk than caffeinated tea.
Joint pain is a symptom of many diseases, the most common being osteoarthritis. Diseases that cause joint pain can be bone diseases or less direct diseases like depression.
There are a number of remedies to help prevent joint pain: maintaining a healthy weight, diet, and exercise. Another trick that you may already be doing is drinking caffeine. In this article, we explore the studies conducted associating diseases that cause joint pain and caffeine intake.
What Foods Cause Inflammation
For the past 5 years or so, there has been a war against sugar and the harmful effects it can have on our health. Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are the two main types of added sugar in the Western diet. Not only can this cause inflammation, but it can also cause our blood sugar levels to rise exponentially.
People with higher sugar diets have more inflammatory markers in their blood, including a marker called C-reactive protein than those who have lower sugar diets.
We know that reading through a bunch of research can sometimes feel overwhelming, so we found this great video by A Sweet Pea Chef on inflammatory foods.
We love how she breaks down everything into easy bites of information. She even has another video on a 5-day anti-inflammatory diet meal plan as well.
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And The Side Of Fries Instead Of Veg
Researchers at Harvard found that after potato chips, potatoes may contribute to more weight gain per serving than any other food and French fries were by far the worst offenders. Extra weight can exacerbate inflammatory arthritis. Plus, it can put increased pressure on your joints particularly your knees, says Christopher Morris, MD a rheumatologist with Arthritis Associates in Kingsport, Tennessee. For every pound a person weighs, about five pounds of stress goes through the knees with every step, he explains. For a 250-pound person, that equates to nearly two-thirds of a ton of stress on the joint.
The good news is that weight loss really makes a difference, says Dr. Morris. For example, losing as little as 11 pounds can decrease the progression of knee OA by 50 percent. One way to shed pounds: eat tons of brightly colored veggies. Theyre low in calories, high in fiber , and provide nutrients that may help fight inflammation. Here are more tips for losing weight when you have arthritis.
Are Mushrooms Good For Arthritis
Mushrooms are good for arthritis patients as they are rich in nutrients and they retard inflammation. They are the richest vegetarian source of vitamin D, which is important in maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and immunity. Other foods which are good for arthritis are:
- Fatty fish like sardines, salmon, and fresh tuna
- Unsweetened cocoa
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A New Study Suggests There May Be A Link Between Drinking Lots Of Java And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Finnish researchers conducted two separatestudies, both examining whether coffee had anyassociation with the development of RA. In the largerstudy of more than 18,000 participants, researchersfound that drinking 11 or more cups of coffee a dayincreased the risk for developing rheumatoid factor, an antibody in the blood that doesn’tnecessarily cause RA but is believed to precede it bya few years. As many as 80 percent of the 2.1 millionAmerican patients suffering from RA test positive forthis factor, convincing doctors there’s a significantassociation between the two.
In the second study of almost 7,000 participants,researchers found that those consuming four or more cupsof coffee per day were two times more likely to developRA than those who drank less. Because there are manytypes of arthritis, it’s important to note that this RA was the type whose onset was associated with positive tests forrheumatoid factor.
The take-home message is caution rather than the need for drasticbehavior change. It might be prudent to say that if you’repredisposed to RA Â whether because you possess theother risk factors or because you have a geneticsusceptibility Â it might be wise to cut back on themorning brew. So, until scientists can pinpoint thedefinite link, do your joints a favor and percolatewith care.
Stashing Kitchen Gadgets In The Cabinets
You like everything to have a place nothing wrong with that. But for the blender you use make your daily smoothies, the right place may be your kitchen counter. And your go-to electronic jar opener should be stored in a top drawer. Set up your home to make life a little easier on you, particularly on the more difficult days, say experts. In the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, keep everything you use often within easy reach. And use specialized assistive tools throughout the day zipper pulls, spring-action scissors, and long shoe horns to help conserve energy and ease pain. These tips can help make cooking easier, and these tips can help with other household chores.
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Nightshade Vegetables Cause Inflammation
Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers all contain the chemical solanine, which some blame for arthritis pain. However, the Arthritis Foundation say that there is no scientific evidence for this. Adding these nutritious vegetables to the diet can have many benefits for chronic health conditions.
Coffee: Health Benefits And Risks
Coffee contains a variety of nutrients and acts as a stimulant. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system to increase alertness, memory, concentration, and physical performance.
Coffee is a low-calorie beverage when drank by itself, with fewer than 5 calories per 8-ounce cup. In addition to caffeine, coffee also provides:
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The Takeaway For People With Ra Who Crave Caffeine
The bottom line is that coffee may be good in some ways but can be bad in others, such as increasing a persons heart rate, says Andrew Wang, MD, PhD, a rheumatologist and an assistant professor of medicine and immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.
I tell my patients to drink coffee if they enjoy it, but not to drink it as medicine, and as always, to listen to their body, Dr. Wang says.
Testing For Inflammatory Markers
There are blood tests for inflammatory markers, such as CRP and alpha-lipoprotein to determine whether women are more likely to develop inflammatory conditions. Trace amounts of CRP are healthy. And there may certainly be a rise in CRP with a local injury or an acute infection. But prolonged elevated CRP levels indicate systemic inflammation. Other inflammatory markers Dr. Stills looks for include fibrinogen and erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Though CRP and other markers of inflammation are easy to test, many conventional doctors arent sure how to treat elevated levels and end up avoiding these tests altogether. But major dietary changes and nutritional supplements that can moderate these inflammation markers.
Many women think they have to accept joint pain and learn to live with it for the rest of their lives . Let us assure you that this is just not the case! Chronic inflammation and its associated diseases can often be overcome or prevented with a number of integrative and natural approaches. Start by looking at your hormonal balance.
Hormones and menopausal arthritis
Lots of women notice joint pain for the first time during perimenopause. Studies have shown that lower estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause are frequently associated with joint pain. Although the relationship between estrogen and our joints is not completely understood, we do know that estrogen has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
Joint pain, nutrition and digestion
Joint Pain And Inflammation
Most forms of joint pain involve some kind of inflammation either local or systemic. When injured, a chain of events in your immune system known as the inflammatory cascade is triggered. In a careful balance of give and take, this process starts with pro-inflammatory hormones calling out for white blood cells to clean up damaged tissue and clear out infection. This is what causes the redness, swelling and pain we often see with injury.
Next, anti-inflammatory compounds take over to heal the area once the threat is diminished. When this process, known as local or acute inflammation, waxes and wanes in response to injury its a sign of a healthy immune system. Yet when the symptoms of inflammation dont disappear, it tells us that your immune system is unable to turn itself off when it should.
Just as the flame of a burning fire can help or hurt, our bodys internal fire has the dual power to heal and to cause us pain. Think of inflammation like a burner on your gas stove local injuries and infections cause our bodies to turn the flame up high in the area of the injury, while with systemic or chronic inflammation, our bodies keep the burner on simmer, even when were not suffering an injury. This slow burn has been associated with range of health conditions and degenerative diseases, including asthma, allergies, skin problems, insulin resistance, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, Alzheimers and yes, arthritis.
Acute Vs Chronic Inflammation
The onset of acute inflammation is quick and its duration lasts from a few days to a few weeks at most. Symptoms of acute inflammation include pain, redness, immobility, swelling and heat. In most cases, acute inflammation is not threatening in terms of long-term health.Chronic inflammation is a more serious condition and can last for months and even years. Symptoms of chronic inflammation include fever, insomnia, weight gain, depression, joint pain, rashes, chronic fatigue, chest and abdominal pain.
When compared to acute inflammation, chronic inflammation poses a more serious threat to long-term health and longevity since it may lead to more serious conditions like cardiovascular ailments, cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disorder, and Alzheimers disease.
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Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some of the early signs and symptoms of the most common form of arthritis rheumatoid arthritis are as follows:
- Numbness and Tingling in Hands One of the main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is a continued tingling and numb sensation in wrists and hands caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. The swelling caused by arthritis compresses the nerves and cause this tingling sensation.
- Foot Problems Yet another early symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is recurring foot trouble. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation and pain in the forefoot and heels caused by plantar fasciitis.
- Hard to Heal Injuries If you had a sprained ankle that is taking too much time to heal then it might be an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Joint Stiffness Stiffness in smaller joints of fingers and toes is a typical sign of arthritis.
- Joint Pain Joint stiffness is accompanied usually by tenderness of joints and joint pain during movement. The most common areas affected by joint pain are shoulders, wrists, fingers, knees and ankles.
- Joint Swelling The first sign of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is swelling of joints that feel warm to the touch.
- Inflammation and pain in joints lead to deformation of the ligaments and tendons, which causes difficulty in straightening the joints, thereby limiting the range of motion.
How Much Coffee Is Ok
The recommended safe amount of caffeine to consume in a day is about 400 milligrams , which is about four 8-ounce cups of coffee per day.
When you’re considering your total caffeine intake remember to consider other sources of caffeine, including espresso, soft drinks, energy drinks, black or green tea, and energy shots. Dark chocolate is another source of caffeine, providing about 20 mg of caffeine per 1 ounce of dark chocolate.
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Insomnia And Other Side Effects
Overdoing it with caffeine, whether from coffee, other caffeinated beverages, or even chocolate, can sometimes produce unwanted side effects that can increase muscle and joint stiffness. For instance, insomnia or trouble getting enough recuperative sleep each night can exacerbate existing joint issues, especially when first waking up.
How To Reduce Inflammation
Theres an ancient saying that we should all let our food be our medicine. While changing our diet cant necessarily work miracles, modern medical advice suggests that if we are suffering from inflammatory responses, it can be tremendously helpful to change our diet. For optimum health, and to reduce any inflammation, we should look at eating more anti-inflammatory foods and possibly taking more anti-inflammatory supplements.
So what are the best anti-inflammatory foods?
Youve probably guessed the answer to this question already. If you want to reduce or combat inflammation, fruit and vegetables are undoubtedly your best friends at mealtimes. Load your plate with colorful berries: the intense dark red of cherries, the deep pink of raspberries, the purple-blue of blackberries, or with the vivid orange of apricots.
Or choose different shades of green to fill your tummy the darker the better. Spinach and kale, both brimming with vitamin K, are excellent choices if youre looking for ways to reduce inflammation, and broccoli and cabbage are both pretty high on the anti inflammatory foods list.
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Not Asking For Help Or Support
Arthritis can be a lot. The pain and disability or loss of function can take a toll on your emotions, increase your levels of stress, and lead to depression or anxiety. A research review published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy suggests stress may trigger an RA flare. Though researchers are still trying to understand the connection between arthritis and stress, what we do know is that seeking support can improve how well you cope and manage your condition. Tell family members and friends how you are feeling, and how they can help when youre feeling particularly overwhelmed. Connect with others who have your same condition through a support group in your community or online . Talk to your doctor if you think you could have symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Is Coffee Bad For You
Actually, on balance, coffee appears to be rather good for you. Even health professionals now agree that there are many benefits to be had from drinking coffee in moderation. There is evidence to show that many conditions may actually be helped by a cup or two of coffee a day, including type 2 diabetes, Parkinsons disease, and some liver conditions.
Coffee beans are actually packed full of naturally occurring chemicals known as phytochemicals which are good for health.
As you get older, you may find that inflammation increases in the form of, for example, arthritis. Since we all know that we need to pay attention to what we eat and drink, since, after all, we are what we eat, and this means its inevitable that we start wondering just how various substances are affecting us. So I set off to find out what causes inflammation, and whether coffee causes inflammation.
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