How about Stinging Nettles?

Gentle Reader,

If I could tell you why some days I wake up with no pain whatsoever– like today– and catalog the food I ate yesterday, the stretches I made, the delicious sleep, the supplements, the aerobic activity—why surely I would have a recipe for a pain free life.  I cannot. I cross country skied on Wednesday; stayed up too late fussing over numbers; ate on the run, albeit extra nutritious homemade vegetable-drawer soup; got tied up in knots over the traffic delays.  You know the drill.  I took no herbal pain pills today and no Aleve.  Instead of analyzing the good things in life that seem to happen randomly, I suggest robust all out celebration and thanksgiving.

I will offer you some spicy advice that came to me from a good friend who faithfully reads these pages and a few others from the web which she passes on to me when relevant.  I especially appreciated her reprint from NaturalNews.  Since I harvested stinging nettles on my walk Tuesday, being careful to wear gardening gloves, I am eager to eat them and see what they do for me. See the article below for details.  Stinging nettles are abundant in the northwest right now, small plants with tender leaves.  All the sting goes away with cooking.  If you try it, let me know how it goes. It’s inexpensive to try these natural remedies from the kitchen cupboard, way-side and grocery store.

Relieve arthritis and joint pain with home remedies

 (NaturalNews) Homemade remedies for arthritis, gout and other joint pain are never farther away than the kitchen cupboard or the refrigerator. Joint disease is the result of various causes ranging from aging, to over-use and autoimmune diseases that attack joints and surrounding tissue. Pharmaceutical companies have designer drugs that reduce inflammation to help relieve pain and often cause significant side effects. The ingredients for homemade remedies can be purchased at grocery and health food stores and many may already be stocked in your pantry, offering significant savings over costly pharmaceutical drugs.

Anti-Inflammatory triad

On their own, turmeric, ginger and bromelain work as effective anti-inflammatory agents. Each works to relieve pain, stiffness and swelling. In combination, they provide a powerhouse of natural medicine. The three substances are synergistic to one another, each boosting the other’s effectiveness…

Stinging nettles

Homemade remedies from stinging nettles are numerous. A traditional herbal treatment, stinging nettles are used to relieve symptoms of joint pain, arthritis and gout. A tea can be made from the dried herb or the fresh leaves. Use caution and wear gloves if harvesting fresh nettles. As their name implies, the little hairs on the plant can cause serious skin reactions including hives and other painful outbreaks. These are neutralized when heated into tea or when the plant is dried. The tea can be consumed hot or cold or used as a topical soak for painful joints.

Cayenne pepper

Found in most spice cupboards and known for its spicy-hot taste, cayenne makes an excellent topical ointment that relieves joint pain. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper, tricks the brain by causing local irritation to skin where signals then travel along nerve pathways, distracting the brain from the true source of pain. In time, repeated topical applications of cayenne pepper will reduce arthritis pain significantly. To make topical homemade remedies, mix 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper with 1/2 cup of cocoa butter, lanolin or coconut oil. Apply it directly to the sore joint. Alternatively, mix 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and add to a foot bath with warm water. Soak hands or feet for 20 minutes, then rinse. Cayenne pepper can cause skin irritation.  (I have not tried this, so go forward at your own risk.)

Pectin Grape Juice

Homemade remedies made from fruit pectin and grape juice can relieve joint pain, and reduce swelling and stiffness. Pectin is found in the cells of many plants and acts as a thickener in preparations such as jellies. Grape juice is loaded with antioxidants, among them, anthocyanins, noted for its effect on reducing inflammation. Pectin regulates the flow of fluids in plant cells and is believed to act to relieve fluid buildup in the joints of arthritis sufferers. The best pectin is found at the health food stores and is free of MSG and other additives. Mix 1/2 cup of juice with 2 tablespoons pectin. Add water if needed and drink twice daily for 6 weeks. Reduce the frequency as symptoms disappear.

Sources for this article include:

DermNetNZ: Capsaicin
http://dermnetnz.org/treatments/capsaicin.html

Holistic Online: Tumeric
http://www.holisticonline.com

Science Daily: Turmeric Prevents Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis, Bone Loss
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061030071152.htm

MotherNature.com: Arthritis and Alternative Medicine
http://www.mothernature.com/Library/bookshelf/Books/42/1.cfm

Joint-Pain.com: Natural Arthritis Treatments
http://www.joint-pain.com/natural-arthritis-treatments.html

The People’s Pharmacy: Pectin for Arthritis Pain
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2009/08/31/pectin-for-arthritis-pain/

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

Betsy

Betsy Bell’s Health4U

206 933 1889

www.HiHoHealth dot com

www.TiredNoMore dot com

 

 

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Ankle replacement? How bad is it?

 

Gentle Reader,

 

Have you dried off from your most recent visit to the Y’s water aerobics for arthritics?  Not there yet?  Today I want to share information about replacing those joints that just keep hurting so much that you prefer to sit or lie down rather than try to move through the pain.  My favorite website for the latest procedures is Johns Hopkins Medicine.  This week they have an article about ankle replacement.  Replace your ankles?  Oh, my goodness.  It would have to be really bad before I’d do that.

 

My own experience with arthritis in the ankles came as a result of breaking the left ankle while cross country skiing in 1997. The snow conditions were our usual white cement so often prevalent in the Cascade mountains.  The Women on Wednesday group I ski with had chosen the Swan Lake trail that begins along Lake Kachess and then rises through twists and turns to an upper plateau. We have never made it to Swan Lake. It must be there somewhere.  Our ski day usually begins with a couple hours of climbing on skis, then lunch in a nice trail side spot, followed by another 20 minutes uphill to warm up.  Then we usually turn around and come down.  These logging roads are never groomed except by the occasional  snow mobile.  Snow mobiles can create moguls that make skiing even more challenging than breaking trail.  If the uphill has been through new snow, even cement (heavy) snow, the downhill can go quite well.  On the particular day of the breakage, I was doing my usual fast downhill and on one curve, planted the tip of my left ski squarely into a snow bank.  My body continued on.  I could hear the snap.

 

It was possible to ski out the remaining 4 miles or so by keeping the left leg slightly bent and the foot rigid in the boot, using the polls and right ski to snow plow.  On the bus, a fellow skier and nurse, filled a sandwich bag with snow and wrapped my ankle with an emergency tape.

 

The next day, an x-ray revealed a hair line fracture which they cast. I was in this non-weight baring thing for 60 days and a walking boot for another 30 days.  I worked hard to keep the muscles functional with all sorts of floor exercises including leg lifts in all directions, and was ready to walk as soon as they gave the go ahead.

 

Now, fifteen years later, I am getting little twinges when setting off on a hike or long city walk.  Do I stop?  Is it harmful to keep going?  I can report that I may slow down a bit, exercise great care in foot placement and gait, and above all keep going.  So far so good.  The pain doesn’t stop me and the ankle is still functioning well.  Will it get worse?  Probably.  Will I go for surgery someday?  Who knows.  I would recommend doing every possible thing before going there.  If you do read the article at the link, you’ll see that people have good results.  Are they hikers, cyclists, climbers?  Or are they people who just want to be able to walk around their house when the pain has become so unbearable they are confined to a chair?

 

Osteoarthritis and arthritis caused by injury often come down to the same thing as one ages.  I prefer to take hands full of supportive supplements to 3 Advil because I am sure that the supplements strengthen tissue and feed cells for better all over health.  Advil will mask the pain for sure.  It is pretty conclusive that vitamins, minerals and protein build healthy tendons, muscles and bone.  There may still be pain.  Try an herbal pain inhibitor first.  Shaklee makes a good one.  If you want to explore these, go to HiHoHealth dot com.  We have a Pain Relief page there.

 

The Johns Hopkins site on arthritis gives good information about the other joint replacements as well.  Good luck if you are facing this decision.  If you want to talk more about your options with a person who has been dealing with arthritis for 35 years, I’d love to hear from you at 206 933 1889.  If you would like to comment, please do.

 

Do well, Be well and Keep Moving,

 

Betsy

 

 

 

The Fat Trap

Dear Reader,

I have been thinking a lot about weight and arthritis, about weight loss and how challenging it is to begin and maintain a healthier relationship to food.  In my last post, I talked about the study that found our hypothalamus may be running the show.  If this regulating organ has been damaged by a long term diet of too rich food, is it possible to ever heal it and establish a new normal for ourselves?

Perhaps you saw this article in the New York Times on January 1, written by Tana Parker Pope.  I recommend it to you.  She has struggled with extra weight for years and takes heart and hope from the understanding she has about the hypothalamus and the possibility of actually changing its messaging system.

I am going to leave you with this long article from the NYTimes.  I would love to hear your reaction to it.  Please share.

Are you engaging in any winter sport?  I enjoyed my first day on cross country skis this past Wednesday and managed a pain free day with 2 Aleve at breakfast.  Thursday morning wasn’t bad either, maybe because I took a protein sports recovery drink with me and drank it on the bus coming home and again before bed.  The one I use is called Physique and is made by Shaklee.  It repairs torn muscle with the proteins, vitamins and minerals in it.  Thursday night I could feel a stiffening up and did some of my Pilates floor exercises before hottub and bed and this morning did a big routine of Feldenkrais, Pilates, weight lifting and other stretching and then took a long walk including a stair case with 190 treads.  All this helped keep me from arthritis pain.

What is your routine after a work out?  BTW when you climb stairs try walking up sideways, facing the railing, right shoulder toward to top.  Lift the left leg and place it on the step above crossing the right.  Then, weight on the left foot, step up with the right still  facing the railing.  Next step with the left foot, swing it behind and up.  You are going up the stairs with the left foot traveling in front and then in back and then in front.  Then turn to face the left shoulder to the top and do the weave with the right leg. This strengthens the sides of the knees.  We girls hurt our knees by always walking straight up the stairs because we are just slightly (sometimes more than slightly) knock kneed.  This stair climbing (and descending) greatly strengthens the muscles and tendons along the sides.  Do this slowly, planting your foot solidly and lifting with the thigh engaged instead of heaving the body up with the shoulders.  Make the legs and side knees work for you.  I may have described this in an earlier blog when I was talking about my training program for climbing Mt. Shasta.   If you try this, let me know how it goes.

Good luck and keep moving.

Betsy

206 933 1889

www.TiredNoMore. com