Questions and Answers About Arthritis and Rheumatism


Questions and Answers About Arthritis and Rheumatism

I express my sincere thanks to everyone who wrote with questions regarding the fourpart series, "Arthritis/Rheumatism Sufferers: The Forgotten Patients," published in Today's Chiropractic. Due to the large numbers of inquiries that I received from both doctors of chiropractic and patients, I would like to answer a number of questions which were presented.

Following are some of the most frequently asked questions:

Q1: If patients with serious forms of metabolic arthritis and rheumatism can reverse the course of their illness, why does the American Arthritis Foundation persist in contending that there is no cure and that most patients cannot reverse the disease process, thus discouraging patients from any hope of recovery?

A1: The American Arthritis Foundation is intimately tied in with conventional allopathic medicine. Its board consists primarily of medical practitioners and the information they disseminate comes from medical professionals and the pharmaceutical industry. The Arthritis Foundation is guided by medical rheumatologists who "treat" arthritis and rheumatism primarily by steroids, gold, methotrexate and other toxic pharmaceuticals.

The Arthritis Foundation strives to dissuade patients from taking any course of action that is not strictly medical in nature. There is a good deal of flim-flammery among hucksters of cures for arthritis and rheumatism, but the Arthritis Foundation has turned mostly a blind eye and a deaf ear to fruitful areas such as the relationship between nutrition, gastrointestinal disorders and arthritis, allergies and arthritis, fasting/detoxification and arthritis, etc. Until recently, the Arthritis Foundation stated that nutrition had nothing to do with arthritis except in relationship to gout, only recently altering their stand due to overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The foundation remains medically oriented and continues to dissuade patients from seeking out non-toxic, hygienic approaches to rheumatic diseases, including chiropractic care. Since drugs do not bring about a recovery from R.D.s, it is only logical that the Arthritis Foundation would state that such diseases are incurable.

Q2: What role do registered dietitians play in the diagnosis and treatment of R.D. through natural methods?

A2: Dietitians are allied medical personnel and part of allopathic medicine. They have not played a constructive role in the care of patients with R.D. except to provide (what they refer to as) "balanced meals." Their training is heavily influenced by the food processing industry, the American Dairy Council and the medical/pharmaceutical industry. They are not trained for working via natural methods with patients with rheumatic disease. Witness the food served in hospitals and public schools under the direction of registered dietitians. It is notoriously poor and loaded with refined/processed carbohydrates and dairy products. Typical dietetic fare (as served in hospitals and other dietitian-directed institutions) is a primary factor in the development of arthritis and rheumatism in our population. (Read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Weston Price, D.D.S.)

Hospital/dietitian-induced malnutrition has become a major concern among consumer groups. Dietitians generally condone processed carbohydrates, canned foods, dairy products (a common allergen and stimulator of inflammatory processes in many arthritic patients), along with the Four Food Group Concept (recently modified after years of protests from consumer groups as to its damaging effects on the American public.) They are generally aware of developments in the field of preventive health care/nutritional biochemistry and natural hygiene, such as our understanding of gut permeability and allergy's role in arthritis and rheumatism.

Dietitians have neither training in nor appreciation of body detoxification and fasting. The standard dietetic field follows the lead of allopathic medicine and generally associates any approach outside the approach of standard medicine (drugs or surgery) and standard medical dietetics as "quackery," including natural approaches to R.D. State dietetic associations have targeted the chiropractic profession in many states to prohibit chiropractors from giving nutritional counseling to patients. Due to intimate ties with the medical profession and food processing industry, it should not be expected that dietitians will make a positive contribution in terms of helping patients reverse rheumatic diseases unless their training and orientation both expands and undergoes major revision.

Q3: What do you think of fish liver oils, yucca, taking a series of colonies, apple cider vinegar and honey, bee sting therapy, herbal products, mineral baths, DMSO, acupuncture, etc.?

A3: While an occasional individual may find temporary benefit from some of these products or services, they do not address the real causes of R.D. and may lead the patient away from finding lasting solutions.

Q4: Is it necessary for patients to adopt a whole new way of living, even to the point where they may need to change jobs, lifestyles, etc., if they are to recover?

A4: Yes! Real health reform is usually needed. If the home or work atmosphere is filled with strife, if the person hates his/her job, if the environment is not hygienic, then real change is mandatory.

Once the patient has had a comprehensive workup performed, and understands the changes that are needed, he/she must be dedicated to enthusiastically establishing new patterns of living. Early to bed and early to rise, giving up toxic habits of mind and body, avoidance of all but high-quality natural foods (after adequate detoxification and avoidance of any allergens), repeated fasts as necessary, and persistence, persistence, persistence. Those who balk at restrictions and want to continue old habits of living and get well without effort on their part will jump on the "cure train," utilizing every newly touted therapy to come down the road, or they will abandon natural living altogether and return to medical/pharmaceutical care, permanently sealing their fate to a dismal, painful future. The correct guidance, effort and persistence are the keys!

Q5: Once patients have recovered, can they have a relapse?

A5: Yes. Many patients repeat old habits and fall back into old ways at times. Fortunately, nature is kind and we can usually recover again when we re-adopt the right habits. There is no permanent cure. If the causes of disease are set back into motion, then disease will follow. If we follow the path of health, good health will follow. It is a matter of cause and effect.

Q6: For the doctor of chiropractic to monitor a patient's progress, what is an easy and not too expensive laboratory test that can be used in addition to chiropractic analysis?

A6: The sedimentation rate is a blood test that is inexpensive and can be used with a fair degree of accuracy in monitoring the progress of most patients with R.D.

Q7: What are the factors that make recovery most difficult?

A7: Lack of determination and persistence on the part of the patient are the greatest threats to success. In terms of the clinical picture, long-term steroid usage, surgical loss of organs and glands, poor attitude and lack of faith in being able to recover (although it is amazing how many people I have worked with who got well despite their lack of optimism and faith!) and lack of discipline in following a program through present obstacles.

Q8: Is age a basic factor in recovering?

A8: Age is not so much a factor as is our willpower and vital energy reserves. I have seen persons in middle age and older with more energy reserves than some younger people (who, due to abusing their bodies for many years, have little reserve powers for recovery). In any person who is badly enervated, as is true with most people with arthritis and rheumatism, much sleep and rest are required for some time.

Q9: Are there any cases where you would advise consultation with a medical rheumatologist?

A9: Thinking back on all the patients I have seen who have suffered side effects after years of seeing rheumatologists, my personal experience and knowledge of the tools (drugs) that they employ, my answer is no.

Q10: What is the single most important dietetic factor in causing R.D.?

A10: There are multiple dietary factors that may be responsible, and they will differ greatly from person to person. If I had to pick one factor, it would be the usage of refined carbohydrates of all kinds and overeating. An excess of even natural carbohydrates can be a potent contributing factor in some people. Food allergies are also potent contributing factors in many patients.

Q11: Vegetarians do not get arthritis, do they?

A11: While excess meat eating contributes in some types of arthritis, vegetarians are not immune to R.D. Keep in mind also that one who is "vegetarian" is not necessarily eating healthfully just because they don't eat meat. I have had some of my patients utilize a good deal of animal proteins in their diets temporarily, while with others I have insisted on vegetarian fare; it depends on the case.

Q12: I read in a popular health book that cow's milk is the cause of all arthritis. Is that true?

A12: Pasteurized cow's milk can contribute greatly to arthritic processes, and in one experiment, reported by the Price-Pottenger Foundation, even calves fed pasteurized cow's milk developed heart disease and arthritis after a few months on it. Nonetheless, there is no single factor that causes all arthritis in humans, not even pasteurized, homogenized, antibiotic hormone-laced cow's milk.

Q13: Would some patients benefit from an extended rest/vacation initially as part of their care?

A13: Yes. An extended rest/vacation and fast is often very beneficial, if not essential, for the R.D. patient.

Q14: Can severe or prolonged emotional stress cause R.D.?

A14: In a person who is predisposed to R.D., extensive emotional stress can trigger the disease process. Emotional stress alone probably causes only a small minority of cases, but I think it is a triggering factor in a large number of persons.

Q15: How often should a patient with R.D. see their doctor of chiropractic for adjustments?

A15: This depends, as with any other condition, on the individual patient.

Q16: What particular adjusting technique do you recommend for the R.D. patient?

A16: The doctor should take the necessary precautions and considerations regarding stiffness of joints, tendons and ligaments and should use appropriate force accordingly so as not to traumatize the patient. Having said that, however, the particular technique used is best left to the doctor. In general, however, a gentle touch whenever possible is good common sense and shows courtesy and thoughtfulness to the patient.

Q17: Are there certain radiological signs the D.C. should look for in making the proper diagnosis?

A17: My opinion is that making a specific diagnosis of a particular kind of rheumatic disease (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis) rarely does much good for the patient as it is only a medical name. More important radiologically is to recognize the pathology of danger to the patient and to help the D.C. develop his/her strategy for proper adjustive procedures. Too many doctors, including chiropractors, spend wasted time naming the patient's rheumatic disease. Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitits and psoriatic arthritis are all names for symptoms whose (medical) etiology is unknown. Therefore, no one truly benefits from such academic endeavors as naming symptoms, especially not the patient. To know that the patient has arthritis/rheumatism is enough. More time should be spent on conducting chiropractic analysis to identify subluxations, performing laboratory analysis to understand the patient's biochemistry (as done in my practice), identifying specific causes for the joint and muscle pains and carefully researching a patient's history to uncover personal habits that may have contributed to the development of the condition.

Q18: What is the length of time needed for recovery from R.D.?

A18: This is highly variable, depending the amount of upon energy reserves the patient has, the number of drugs he/she has taken, the extent of the disease process, the expertise of the practitioner and the tenacity and determination to adhere to a program on the part of the patient. In very general terms, it generally takes about one month of recovery time for every three or four months the patient has been ill, assuming the patient has been correctly analyzed and placed on a program of care that is appropriate and well carried out. Some patients recover quicker than others.

Q19: The four-part series on arthritis and rheumatism you wrote was very optimistic. Are you quite certain about what you said? Is there really reason to have hope?

A19: What I have written was based on personal experience, experience with patients, formal education and study from a variety of fields over the past 28 years. I am confident in what I have reported to the readers of this series. I know the suffering and agony that is felt by R.D. patients, and I do not take it lightly. Be of good cheer! With the right guidance and effort, you too can get well!

Article copyright Life University.


By Paul A, Goldberg

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