RA Junction http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com This is where you learn that life with RA does come with a reset button Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:30:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.5 http%3A%2F%2Fwww.healthandwellnessssa.com%2Ffeed%2F Long-term Consequences of Chronic Pain Caused By RA http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/long-term-consequences-of-chronic-pain/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/long-term-consequences-of-chronic-pain/#respond Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:30:05 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6942 Did you know that there are serious long-term consequences of chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Untreated chronic pain can cause harm to your body that gets worse the longer it lasts. How Does Chronic Pain Affect Your Body if You have Rheumatiod Arthritis? Untreated chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis can result in serious […]

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The Effects of Chronic Pain

Long-term Consequences of Chronic Pain

Did you know that there are serious long-term consequences of chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Untreated chronic pain can cause harm to your body that gets worse the longer it lasts.

How Does Chronic Pain Affect Your Body if You have Rheumatiod Arthritis?

Untreated chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis can result in serious long term effects to your body .

People with chronic pain often begin to isolate themselves from friends and family in order to simplify their life, causing depression-like symptoms. Long term these depression-like symptoms can be difficult to treat.

Chronic pain can make it difficult for you to focus on simple tasks and make it difficult for you to concentrate on more that one task at a time.

Some people begin sleeping for long periods of time because sleep allows them to “take a break from their pain”. Sleep can also become difficult. Pain makes it more difficult to fall asleep and can wake you up in the middle of the night

Chronic pain, if left untreated, can actually cause the brain chemistry and the wiring of the brain to change.

Pain causes anxiety and feelings of helplessness because it begins to dictate how a person in pain spends their time.

Many thousands of people in the US suffer from chronic pain. Scientists have done many studies on pain. They have discovered that untreated chronic pain can have long term biological effects on a person’s life.

What Do Scientific Studies Say About The Long-term Consequences of Chronic Pain?

In 2014 scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a study on mice. Mice in pain were taught to have to work for their food by repeatedly poking their nose into a hole. These mice were then compared to a group of mice with no pain. All of the mice were allowed to search for food. The mice without pain continued to work for their food no matter how difficult the task. The mice with pain began to be less motivated to work for their food. After a significant period of time the mice with pain were given analgesics to treat their pain. The lack of pain did not change their behavior. They continued to be unmotivated to work for food, even when they were hungry. The scientists studied the mices’nucleus accumbens (a structure in the brain “known to be involved in computing the behavioral strategies that prompt us to seek or avoid things that can affect our survival”) (1)They concluded that chronic pain can reduce the mice’s motivation to work for food by altering the nucleus accumbens even after pain is alleviated. Humans also have a nucleus accumbens in their brain. This study may be relevant to humans with chronic pain.

In 2008, the Northwestern University’ Feinberg School of Medicine used MRIs to compare the brains of people without chronic pain to the brains of people with chronic pain. They found that the front region of the brain’s cortex most associated with emotion was different in people who had chronic pain. They found that the healthy brain operates with all regions in equilibrium. When one region is active, the other regions of the brain calm down. The front regions of the brains of people with chronic pain never shut down. The scientists concluded that the “continuous firing of neurons can cause permanent damage” (2) to brain tissue. This is one explanation for the anxiety, difficulty sleeping, depression and difficulty making simple decisions that is experienced by many people with chronic pain caused by RA.

A review of scientific literature on chronic pain conducted by the Department of Anthesiology at the Pain Research Center in Salt Lake City concluded that there is scientific evidence that chronic pain negatively impacts multiple aspects of patient health. Pain can cause sleep deprivation, poor cognitive functioning, cardiac problems, mood problems and mental health problems. Chronic pain negatively affects the overall quality of life. Chronic pain should be treated early in the pain process.

In 2002, a study was conducted on rheumatoid arthritis patients at The University of Michigan’s Center on Aging and Cognition to determine if there is a relationship between pain and depression and cognitive function. People who reported high levels of pain performed poorly on cognitive tests.

Another study conducted at the University of Windsor in Ontario and published in the Clinical Journal of Pain in 2010 looked at the cognitive effects of 157 adults with RA pain. The researchers looked at the executive functioning (sustained attention to detail and working memory) of patients with chronic pain. They concluded that patients with high pain levels performed poorly on executive function tasks.

What Mitigates these Long-term Consequences of Chronic Pain?

As studies have found, chronic pain needs to be treated as early as possible. The longer chronic pain is allowed to exist in the body, the harder it is to treat. The brain can become re-wired and the side effects of chronic pain can continue even when the pain has been eliminated.

If you have chronic pain, you need to work with your doctor to find solutions that mitigate your RA pain.

There are many solutions to chronic pain that you can initiate yourself including: exercise, diet, insomnia, stress reduction, etc.

There are also supplements that can help: turmeric, astaxanthin, krill oil, ginger, green tea, and many others. Please remember to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.  Supplements do not work for everyone. I am lucky, I take tumenic, astaxanthin and krill oil to keep my pain under control. That combination has been approved by my doctor and it works for me.

Many people find that alternative treatments like biofeedback and acupuncture help.

The other option is pain medications. They all have side effects, but may be a short term solution for you.

References

  1. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2014/07/study-reveals-brain-mechanism-behind-chronic-pains-sapping-of-mo.html
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205171755.htm
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4107914/
  4. http://www.theherrenproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Side-Effects-WhitePaper.pdf
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21752179
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20862788
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11973000

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Can Selenium Deficiency Exacerbate Your RA ? http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/selenium-deficiency/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/selenium-deficiency/#respond Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:42:00 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6913 Did you know that Selenium deficiency has been identified in scientific studies as an essential trace element  that is often deficient in people with rheumatoid arthritis?(6) Why is Selenium an Essential Trace Element That You Need if You Have RA? Studies have found that selenium deficiency is not uncommon in people with RA. For that […]

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Selenium Deficiency

Selenium Deficiency

Did you know that Selenium deficiency has been identified in scientific studies as an essential trace element  that is often deficient in people with rheumatoid arthritis?(6)

Why is Selenium an Essential Trace Element That You Need if You Have RA?

Studies have found that selenium deficiency is not uncommon in people with RA. For that reason you should be tested for the level of selenium in your blood.

Selenium is an essential trace element for all of us because:

  • Selenium deficiency depresses the effectiveness of immune cells.
  • Selenium is responsible for boosting cellular immunity.
  • Selenium is crucial in preventing excessive immune responses that can lead to chronic illnesses.
  • Selenium increases the body’s antioxidant capabilities.
  • Selenium helps protect the body from diseases.
  • Selenium helps regulate thyroid function. (Many people with hypothyroidism and Hashimotos are deficient in selenium.)
  • Selenium can prevent or fight cancer by reducing free radicals.

What Are the Causes and Symptoms Of Selenium Deficiency

  • Causes of Selenium deficiency:

Selenium deficiency is generally rare in the USA because most of us get enough selenium in our diet. The amount of Selenium in our food is dependent on the amount if selenium in the soil where our food is grown. Most areas of the US have adequate amounts of selenium in the soil. Soil levels of selenium do tend to be higher in the Midwest and West than in the South and Northeast.

FYI: Some areas in China, however, have been found to be deficient in selenium. The selenium deficiency in the soil of some rural areas in China has caused many people to get Keshan Disease (a serious heart disease). The Chinese government has responded to this problem by providing people in these areas adequate Selenium supplementation.

Due to the importance of selenium in supporting the immune system, some chronic diseases have been associated with selenium deficiency. Studies have found that people with rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimotos, hypothyroidism, endemic cardiomyopathy ( in China), some cancers and ankylosing spondylitis are deficient in selenium.

  • Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency include:  Hair loss, skin discoloration, fingernail discoloration, low immunity, fatigue, brain fog, reproductive issues, and hypothyroidism.

Do those symptoms sound familiar to you? If you have any of these symptoms you need to be checked for selenium deficiency.

What Foods are Rich in Selenium and What Selenium Supplements Are Best?

  • Food: Food is by far your best source of selenium.

The food with the best source of selenium is Brazil nuts. One ounce of Brazil nuts (just 4-6 nuts) provides you with 544 Micrograms of selenium. The only problem with that many nuts is that the maximum Micrograms per day that you should consume is 400 Mcg. More than 400 Mcg per day of Selenium can cause selenium toxicity ( see warning below). If you choose to get your selenium from Brazil nuts, you should not eat more that 2-3 Brazil nuts per day.

Other foods that contain selenium are: wild caught tuna, halibut, sardines, beef, chicken, turkey, beef liver, organic eggs, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sunflower seeds and chia seeds.

  • Selenium Supplements: If your blood test shows that you are deficient in selenium, your doctor may feel that you need a selenium supplement.

Selenium supplements come in several forms, but most physician experts recommend an organic form of selenium like SelenoExcell high-selenium yeast.

There are not many studies on the long-term use of selenium supplements. It is safer to limit selenium supplements to 200 Mcg per day.

Warning: Selenium Toxicity is Serious so You Need to Monitor How Much Selenium You Take

You should not take any supplement without advice from your doctor.

You should keep your selenium supplementation at or below 200 mcg per day.

You should get your blood level of selenium tested before taking a selenium supplement.

Selenium toxicity is serious. It can cause hair loss or brittleness,  GI and neurological symptoms, respiratory distress, heart attack (MI), muscle tenderness, tremors, dizziness and even kidney failure.

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health. If you have RA, you are at risk for selenium deficiency. Get your blood level checked. Always consult your doctor before taking selenium supplements.

Wishing You Good Health,

Saundra

References

  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-chen-md/nutrition-for-rheumatoid-_b_5787298.html
  3. https://www.clinmedjournals.org/articles/ijpcr/international-journal-of-pathology-and-clinical-research-ijpcr-2-029.pdf
  4. http://www.jpsr.pharmainfo.in/Documents/Volumes/vol6issue01/jpsr06011415.pdf
  5. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/01/15/selenium-role.aspx
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26581918

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RA Junction Review of 2016 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/ra-junction-review/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/ra-junction-review/#respond Fri, 06 Jan 2017 15:36:14 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6902 This post is a review of some of the best RA Junction discoveries in 2016. RA Junction Review of Gut Health, Supplements, Diet As you know, current science has tied rheumatoid arthritis to gut health. Here are some newer findings on diet, nutrients and ways to improve your gut health. Learn how a healthy digestive […]

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RA Junction Review of 2016

RA Junction Review of 2016

This post is a review of some of the best RA Junction discoveries in 2016.

RA Junction Review of Gut Health, Supplements, Diet

As you know, current science has tied rheumatoid arthritis to gut health. Here are some newer findings on diet, nutrients and ways to improve your gut health.

  • Learn how a healthy digestive system functions: This post provides a description of the anatomy and physiology of a healthy digestive system. Your RA can improve dramatically if your digestive system in functioning well.
  • Gut Power: Several recent studies on gut health are featured here. There is also a list of suggestions for keeping your gut healthy.
  • Lectins: Some of these proteins can be harmful to people with RA. Learn what they are and how to minimize their affect on your body.
  • The Lowdown on magnesium deficiency: Many experts believe that as many as 80% of Americans have a deficiency of magnesium. Our cells need magnesium to make energy and fight fatigue , depression and kidney disease.
  • Health benefits of dark chocolate: Could not resist adding this post to the list. I love dark chocolate but only some types of chocolate are beneficial  to our health.
  • Probiotic Foods: The benefits of probiotic foods far surpass the benefits of probiotic supplements.

Lifestyle Changes That Improve RA

In 2016 there has been renewed emphasis on lifestyle habits that seriously affect our RA. Researchers have found some interesting lifestyle changes that help RA.

  • Non- Drug Solutions to Chronic Pain: Coping with chronic pain is difficult for all of us. Find some non-drug solutions that help.
  • The Power of Essential Oils: Essential oils can improve RA. Find out what you need to know before purchasing essential oils.
  • The Power of Your Mind, BodySpirit and Emotions: Studies have proven that our mind, spirit and emotions have a profound effect on our health.
  • Low Dose NaltrexoneLow Dose Naltrexone: LDN is a drug that is being used successfully by some alternative care physicians to treat RA.
  • RA Brain Fog: Brain fog is a common symptom of RA. Researchers are looking for a cause of brain fog. Some researchers have theories that lead to suggestions for help.
  • Design ThinkingIs a planning method that engineers and other planners have used for years. It is a method that can also be used to develop a healthier life style.
  • Your Circadian Rhythm: Your circadian rhythm can control your sleeping patterns. Learn how to reset your circadian rhythm when stress and/or RA pain cause loss of sleep.
  • Arthritis Friendly Tools: Here are some arthritis-friendly tools to make your life easier.

RA Junction Review of Recent Studies that May Improve Your RA

  • Epigenetics: What is epigenetics and what has research discovered about it’s relationship to RA?
  • Newly Discovered Natural Protein in Wheat: A natural protein just discovered in wheat has been linked to RA.
  • Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies found in people with RA: John’s Hopkins has identified the most common vitamin deficiencies in people with RA. Correcting them can improve your health.
  • Newly Discovered Drug TreatmentScientists have identified a  naturally occurring substance in the body that may lead to new drugs that reduce inflammation without the side effects of current drugs.
  • Genetically Engineered Living Hip: Scientists have created a “living hip” out of a patient’s own stem cells. This discovery reduces chance of the body’s rejection of an artificial hip replacement.

Hope this review can help you complete your list of 2017 New Year’s Resolutions.

Wishing You a Happy, Healthy 2017

Saundra

References

This post is a review of 2016 RA Junction Posts. References can be found in the links to each post.

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Coping With Chronic Pain Is Life Altering: Help is Available http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/coping-with-chronic-pain/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/coping-with-chronic-pain/#respond Fri, 30 Dec 2016 15:16:29 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6860 Coping with chronic pain can be an ongoing battle for many of us with rheumatoid arthritis. If we are unable to put our RA in remission, we will likely continue to battle chronic pain for a long time. Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting for three or more months. As many as 100,000 people […]

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Chronic Pain

Coping With Chronic Pain

Coping with chronic pain can be an ongoing battle for many of us with rheumatoid arthritis. If we are unable to put our RA in remission, we will likely continue to battle chronic pain for a long time.

Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting for three or more months. As many as 100,000 people in the US cope with chronic pain every day

Many funded studies have identified viable treatments for people coping with chronic pain. These studies have identified some viable non-drug solutions that alleviate or eradicate chronic pain.

Chronic Pain Studies that Identify Non-drug Solutions

  • A study published in Germany in 1975 found that pain is the result of many factors. A person’s psychological development, level of anxiety and psychological coping style all have to be evaluated. This study suggests salicylic acid is best for mild pain. Salicylic acid in combination with a tranquilizer is best for moderate pain,  and a combination of phenothiazine and an antidepressant is best for severe pain. Researchers also suggested that methadone is often more successful at reducing pain than narcotics. This study even introduced biofeedback and acupuncture as possible treatments for pain in the future.
  • Later a study conducted in 1992 surveyed 157 chronic pain patients to try to determine the type of treatments that work best for patients with chronic pain. They found that patients who tried both conventional and complementary medicine treatment achieved more pain relief than patients who just used conventional drug treatment. Researchers concluded that when patients are more active in developing solutions for their chronic pain, they have better results. Patients need to be actively involved in their treatment plans.
  • Another study published in 2012 in the European Journal of Pain compared three different interventions for lower back pain:
    • Spouse -assisted coping skills training program for pain
    • Conventional patient-oriented multidisciplinary pain management program
    • Standard medical care

Researchers concluded that the best solution for people coping with chronic pain is a combination of a spouse-assisted plan and a conventional patient-oriented multidisciplinary pain management program.

  • In 2016, a Mindfullness-Pain Management Program was evaluated. Researchers recruited 20 patients for the control group and 50 patients to receive mindfulness training, The patients receiving the mindfullness training experienced a reduction in depression, anxiety and pain when compared with the control group.

These studies all identify alternative treatments for chronic pain.

Scientists like Dr. James Dillard have also discovered a biological reason that some alternative therapies improve chronic pain. They have discovered that acute pain is present in areas of the brain that are connected to tissue damage, but chronic pain resides in the memory part of the brain (the prefrontal cortex and limbic system). The memory of pain can last long after the original cause of the pain has healed. Many alternative therapies can be used to retrain the memory (prefrontal cortex) part of the brain to ease chronic pain.(13) 

Solutions to Coping With Chronic Pain You Can Access Today

Most experts believe that there are many alternative treatments that can help people who are coping with chronic pain. This is not to say that drugs may not be necessary, but a multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain is far superior to conventional drug treatment alone. As a result of these studies, there are many treatment programs available to us.

  • Many hospitals have developed inter-disciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation clinics. Mayo Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and many other institutions have developed these programs. They provide outpatient multidisciplinary pain management training. The pain management team is made up of: the patient, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, recreational therapists, the patient’s significant others, pharmacists, social workers, volunteers, occupational therapists, vocational counselors and nutritionists. Each individual patient is evaluated  by the training team. The appropriate disciplines form a team to teach the patient and his/her significant other(s) to manage pain. These plans put the individual patient at the head of the team and develop a pain treatment plan that is specific to that patient’s needs and lifestyle. The plan is reviewed regularly by the multidisciplinary team and altered as the patient progresses through the training.
  • If you are coping with chronic pain and are interested in finding a multidiciplinary team that provides a chronic pain management clinic you should look for a pain management team that has the following characteristics:
    • Puts the patient at the center of the team and includes the patient’s significant others in the training
    • Creates common treatment goals with input from all members of the team
    • Develops treatment plans based on your individual needs
    • Monitors your progress toward goals regularly
    • Provides you with regular feedback
    • Provides follow-up evaluations after you have completed your training
  • There are also many individual alternative treatments that are successful in helping people coping with chronic pain. Those suggested by AARP Magazine (5) include:
    • Movement-based therapies like yoga and Thai chi
    • Nutritional and Herbal Remedies
    • Mind-body Medicine like guided imagery or biofeedback
    • Energy Healing like relaxing the body and the mind, acupressure or biofeedback
    • Physical Manipulation like chiropractic medicine or osteopathy

There are very few of us with RA who do not have to deal with some chronic pain. I have to admit that I had no idea how many alternative treatments for chronic pain are available. Good news for us! We have many choices.

I Wish All of You a Healthy, Pain-free 2017.

Saundra

Disclosure:  The link below is an affiliate link. This means that if you click on the link and purchase an item, it will not cost you more but I will receive a small commission.

If you are interested in purchasing Dr. James Dillard’s book, The Chronic Pain Solution you can purchase it from Amazon here (affiliate).

References

  1. http://www.instituteforchronicpain.org/blog/
  2. http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/10/breakthrough-in-the-relief-of-chronic-pain-without-drugs/page-01
  3. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/stopping-pain-without-drugs/
  4. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/06/03/healing-chronic-pain-without-drugs.html
  5. http://www.aarp.org/health/alternative-medicine/info-11-2008/drug_free_remedies_chronic_pain.html
  6. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/neurological_institute/center-for-neurological-restoration-pain/treatments-services/chronic-pain-rehab-program
  7. https://theacpa.org/Pain-Management-Programs
  8. http://www.ric.org/conditions/chronic-pain/
  9. http://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/pain-rehabilitation-center/overview
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/237321
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22337646
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1475658
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27708686
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19543669
  15. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001NJUOEO/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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The Power of the Placebo Effect: A New Discovery http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect/#respond Fri, 23 Dec 2016 15:24:03 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6838 The power of the placebo effect Source: Nursing School Hub (4) The power of the placebo effect may be stronger than we think. A recent study has identified the location of the pain-killing placebo effect in the brain. It is currently common knowledge that the brain plays a role in creating a placebo effect in patients […]

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Patient: HEAL THYSELF...

The power of the placebo effect
Source: Nursing School Hub (4)

The power of the placebo effect may be stronger than we think. A recent study has identified the location of the pain-killing placebo effect in the brain. It is currently common knowledge that the brain plays a role in creating a placebo effect in patients with chronic pain.  Scientists have now identified an explanation for this phenomenon.

History of the Placebo Effect

Today most of us identify placebos as sugar pills that are given to control groups that are participating in scientific studies. It is not uncommon for studies to report that some study participants in the control group who received placebos experienced a reduction in pain. The infographic above provides a good history of the power of the placebo effect.

Historically a placebo is considered an inert substance used to treat a patient’s mind rather than an actual symptom. The placebo effect is the positive effect that the placebo has on the patient.

The use of placebos dates back to 1785 when many “fake” physicians prescribed placebos for treating a patient’s symptoms. These placebos rarely improved a patient’s health. As a result, the term placebo was considered witch craft by most of the medical profession.

Later, Henry K Beecher developed the “double unknown technique” (2) that set the guidelines for the double blind study as we know it today. Neither the scientist nor the participants in these studies know who receives the real treatment and who receives a placebo. Beecher is responsible for the current respectability of the placebo effect. It is now common knowledge that the study participant’s belief in a positive outcome can result in a positive placebo effect. Prior to Beecher’s publication the placebo effect was considered suspect.

Today science understands that the brain plays an important role in healing. If we expect to get a positive result from a treatment, the placebo effect is sometimes positive. Until now, scientists have not understood the location in the brain responsible for the placebo effect.

Study Identifying the Power of the Placebo Effect

Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million people in the USA alone.

Scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Dr. Marwan Baliki at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago identified the area of the brain that is responsible for the placebo effect in those of us who have chronic pain.

The goal of the study was to provide physicians who treat chronic pain with the ability to treat pain in a more scientific way than the “trial and error” (2) approach used today. The researchers wanted to identify specific biomarkers in the brain that predict the placebo effect.

The scientists decided to focus their study on participants who were suffering from chronic knee osteoporosis pain. Prior the the beginning of the study, participants self-rated their knee pain. A resting-state functional MRI was also performed on all participants in the study.

All participants were then given a placebo and were surveyed for their level of pain after receiving the placebo. About 1/2 of the participants reported a reduction in pain. The MRIs of participants who experienced a reduction in pain were different from the MRIs of participants who did not experience a reduction in pain. This allowed the scientists to identify the area of the brain responsible for the placebo effect. The study proved that the “brain is the biggest predictor of the placebo response.” (2)

The Importance of This Discovery for Those of Us With Chronic Pain

This was a small study that just looked at knee pain but it is a important discovery. The study identifies the area of the brain that is responsible for the placebo effect.  If a patient is given a certain drug and the MRI identifies that the drug will alleviate their pain then physicians will know in advance that the drug will be effective in treating that patient’s pain. This is a more personalized way of providing drug treatment than the current try-and-see method of proscribing drugs.

Those of us who have tried many drugs for RA and had no relief from our symptoms know that some drugs work for us, but do not work for everyone. This study could lead to a more specific treatment for all of us. It would not require us to risk side effects that many of these drugs produce. We would know in advance if the drug is going to improve our pain.

Once our pain is under control it is a lot easier to stay on a diet and exercise. The natural diet and lifestyle treatments that can actually put our RA in remission are much easier to comply with if we are pain free.

Wishing Each of You a Happy, Pain-free Holiday,

Saundra

 References

  1. https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2016/10/27/placebo-effect-is-all-in-our-heads
  2. http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2016/11/01/researchers-pinpoint-brain-region-responsible-placebo-effect
  3. https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2016/10/placebo-sweet-spot-for-pain-relief-identified-in-brain/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26893115

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Give The Gift of Health This Holiday Season http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/gift-of-health/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/gift-of-health/#respond Fri, 16 Dec 2016 15:07:11 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6796 The Joy of Giving a Gift of Health A gift of health to friends and family with RA can improve their RA disease and have a lasting effect on their quality of life. Modern medicine has discovered that poor diet, no exercise, stress and a toxic environment are the causes of most chronic diseases like […]

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Holiday Gift Ideas

Gift of Health

The Joy of Giving a Gift of Health

A gift of health to friends and family with RA can improve their RA disease and have a lasting effect on their quality of life. Modern medicine has discovered that poor diet, no exercise, stress and a toxic environment are the causes of most chronic diseases like RA. Helping to improve RA for someone you care about can improve their life for years to come.

Below are some suggestions for gifts that can improve RA.

Disclosure:  Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase an item, it will not cost you more but I will receive a small commission.

RA Diet

Dr. Mark Hyman has written many New York Times best selling books on diets. One of my favorites is: The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. I went on his 10 Day Detox Diet two years ago and have remained on his maintenance diet. I lost 32 pounds in two months and have never gained a pound of that weight back! You can purchase his book from Amazon HERE (affiliate). It is a well, researched easy read and the maintenance diet is appropriate as an autoimmune diet. Cost: $6.77, $15.99 or $16.99 (depending on the format you purchase).

Dr. Hyman also wrote a recipe book for this diet: The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. This book contains lots of good recipes that have been vetted by him. They are all compliant with his diet. You can purchase this book  HERE (affiliate). Cost: $12.99 or 21.29.

These books can provide those of us with RA a diet we can enjoy for life. As we all know, 80% of our immune system resides in our gut so our diet is extremely important to our overall health. They are truly a gift of health.

Another option for people on special diets is a Thrive Market membership. Thrive Market is a not-for-profit organization that sells gluten free, vegan, organic, non-GMO food and other healthy products at an affordable price. They deliver your purchases right to your door. No need to drive to your local health food store. The gift membership also helps support a free membership to qualified people who are unable to afford the membership fee. Thrive Market’s goal is to provide healthy, affordable products to everyone. I have saved a total of $340.82 under health food store prices this year. The cost of a one year membership is only $59.95. You can purchase a membership HERE (affiliate).

Exercise

Exercise is extremely important to our overall health as well. My family teases me about my obsession with exercise. I always tell them that if I do not exercise “my joints will simply rust” :). The Arthritis Foundation, in consultation with Dr Paul Lam, has developed a Thai Chi DVD specifically for people with arthritis. Thai Chi is not as difficult as it looks and can reduce arthritis pain significantly. An added bonus is that Thai Chi is fun! The Arthritis Foundation sells these DVDs HEREnot an affiliate) for $29.95.

Stress and Insomnia

Stress and insomnia go hand -in-hand. It is difficult to get a good night’s sleep when you are stressed. Many of us struggle with this problem. Lack of sleep and stress both exacerbate RA. I searched Amazon for a good CD that would reduce stress and help you get a good night’s sleep. This one got 5 stars so you might want to consider it as a gift for anyone under stress or suffering from insomnia. You can purchase it from Amazon HERE  for $46.66. It is an 8 CD set that provides users with a choice of many nature sounds. Think what a good night’s sleep would mean to the health of someone with insomnia. This is truly a gift of health!

Environmental Detoxification

We live in a very toxic world today. Our immune systems get overwhelmed and confused by all the toxins they have to fight. We need to reduce the toxins in our environment as much as possible. Dr. Amy Myers goes into great detail about environmental toxins in her New York Times best selling book The Autoimmune Solution. She also provides great resources for finding safe products to replace the toxins we use for everything from makeup to cleaning products. I use this book as a reference regularly. You can get it at Amazon HERE (affiliate) for $9.65, $13.99 0r 17.06.$9.65, $13.99, or $17.06.

You will be giving the gift of health if you purchase any of these items for anyone with RA. Hope these suggestions make your shopping easier.

Happy, Healthy Holidays,

Saundra

References

http://www.thrivemarket.com/

http://www.amymyersmd.com

http://www.afstore.org/site/index-afstore.html

https://www.amazon.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies Associated With RA http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/most-common-vitamin-deficiencies/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/most-common-vitamin-deficiencies/#respond Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:46:02 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6751   According to John’s Hopkins  the most common vitamin deficiencies found in people with RA include “folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B 6, vitamin B 12, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.”(1) Resolving any vitamin and mineral deficiencies you have is an easy way to improve your RA disease. Vitamin D Deficiency Vitamin […]

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Most Common Vitamin Defficiencies

Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies

 

According to John’s Hopkins  the most common vitamin deficiencies found in people with RA include “folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B 6, vitamin B 12, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.”(1)

Resolving any vitamin and mineral deficiencies you have is an easy way to improve your RA disease.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is the most studied and common deficiency found in anyone with an autoimmune disease. Anyone who does not get regular exposure to sun needs to be tested for Vitamin D deficiency. Ask your doctor for the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test.

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include: weight gain, low bone density, fatigue, weakness, osteopenia or osteoperosis, weakened immune system, asthma, tuberculosis, diabetes, gum disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart disease, depression, MS and cancer.

Most integrative physicians recommend a minimum Vitamin D blood level of 50 ng/ml. Blood levels of 20ng/ml are considered a serious vitamin deficiency. Levels of 100 ng/ml are considered too high.

An NIH study of 44 patients with RA was published in 2012. The vitamin D blood levels of the RA patients were compared with the blood levels of a control group of patients without RA. All participants had their blood levels measured with the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. Blood levels in the RA patients averaged 15.26 ng/ml and blood levels of the control group averaged 25.8 ng/ml. The researchers concluded that patients with RA had significantly lower levels than patients without RA. They also concluded that the blood levels of RA patients were linked to the severity of their disease.

Remaining Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies Associated with RA

The chart above provides you with  information about each of the vitamin and mineral deficiencies l common to RA. Feel free to down load it. It will provide information on how resolving vitamin deficiencies can improve your RA and some food sources for each of the vitamins and minerals.

I would urge each of you to get tested for your blood levels for each of these common deficiencies. Working with your doctor to resolve vitamin deficiencies can improve your RA significantly.

Wishing you Health and Happiness,

Saundra

 

References

  1. https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/disease-management/rheumatoid-arthrtis-nutrition/
  2. http://www.everydayhealth.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/diet/rheumatoid-arthritis-vitamin-deficiency/
  3. http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/11/1617.full
  4. http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/biologics-15/vitamins-ra
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3539179/
  6. http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/depression/10-vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms-that-you-can-identify-yourself/
  7. https://www.mercola.com/article/rheumatoid_arthritis/index.htm

 

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/happy-thanksgiving/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/happy-thanksgiving/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 15:44:17 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6743 Thanks to all the RA Junction followers and comentors. I wish each of you a warm, happy, healthy  2016 Thanksgiving. Saundra

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Thanksgiving

Thanks to all the RA Junction followers and comentors. I wish each of you a warm, happy, healthy  2016 Thanksgiving.

Saundra

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Transform Your Health: Reset Your Circadian Rhythm http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/reset-your-circadian-rhythm/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/reset-your-circadian-rhythm/#respond Fri, 18 Nov 2016 15:10:04 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6715 Reset your circadian rhythm to improve your health. Last week was a difficult week for a lot of us. The time change and a very stressful election occured within two days. Many of us lost a lot of sleep. Loss of sleep can put stress on your circadian rhythm which negatively affects your health. Read […]

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Reset Your Circadian Rhythm

Reset Your Circadian Rhythm

Reset your circadian rhythm to improve your health. Last week was a difficult week for a lot of us. The time change and a very stressful election occured within two days. Many of us lost a lot of sleep. Loss of sleep can put stress on your circadian rhythm which negatively affects your health. Read more to learn how to reset your circadian rhythm.

Why is Your Circadian Rhythm Important to Your Health?

Pacemaker-like nuclei located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of your hypothymus in your brain control your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm acts as your body’s internal clock. It responds to light and dark signals. The optic nerve in the eye sends light and dark signals to your SCN. Your SCN controls when you sleep, when you wake up and even when you die. Your circadian rhythms affects your body’s blood pressure, temperature and hormonal changes.

The optic nerve in the eye sends light to the SCN that then signals the body temperature to rise and produce hormones like cortisol. It also signals the body to reduce the production of melatonin in daylight. When the eyes signal to the SCN that it is dark the levels of melatonin increase.  This is why dim light at night is important and exposure to light during the day is important.

When your established sleep pattern controlled by your Circadian rhythm is disrupted it can have a negative effect on your health. Poor sleep has been tied to many serious diseases including cardiovascular events, obesity and depression. Poor sleep can also exacerbate many autoimmune disease symptoms.

Historically, your circadian rhythm is controlled by exposure to light. Your body tells you when to sleep when it is dark and when to wake up with the sun in the morning. When this regular exposure to light and dark is disrupted, your circadian rhythm is disrupted.

Many things can cause your circadian rhythm to malfunction:

  • jet lag
  • stress
  • shift work
  • lack of sufficient light exposure
  • Staying up too late at night
  • Sleep deprivation

Relevant Science About Your Circadian Rhythm

In 2015 Scientists at McGill University in Quebec discovered that light resets and synchronizes our circadian rhythm by triggering phosphate to combine with a brain protein called elF4E. The process is called phosphorylation. This explains how light regulates protein synthesis in the brain and affects the function of the circadian rhythm. This study was done on mice so further research is needed. This study could, however, eventually lead to a drug that could reset the circadian rhythm much easier than the slow process we use today. It could also help people who do shift work, have chronic illnesses or have chronic insommnia.

How Do You Reset Your Circadian Rhythm?

Adjust your bedtime to a regular time each day. Especially after a period of sleep loss, readjust your bedtime to a regular time each day.

Do not take a nap during the day. Avoid taking a nap during the day so you are tierd when it is bedtime.

Do not sleep in in the morning. Get up at the same time each day.

Keep the same schedule. Establish a regular bed time and wake up time that fits your life style  and stick to it.

Avoid night lights (especially blue light). Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Avoid night lights or other sources of light that radiate blue light.

Personal experience: I was recently in the hospital for 5 days. I was unable to sleep most of every night. I could not determine why I was wide awake every night no matter how tired I was. There was a 2×4 foot back-lit sign at the foot of my bed that displayed the name of staff that who were taking care of me each shift. A great idea, but it had blue lights that never went out. I did not solve the problem until I did the research for this post. The blue light was the reason I could not sleep. 

Avoid eating or exercising before bedtime. Both if these activities wake your body up and do not allow you to relax before going to bed.

Avoid TV and computer work for at least 1 hour prior to bedtime. The lights from these screen, signal your SCN to stay awake.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine that allows you to reduce the stress of the day. Take a warm bath, read a relaxing book, meditate, etc.

Make an Appointment with your doctor. If you are unable to reset your circadian rhythm on your own, see your doctor to explore light treatment or the temporary use of a low dose of melatonin.

Try melatonin. Talk to your doctor about taking a low dose of melatonin for a short time until you establish a regular sleep routine.

Try light therapy. If you work shifts or work in an environment that does not provide you with at least 30 minutes per day of sunlight, talk to your doctor about light therapy. There are light boxes available that can provide you with natural light. You can expose yourself to 30 minutes of natural light when you get up each morning without going outside.

I know we lead a fast-paced high stress life in this country, but we really need to pay attention to what that lifestyle is doing to our health. We need to make time to allow our body to recover from a busy day. Our body is not designed to do without proper rest long term.

Sleep tight,

Saundra

 

References

  1. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/power-of-circadian-rhythms
  2. https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-drive-and-your-body-clock
  3. https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Power+of+Your+Cyrcadian+Rhythm&rlz=1C1CHMO_enUS559US559&oq=The+Power+of+Your+Cyrcadian+Rhythm&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j69i64l3.13762j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  4. https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/circadian-rhythm
  5. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
  6. http://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/insomnia/resetting-your-clock.aspx
  7. http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/08/07/how-to-reset-your-inner-clock-to-get-quality-sleep/#d4cd77b5d891
  8. http://sleepcenter.ucla.edu/circadian-rhythms
  9. http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-found-a-reset-button-for-our-body-clock
  10. https://www.petcentric.com/03-04-2015/can-dogs-tell-time-science-has-the-answer/

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Natural Protein in Wheat Has Been Linked to RA http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/natural-protein-in-wheat/ http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/natural-protein-in-wheat/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2016 11:08:25 +0000 http://www.healthandwellnessssa.com/?p=6684 Natural Protein in Wheat Researchers have now linked a natural protein in wheat to the exacerbation of many autoimmune diseases including asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. These proteins (Amelase-trypsin inhibitors, ATIs) make up only 4% of wheat and are a natural molecule in wheat that originates from nature. They are not man-made. These […]

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Natural Protein in Wheat

    Natural Protein in Wheat

Researchers have now linked a natural protein in wheat to the exacerbation of many autoimmune diseases including asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

These proteins (Amelase-trypsin inhibitors, ATIs) make up only 4% of wheat and are a natural molecule in wheat that originates from nature. They are not man-made. These plant-based molecules protect wheat from common parasites like mealworms and mealybugs.

When ATIs are ingested by humans, they can cause non-celiac gluten-sensitivity which can cause an immune response in the gut that can spread to other tissues in the body through a leaky gut.

This discovery by scientists is important because it identifies another protein in addition to gluten that can disrupt the normal function of the gut and exacerbate or even activate autoimmune diseases.

Two studies published in 2016 have identified the role ATIs play in the autoimmune process.

  • Professor Detlef Schuppan from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany and his research team discovered that ATIs can initiate an immune response that affects lymph nodes, kidneys, spleens and even the brain. they believe that this immune response can also exacerbate rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, MS and inflammatory bowel disease. They also discovered that this immune response is not caused by gluten.
  • Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (6) conducted a study on 80 people. Forty individuals had Celiac Disease, 80 individuals with non-celiac gluten or wheat sensitivity (NCWS) and 40 were healthy individuals. They discovered that:
    • The Celiac patients did not have the blood markers of innate systemic immune activation.  Their disease appears to neutralize the components that pass through the damaged intestinal wall. This prevents their disease from causing systemic immune disease.
    •  NCWS individuals did not have the Celiac disease markers, but they did have the marker of systemic immune activation.
    • A six- month follow up  of the NCWS group was conducted. The members of this group who eliminated wheat and related cereals from their diet were able to normalize their gut symptoms as well as their systemic symptoms.

This study indicates that, in the future, there may be a set of biomarkers that will allow physicians to use these markers to identify and treat individuals like many of us with non-celiac gluten and wheat sensitivity.

Both of these studies prove that the diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity probably needs a different name. It appears that gluten is not the only culprit in wheat.

As always, more research needs to be done. Those of us who have NCWS and autoimmune diseases need to avoid wheat just as the Functional Medicine physicians have been recommending for a long time.

You can find many gluten free and wheat free products at Amazon

To Your Good Health,

Saundra

Disclosure: The link below is an affiliate link. This means that if you click on the link and purchase an item or become a member, it will not cost you more but I will receive a small commission.

You can purchase many gluten free, organic foods at Thrive Market here without leaving your computer.  Joining Thrive Market provides you with an easy way to purchase healthy foods.

 If you become a Thrive Market member, you get 1 month’s membership free and your membership will help purchase a free membership for a qualifying family in need. Spread the word. This company is a non-profit company with the goal of making healthy food affordable for all.

Thrive Market

References

  1. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313514.php
  2. https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/study-links-chronic-inflammation-to-protein-in-wheat/vp-AAj3M5K
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25925932
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23209313
  5. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/gluten-sensitivity-what-does-it-really-mean/
  6. http://newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2016/07/26/columbia-researchers-find-biological-explanation-wheat-sensitivity-2/

 

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