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Insider Arthritis Tips Nov and Dec 2015
December 15, 2015

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“Some days seem to fit together like a stained glass window. A hundred little pieces of different color and mood that, when combined, create a complete picture.” Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver

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Acupuncture Alleviates Knee Arthritis Pain

Reported in CMI, acupuncture combined with herbs is effective for the relief of knee osteoarthritis pain. Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) researchers conducted a controlled trial and concluded that acupuncture with herbs is both safe and effective. No harmful side effects resulted from the treatment regimen and patients demonstrated significant improvements. The researchers document significant reductions in knee pain with concommitant joint function improvement.

The researchers conducted a highly controlled experiment wherein acupuncture point prescriptions were standardized to a set of specific acupuncture points with predetermined manual acupuncture stimulation procedures. Two acupuncture protocols were compared between treatment groups. One group received acupuncture with herbs in what was termed the Shi treatment procedure. The other protocol of care employed only a standard set of acupuncture points without the use of herbal medicine.

The Shi acupuncture with herbs technique outperformed the acupuncture only group.

Comment: While the effectiveness o f acupuncture in treating osteoarthritis remains controversial, more and more studies support its use since the side effect profile is so low.


Another herb that might work…

Arthritis: Holy Basil Treatment for Pain

Breana Noble writing in Newsmax reported holy basil may be able to help with the joint pain.

A treatment from the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, holy basil (Ocimum basilicum) – also known as tulsi, meaning “The Incomparable One” – is one of the most sacred herbs in the tradition.

An adaptogen, it helps the body to work at its prime level even while under large amounts of stress by regulating the creation of stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline, the magazine explained.

It contains high amounts of anti-inflammatory elements and antioxidants, helpful in fighting joint pain, Natural News reported.

Comment: Holy Basil Batman!


Placebo… not a dirty word.

Placebo effect great in arthritis studies

Susan London writing in Rheumatology News reported on a talk given by Dr. Paul Dieppe of the University of Exeter in England. Professor Dieppe pointed out the amazing and powerful effects that placebo response plays in arthritis clinical trials. He mentioned the tremendous role physicians play in the placebo response. He stated the interactions that physicians have with their patients, the ability to communicate and the caring physicians display improve the way patients feel.

Comment: The placebo response in arthritis clinical trials can approach 40 per cent or even more. While it makes interpretation of data difficult, it also demonstrates the power of caring.


Is there something other than a pill or shot that will definitely help with arthritis…? Next

Study Says Yoga Can Ease Arthritis, Boost Mood

Diane Depra writing for Tech times reported a study has found that yoga is safe and effective as a means of staying active for those with arthritis, given certain adjustments are incorporated into a routine to address individual limitations.

A randomized trial has found that yoga is safe and effective for people with rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis, two common forms of arthritis.

In a study published in The Journal of Rheumatology, researchers report that yoga classes taken for eight weeks have improved not just the physical but the mental well-being as well of people with rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis. This isn't the first time that researchers have explored the benefits of yoga but the study is the biggest randomized trial so far to tackle yoga's effects on physical and psychological health.

Susan Bartlett, one of the authors of the study, said that there is a growing interest in yoga as a form of complementary treatment, with one out of every 10 people in the United States now engaged in the activity to improve their health and fitness. Yoga works for those with arthritis because it brings together physical activity and relaxation and stress management techniques while acknowledging varying limitations.

Comment: I have taken yoga for more than 2 years at my wife’s urging. It helps with stretching, balance, strength, and breathing all of which are important for patients with arthritis.

More good news about stem cells…

Stem cell transplants improve knee function

M. Alexander Otto writing in rheumatology news reported that mesenchymal stem cell transplants appeared to regenerate cartilage and improve clinical outcomes at 2 years in patients with knee osteoarthritis in a South Korean study.
The study involved 24 treated knees. Cells from fat liposuction were delivered in a thrombin gel under arthroscopic guidance. Knees were immobilized for 2 weeks and weight-bearing was allowed at 4 weeks. MRI follow up on the knees was performed at 2 years. At baseline, 23 cartilage lesions were grade 2 to 3. At follow up, only 5 lesions were grade 2 or 3. The study was published in Osteoarthritis Cartilage.

Comment: More evidence that stem cells work in osteoarthritis.


A safer way to get effective sleep… next

Forget counting sheep -- Therapy could help chronic pain sufferers get a good night's sleep

Research conducted at the University of Warwick indicates that chronic pain sufferers could benefit from therapy to help them sleep better.

The University of Warwick academics found that cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT) were either moderately or strongly effective in tackling insomnia in patients with long-term pain. They also discovered that chronic pain sufferers didn't just benefit from improved sleep but also experienced a wider positive impact on pain, fatigue and depression. However they also concluded that therapies only worked when delivered in person.
The study has been published in the journal Sleep.

Comment: I like this method because it’s safer than pills


Here’s an interesting tidbit for those who are interested in getting a facelift…

Study suggests a face-lift won’t improve self-esteem

Rebecca Adams writing for the Huffington Post reported Dr. Andrew Jacono, a New York City-based plastic surgeon, “partnered with Ryan P. Chastant, MD, and Greg Dibelius, MD, to perform” the study. They had “50 patients between the ages of 37 and 73 (48 of whom were women) fill out the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, a questionnaire social scientists use to measure self-esteem, just before they had the procedure done and again six months after the procedure.” The findings after they concluded the study…“a face-lift may make you look younger, but it won’t necessarily improve your self-esteem.”

Comment: Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon who first noticed this phenomenon has had his observation confirmed many times.


Got neck pain… here’s something to consider…

Acupuncture, Alexander technique may be effective for long-term relief of chronic neck pain

Reported in ACP Internist, researchers conducted a 3-group, randomized controlled trial in the U.K. primary care setting.

Researchers recruited 517 patients from 33 general practices in 4 cities. Patients had neck pain lasting at least 3 months and no serious underlying pathology. The study population was predominantly female (69%) and white British (90%) patients, with a mean age of 53.2 years. Median duration of prior neck pain was 72 months.

Patients were randomized to 12 acupuncture sessions or 20 one-to-one Alexander lessons (both 600 minutes total).

Acupuncture sessions and Alexander technique lessons both led to significant reductions in neck pain and associated disability compared with usual care at 12 months.

Comment: chronic neck pain is awful so this study provides some hope.

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The Benefits of Winter Walking

Walking outdoors in the winter keeps your bones strong, improves your mood and burns calories.

By Denise Lynn Mann

Just because the trees are bare and there’s a chill in the air doesn’t mean you have to forgo your daily walks outside for the dreaded treadmill. In fact, outdoor walking during winter may have surprising benefits for people with arthritis. Walking in winter air can:

  • Keep bones strong. Like bears, people tend to hibernate during the winter and, as a result, get too little sunlight, explains Lynn Millar, PhD, a physical therapist and professor at Andrews University in Barrien Springs, Mich. That's too bad for bones. Sun exposure triggers vitamin D production in the skin, and bones need the “sunshine vitamin” to make the body absorb bone-strengthening calcium properly. Not getting outside during winter months slows down production and decreases the body’s store of vitamin D.
  • “Vitamin D is important for keeping bones strong; it’s particularly important for people with arthritis who take corticosteroids because they have an increased risk of brittle bones,” says Millar. Going for a winter walk and getting 15 minutes of sun on your face and hands two to three times per week should suffice for getting enough sun for vitamin D production.
  • Improve mood. Sunlight and just being outdoors can do wonders for lifting your mood, says Millar. Spending time with friends walking can have positive effects on mood and decrease pain. A University of Washington in Seattle study of 112 women aged 19 to 78 shows that women who took a brisk, outdoor walk for 20 minutes daily had better mood, higher self-esteem and an improved sense of well-being at the end of the eight-week study. Winter walking could provide an effective, easy-to-stick-with therapy for mild-to-moderate depression, say the researchers, especially for those who experience side effects from prescription treatment options.
  • Motivate. You are more likely to complete a workout on a walking route if you walk outdoors, simply because you need to return home or to your car, says Millar. On a treadmill, however, you can hit ‘stop’ as soon as boredom strikes.
  • Burn calories. Outdoor walking through the park or around the neighborhood on a cold day won’t burn any more calories than walking on a warm summer day, but walking in the snow will. “You expend more energy because it’s harder to move your feet in the snow, and you lift your legs a little higher,” she explains.

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I wanted to change the world

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.   Author: unknown monk around 1100 AD

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Spiced Cranberry Sauce



  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 (1/2- by 3-inch long) strips orange rind
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10–12 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture thickens.
  2. Remove orange rind; set sauce aside to cool completely. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until well-chilled. (Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead.)

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10Tips for a Good Day.  Delilah De La Rosa ~ SavvyMiss.Com

Take a few moments for yourself each morning. ~ Eat breakfast. ~ Exercise. ~ Laugh. ~ Get one annoying thing done. ~ Dream-n-do. ~ Choose something “unnecessary” over the “necessary. ~ Space Out. ~ Let it go. ~ Create a “gratitude” list

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Are you feeling sluggish? ~ Do you have trouble finding the energy to do everyday tasks? ~ Do you wish you had just a little more energy to accomplish more in your day?

Wait no longer! We might have an answer, and it really might just come in a pill!

“Natural Arthritis Energy Boost”

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  • Boosts stamina, energy and vitality
  • Promotes endurance and positive mood
  • Works to combat exhaustion stemming from adrenal gland health
  • Promotes healthy adrenal hormones
  • Eases feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Helps fight stress
  • Fosters healthy immune system function
  • Lifts that "run-down" feeling
  • Contributes to the metabolism of carbohydrates and fatty acids
  • Enhances quality of life and well being

Plus: no energy crashes like those you may experience with other energy boosts!

Now, instead of dragging yourself through the day, you can keep going strong from sun up to sun down with Arthritis Natural Energy Boost. Unlike other formulas, this breakthrough actually works at the cellular level to deliver more energy to your very "core." You’ll feel alive and full of vitality, whatever comes your way!!

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Wei's World

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Wei’s World - The high cost of prescription drugs… for our pets

It is neither surprising nor a secret that the inhabitants of the United States pay far more for prescription drugs that any other people on the planet.  And yes, pharmaceutical companies do generate mega profits as a result.  We can whine and complain about it all we want, but until something is actually done, we’ll get stuck with the tab.


And it’s not just us.  Our beloved Labradoodle, Mei-Mei (“little sister” in Chinese), just had to have one her toenails removed because of an infection.  This required sedation and surgery at the vet’s office.  However, the most expensive part of the bill was the prescription drugs (an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory), which need to be taken for two weeks afterwards. The trade names looked suspiciously like the ones on bottles of human medications.


Poor Mei-Mei.  How is she going to pay for this? Get a menial job washing out dogfood bowls at the local pound? Act as the greeter at Petsmart? Become a people walker?  Or, heaven forbid, turn tricks at the doggy brothel?


Fortunately, she has a sugar daddy and sugar momma to take care of her, so the bill was paid…  and was it ever!


So the next time you get a bill for your drugs or your patients complain about the price tag for the latest DMARD, you can tell them the story of poor Mei-Mei.  Maybe that will soften them up.

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