There are over 100 types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common.
Here in New England, another type of arthritis is becoming exceedingly common: infectious arthritis caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease.
Currently in the US, nearly 53 million people are suffering from arthritis, and as our population ages, this number will continue to increase.
Since osteoarthritis is by far the most common type, we will spend much of this article discussing it.
What are the risk factors for osteoarthritis?
The CDC lists the main risk factors as age, gender, genetics, being overweight or obese, having experienced joint injuries, infections, and occupation where repetitive motions occur.
To this list, I would add poor diet that includes allergy-causing foods, lack of physical exercise and muscular strength, high toxin burden, and structural misalignment.
Only the first three risk factors are non-modifiable, and we have control over all of the others. Any complete approach to arthritis should take these factors into consideration.
I’m told I have arthritis; what should I do now?
If you are told you have arthritis, you should be seen by a doctor who understands the many causes of arthritis, and who will take the time to uncover the risk factors in your life.
Once the risk factors are discovered, a thorough treatment approach can be developed that will address your specific risk factors.
The team of NH naturopathic doctors at North Coast Family Health has expertise in treating arthritis of all types and can individually address each of the risk factors discussed above. Therefore a thorough treatment approach may include the following:
- Developing an individualized weight loss plan that works for your lifestyle.
- Treating infections such as Borrelia burgdorferi.
- Prevention of joint injuries, modification of activities and working on strength and balance.
- Diet modification to remove allergy-causing foods.
- Assessing and treating high toxin burden. For a thorough discussion of this topic, please see our article on Detoxification.
- Hands on therapies, such as adjustments and muscle-energy stretching to address misalignment.