I have a client who has psoriatic arthritis in her hands. I would like to know how I can help alleviate some of her pain. Her doctor wants to start her on chemo treatments for the pain.
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the skin (psoriasis) and joints (arthritis). The common symptoms are patchy, raised, red areas of skin inflammation with scaling and pain. This condition commonly affects these areas of the body: the tips of the elbows and knees, the scalp, the navel and around the genital areas or anus, but the areas are all dependent on the individual.
Psoriatic arthritis is a systemic rheumatic disease that can also cause inflammation in body tissues away from the joints other than the skin, such as in the eyes, heart, lungs and kidneys. Typically in these clients you will see immune system dysfunction, which is a sign of long term external stress affecting the person internally. The body just expresses it more externally. This condition I have also seen associated with many other arthritic conditions such Ankylosing Spondylitis (more on this below), reactive arthritis (formerly Reiter's syndrome) and arthritis associated with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (GI inflammation from improper food intake or Rx meds over time).
According to Western medicine, the cause of psoriatic arthritis is currently unknown. A combination of genetic and immune as well as environmental factors are likely involved. My perspective is this: we might have the gene markers for specific genetic conditions such as cancer, but it is how we live, eat and think that will determine whether or not these genes raise their ugly heads. As well, most are brought into this world with balance and ease. I feel it is the person and how he lives, eats and thinks that will determine how much stress he puts his body (i.e., immune system) under. The body can handle stress, but over time, if we never acknowledge or adapt to our stressors, they will break us down. For example, if one is eating conventional foods, drinks a lot of coffee and alcohol, takes Rx meds, etc, we will create gut dysfunctions, especially leaky gut syndrome. Over time, the foods we eat slip through the leaky gut into our blood, and our body attaches antibodies to those antigens. We have phagocytes that play "clean up" to help the body and immune system to eliminate these antigens. But over time, if we do not change how we live, the phagocytes cannot keep up, and the amount of antibodies with antigens grows and grows. To make a long story short, the end result is self fighting self, which equals autoimmune disease!
In patients with psoriatic arthritis who have arthritis of the spine, a gene marker named HLA-B27 is frequently but not always found. Blood testing is now available to test for the HLA-B27 gene. I would refer your client to a holistic MD for this test. I have had clients with this dysfunction, but none have come up with this marker.
Other causes include the following:
- When the body is out of alignment, there is wear and tear on the joints. This is exacerbated with improper exercise and movements within daily life. I'm not saying this is the root of her issue, but it can complicate things.
- Overuse of NSAID does create inflammation in the gut (where 70% of the immune system is housed). This creates more systemic inflammation, and toxins are actually held in the joints.
- Certain parasites, such as Klebsiella, have been shown to create certain arthritic conditions. More so, it has been associated with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
- Eating conventional foods on a daily basis creates inflammation in the body. This in turn activates the immune system and creates joint inflammation and pain.
- Chronic dehydration has been shown through research to create joint pain. The body’s joints contain fluid, and when you are dehydrated, these fluids become dehydrated as well.
- Most ligaments in the body contain estrogen receptors. When a woman is estrogen dominant (not enough progesterone to oppose estrogen), this creates ligament laxity, which in turn creates instability within the joints, resulting in wear and tear.
Treatments that I have used for psoriatic arthritis:
- Find a skilled CHEK Practitioner (www.chekinstitute.com) in your area to perform a full assessment on your client in order to get an individualized corrective exercise program.
- Eliminate NSAIDs for pain reduction. There are many alternatives such as acupuncture, glutamine, cod liver oil and proteolitic enzymes (www.vitalzym.com) as well as some great immune system support herbs from www.oramune.com.
- Get a stool test done by your local functional medicine practitioner in order to see if you have any parasites that could be creating the arthritis. You can contact www.biodia.com and order the 401H and www.diagnostechs.com to order the GI 2 panel. From there, an MD on their staff can help with a protocol that suits your client's needs.
- Follow a more holistic lifestyle by eating food from the land. Start by eating grass fed meats, eliminating all things with a shelf life, that come in a box or can and that have to be microwaved. A simple way to start is to follow the principles in How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! by Paul Chek.
- Begin by drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day. This should be reverse osmosis water and not distilled or tap water. Most tap water has been shown to contain over 300 various hazardous elements in it, which will create joint and body inflammation.
- Get a local hormonal panel done by your local functional medicine practitioner. If you are estrogen dominant, using Bio-identical hormones will create homeostasis.