The COVID pandemic has driven a significant change in behaviour across the country, with more people online than ever. Screen time is up and people are spending more time surfing, socialising and shopping online.
According to Brendan Howell, director of Arborvitae Health and Wellbeing, the increase in online activity is having positive and negative effects on people, especially in the health and wellness sector.
“While our sales, especially our online sales have increased markedly during COVID, so has the number of inquiries and questions we are getting from customers about information they are reading online about health issues such as arthritis,” says Mr Howell.
“The internet is a powerful tool and it contains a lot of beneficial and useful information, but unfortunately it is also a place where people sprout a lot of misinformation.”
Here are seven arthritis myths busted.
Myth 1: Grapefruit tablets will cure arthritis
Arthritis has no cure, but medications and lifestyle changes can effectively manage symptoms and permit normal activity. Paying attention to what food you’re putting in your body can help ease your symptoms.
“Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables as some have anti-inflammatory properties that will assist with inflammation,” says Mr Howell.
Myth 2: Avoid exercise if you have an arthritis flare-up
Staying active and engaging in regular, sensible exercise may actually help arthritis. Start with just 20 minutes at a time and see how your body responds.
If your current exercise regime is causing pain, your doctor can guide you and suggest exercises that are gentler on the joints.
“While arthritic joints may sometimes need a short period of rest, gradually returning to activity is important and helps to maintain strength and range of motion in your joints,” says Mr Howell.
Myth 3: Heat is better than ice on arthritic joints
Both cold and heat can help to ease joint discomfort.
Make sure you only apply ice for 20 minutes at a time to avoid any damage to the skin though. If you don’t have any ice packs on hand, grab a bag of frozen vegetables or pop some ice cubes into a plastic bag.
A heating pad or a warm bath can do wonders for sore joints too.
“Applying both heat and cold to the joints is beneficial. Everyone is different and responds differently. Applying a heat pack in the morning to joints helps to relax the muscles that move stiff joints. Using ice packs at night can help to ease joint inflammation resulting from daily activities,” explains Mr Howell.
Myth 4: Drinking ginger tea every day will stop you from developing arthritis
To date, studies exploring ginger’s potential as an effective treatment for arthritis have had mixed outcomes. More specific research involving ginger as a medicine for humans is needed. But ginger won’t prevent you from developing arthritis.
There’s nothing you can do to completely prevent every case of arthritis, but you can reduce your risk or delay the onset of some types.
“While you can minimise the risks associated with developing arthritis, you can’t stop the onset of arthritis by drinking ginger tea. The best approach is to reduce weight, avoid smoking, eat well and keep moving,” adds Mr Howell.
Myth 5: Arthritis only affects the joints
Some types of arthritis can cause damage to the heart and other organs. It’s important to know which type of arthritis you have, because treatment varies among them and getting early treatment can be the key to preventing permanent joint and organ damage.”Unfortunately, this is not true either. There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis and related conditions. Types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis typically cause joint pain and swelling, but it also impacts the heart, lungs and other areas of the body. Many people encounter fatigue and poor sleep as a result,” says Mr Howell.
Myth 6: Massage honey and cider vinegar into the joints
“Again, there is no evidence to suggest that there is any benefit applying a concoction of honey and cider to the joints. It is a remedy that seems to be used to help people overcome the common cold, but has absolutely no benefit in the management of arthritis,” says Mr Howell.
Myth 7: Cut out all red meat
Some research links red and processed meat to inflammation, which may increase arthritis symptoms.
For example, diets heavy in processed and red meats demonstrate high levels of inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and homocysteine. But you don’t have to cut it out completely.
“Red meat is important for our health as it supplies protein, which is an essential building block, and vitamin b12, which helps make DNA and supports nerve and red blood cell health. It is essential to only eat lean meat and as part of a balanced diet,” says Mr Howell.
“Our advice to our customers is simple. Follow the management plan provided by your doctor and only include supplements in your diet that are listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
“Osteoarthritis is one of the key diseases where Arborvitae can assist in the minimisation of symptoms. Many of our customers have reported significant improvements in their osteoarthritis after taking Arborvitae.
“In fact, an independent research study published last year concluded that Arborvitae Joint Health ‘may be an effective supplementary management in controlling signs/symptoms of mild-moderate [osteoarthritis]’. This includes a reduction in inflammation and, subsequently, pain related to osteoarthritis,” says Mr Howell.
“Participants in the study experienced a 66 per cent reduction in pain test scores, a 50 per cent increase in walking distance without pain, a 56 per cent reduction in inflammation in blood tests (CRP), a 78 per cent reduction in their use of on-demand medications and a 50 per cent improvement in quality of life,” he adds.
Do you suffer from joint pain? Have you heard of any other miracle ‘cures’ for arthritis? Share your tips for managing pain in the comments section below.
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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.