Counseling Sheet

A General Letter on Arthritis

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

A simple nutritional suggestion helps many people with arthritis. It is to leave out all the nightshade foods (potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes) in the diet. A trial of this for a month or more may give evidence of improvement of symptoms. Another diet change that can help arthritis sometimes and certainly health in general is to go on a strict vegetarian diet, i.e. eliminate the use of not only all forms of meat but also dairy products and eggs.

Sometimes, because of an allergy or something in the diet, some of the most common offenders have been soy products, coffee, sugar, as well as milk and eggs.

More difficult to apply would be a diet for gluten sensitivity, so that wheat, rye, and oats would have to be eliminated. A low-fat diet has been found to naturally eliminate severe joint swelling and pain. Even on a strict vegetarian diet some items of high fat content like nuts, coconuts, avocados, and possibly olives would have to be eliminated.

A period of eating just raw food and vegetables for two weeks has been found to give good results. Exercise is a very important part of the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Ideal exercise would include that which takes the heavy stress of weight bearing off the legs, while still allowing for muscle use and joint movement. Walking can be done as long as it does not go to the point of causing pain that lasts for many hours afterwards.

An isometric exercise can be good for maintaining muscle and should be done without moving the joint. Lying on your back on a firm surface with legs straight, the person would then contract the muscles of the whole leg while flattening the knee down on the firm surface. One can repeat these isometric contractions - holding them for six seconds, resting for about four seconds, repeating the contraction, and then resting for about a minute. This type of exercise can be repeated for another two intervals, with one minute of short rest in-between.

Heat applied to the joints, for example, an electric heating pad, or even the opposite temperature extreme, with the use of ice, can often bring relief to pain.

One final point about knee arthritis is that it would certainly be helped if the person is not overweight. If he is overweight at all, a reducing diet would be in order, the most important method being a strict vegetarian diet with no dairy, eggs or meat. Eat only breakfast and dinner with no supper, with no meal after about 3 P.M. You will have to do without any snacking or drinking of juices or other liquids except water in between meals.

Contact Us For More Information

Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center
30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875