Ten Arthritis Myths and Realities
© 2005 Katherine Poehlmann, Ph.D.
Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown discovered the link between bacterial infection and rheumatic disease in the 1940s. He found that the tetracycline family of antibiotics was particularly effective in quashing the infection when given in a low dose over a long period of time. Sadly, the medical establishment still considers this treatment controversial after 60 years of solid scientific evidence and documented case studies. Once the bacterial infection is brought under control and your immune system is revitalized to take over, you can stop the antibiotics. For some people, the treatment takes months or years. The treatment applies to RA, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, MS, and many other diseases characterized by joint pain, inflammation, and chronic fatigue. The protocol has a 30-40% probability of complete remission and a 70-80% chance of significant reduction of symptoms.
Scientific research and definitive tests have disproved this, although doctors still like to categorize. RA and OA are the two main types of arthritis, but RA infection leads directly to OA as collagen, the building block of cartilage, is gradually destroyed. The result is bone-on-bone friction – the hallmark of OA. You can also suffer from reactive arthritis for a variety of reasons: salmonella, food allergies, chemical sensitivities, the flu, and so forth. Testing labs like Better Health USA in Florida and ImmunoSciences Lab in Beverly Hills, CA offer definitive tests to help determine what’s really causing your pain. It may turn out to be an allergy, not arthritis.
OA is a wear-and-tear condition resulting from a wide range of causes: misaligned bones from poor posture, ill-fitting shoes, carrying heavy weight – body weight or briefcases or backpacks, lax muscles that undermine joint integrity, poor circulation, heavy lifting, joint-pounding exercise, or improper physical therapy.
RA can strike any age group – even babies – both sexes, all ethnic groups. OA is a secondary effect of RA, so young people with RA can develop OA early in life. Because there are no nerves in cartilage, you don’t notice the erosion until it’s too late and you feel the pain of bone grinding on bone. Cartilage destruction can happen to sedentary middle-aged people, usually in the knees and hips. It can happen to athletes at an early age who have made a career of pounding their cartilage and endure repeated joint traumas.
Scientific research and case studies (especially veterinary treatments) have shown the benefits of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and gelatin for adding elasticity and flexibility to cartilage. Vitamin C stabilizes collagen. Immunosuppresive prescription drugs deplete Vitamin C. Hyaluronic acid injections aid in rebuilding cartilage. Joint replacement surgery should be a last resort after all other options have been explored. Danger of staphylococcus infection is a good reason to avoid hospitals.
Many benign herbal and homeopathic remedies can alleviate pain. Meditation, self-hypnosis, specific exercises (like yoga and tai chi) are proven to be useful in pain/stress management. Prescription drugs stifle the immune system’s normal action, increasing the risk for infection. When you don’t feel pain, you may be doing your joints harm, and causing further damage to cartilage.
Exercise doesn’t mean signing up with a gym or doing strenuous aerobics. Gentle stretching and deep breathing can be done anywhere, at any time, with little or no equipment. Train yourself to do “Chair-robics” during TV commercials. Keep a stretch band and a ball handy. The worst thing you can do when suffering joint pain is to become sedentary. Inactivity lets your cartilage dry out so joints get stiff, like a sponge. Don’t sit for more than an hour (TV, computer, bingo) without some flexing and stretching. Brisk walking and water aerobics are highly beneficial.
Cartilage maintains its flexibility by compression and relaxation, bringing fluid and nutrients to the tissues. We lose fluids as we age, and replenishing them is essential to good health. One of the best ways to keep your joints flexible and your cartilage supple is to drink lots of pure water, not tap water or distilled water. Bottled spring water or filtered tap water or herbal teas are best. Eight glasses per day is somewhat intimidating, but 2 sports bottles holds that amount.
There are 250 million people in the United States, and an estimated 20 million osteoarthritis sufferers – less than 10%. Numbers should be much higher if all people over 40 automatically face OA. Those who start good nutrition and exercise habits in their teens and 20s and maintain a robust immune system will likely avoid OA in later life.
Nobody has all the answers. We should always be in learning mode. It’s unfortunate that some doctors are so closed-minded when it comes to treatments they weren’t taught in school. One of those treatments is Dr. Brown’s groundbreaking discovery and decades of scientific proof. Of course, there are many organizations with a vested interest in keeping alive the myth that arthritis is incurable and unavoidable. Doctors are often hamstrung by orders from their HMOs to prescribe from an approved list of medications and treatments because the HMO’s get lucrative contracts from the drug companies. Foundations and researchers “in search of a cure” continue to appeal for donations to perpetuate their bureaucracies. Pain relievers are a multi-billion dollar bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry. Arthritis drugs like Enbrel and Celebrex are expensive. Tetracycline is cheap. Why kill the golden goose by announcing a possible cure?
MYTH #10: You just have to live with it
The Internet can put you in touch with arthritis support groups. Research sites give you the information you need to take charge of your health. Some sites identify physicians who will apply Dr. Brown’s antibiotic therapy, for instance, the Dr. A. Robert Franco’s Arthritis Center of Riverside, CA and Dr. Julian Whitaker’s Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, CA.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of practitioners willing to listen to Dr. Brown’s message of hope and healing. They work with their patients to cure their illness instead of just treating symptoms. I am one of many thousands of grateful former RA sufferers, including my 82-year-old mother, as living proof that Dr. Brown’s regimen works. It’s not a magic bullet. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s certainly worth a try.
Dr. Poehlmann is the author of Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection, available at Amazon.com and major bookstores, or click here to order now.