Tag Archives: arthritis

“Weathering” your arthritis

Is it spring where you live? There’s a wind chill close to 20 degrees in Massachusetts today, the last week of March! Sadly, these flowers are from last year and this year’s are only just thinking about popping up.

While “spring cleaning” some backlogged blog files I came across this post about how weather affects arthritis. Bottom line,

As we have learned, whether weather is a contributing factor in arthritic pain can not be stated definitively. Even though the literature is filled with contradicting studies, one of the largest, multi-site studies conducted to date has recently demonstrated an association between the two. To quote Robert Ripley, “believe it or not.”

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I’ll take my gin without raisins, please.

Did you read my recent post on use of cherries as a gout treatment? Let’s continue the theme of wacky food treatments with the good old “gin-soaked raisins” treatment. Just do an internet search and you’ll find many sites that discuss this. Apparently you’re supposed to soak golden raisins in good gin (one post debated good gin vs cheap gin, though I know some people who’d say any gin is good gin) and eat 9 a day. No one knows why this helps with arthritis pain. There are no scholarly articles. I could not find any discussion on the science behind it. I don’t think that 9 gin-soaked raisins a day is enough to give you much of an alcohol effect, but I guess that depends on how plumped up they get. I wonder what one’s blood alcohol level would be after eating these raisins. I’m not recommending this. I just wanted to see if I could find out a little more info regarding something patients continually ask me about. It’s right up there with the idea that putting a bar of soap under your sheets will help with night time leg cramps. I don’t really feel like commenting on that one. Have you used the gin raisins? Have patients asked you about it? What do you think?

Didn’t the bionic man run?

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=hang+glide&iid=184215″ src=”0180/28acefb5-5b41-4526-be46-4810a69a9645.jpg?adImageId=11353302&imageId=184215″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]A story about playing sports after knee replacement came this week in one of my daily medical news emails. You can read the MedPage Today article here.  I send a lot of patients to the Orthopaedic surgeons for joint replacements. Unless there is something else I see them for, sometimes they don’t need a Rheumatologist anymore and don’t come back, so I don’t know how they’re doing. A fair amount do come back, though, for their RA or OA of other joints, and we talk about life after knee replacement. According to the article, here are the accepted and discouraged post-replacement activities:

Encouraged activities include bowling, croquet, golf, doubles tennis, table tennis, ballroom dancing, square dancing, stationary biking, swimming, low-resistance rowing, walking, hiking, and low-resistant weight lifting.

Discouraged activities include baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, high-impact aerobics, gymnastics, jogging, power lifting, rock climbing, hang gliding, and parachuting.

I think we have to first decide if we’re talking about an elite athlete or just an every day person trying to remain fit and active. Not many of my patients wanted to rock climb or hang glide BEFORE their surgery, let alone after. I have a hard enough time trying to convince people with arthritis that they CAN and SHOULD exercise (check out my prior post on exercise resolutions). Sports medicine doctors are probably seeing a different patient population than I am. I also found this interesting:

The revision rate for mechanical failure of the implant was lower in the patients who participated in high-impact sports (8.5% versus 11%), although the difference was not statistically significant.

How can I use this information in my practice? Well, if it seems to be OK for super athletic patients to get out there and occasionally do high-impact exercise after joint replacement, then us average Joes and Janes can certainly keep up a healthy low to moderate intensity workout post surgery. Good news!

Magnets for Arthritis?

[picapp src=”0255/0a8982b8-d3e9-459e-b017-ef85acdad94a.jpg?adImageId=7314028&imageId=258724″ width=”234″ height=”331″ /]The Doctors’ Rheum has been busy putting together a “Rheum 101” course for primary care providers, so the blogging has taken a temporary backseat. Never fear, I’m stockpiling lots of articles and tidbits for you. One from the New York Times discusses magnets for arthritis. The NYT Well blog has additional discussion on the topic. My patients ask about this ALL the time. My take? If you think something will help you, chances are it may help somewhat. The placebo effect can be quite strong. However, there are no good studies that prove they work. Some of the bracelets are very pretty. Nice jewelery but not sure how much you’ll help your arthritis.

What do goat tears feel like?

A website called www.healthnewsreview.org recently reviewed a story in the LA Times column “The Healthy Skeptic.” The title, “Arthritis creams are probably better than goat tears” cracks me up every time I see this pop up in my google reader. Apparently it’s from a TV ad, but I’ve never seen it. I recommend reading the article – it is a very short but good explanation of the use of topical creams for arthritis.