Rheumatoid arthritis

13 08 2011

It sucks..

Yeah, big time.

This is what the doctor thinks I got on my knee and left toe as well after my visit to Anhui Provincial People’s Hospital the past day. It was enough a fast look, touching a little bit my knee to see where it was painful and how much, same for the toe, and then he confirmed my amateur diagnosis. Of course, before any conclusion they also asked me for some blood, but today I got the final response.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was also my guess (類風濕性關節炎, Lèi fēngshī xìng guānjié yán in traditional Chinese or just 风湿性关节炎, Fēngshī xìng guānjié yán, in simplified, 関節リウマチ in Japanese), and I had already searched for natural treatments, possibly by traditional Chinese medicine, TCM.

The most scary part about this disease is that wherever one reads, always find sentences like:

An exercise program and physical therapy are helpful for osteoarthritis patients to maintain a satisfactory level of activity..

“Satisfactory level of activity” is a kind of kick in the balls..

I am a little worried they did not schedule me for some imaging procedure (x-rays or NMR) in order to evaluate if there is already some damage to the joints or not. I don’t know how much the blood results can say about joints. True, I’m not a physician. Just a worried, very worried (and in pain) aikidoka.

Today besides the pain killers of the previous days I got also a treatment medicine: Cefdinir,  that should target the join (soft tissue) inflammation. If after a three days cure I am still in pain I will be admitted to the hospital.

Blood test showed that 2 values are off range:

  • CRP, saying I do have Rheumatoid arthritis
  • ESR (very very off) saying I will have it over and over

The main question of how to control and reduce ESR is left after this anti-inflammatory treatment.

About the rheumatoid arthritis treatment, besides the drugs or surgery related ones, there are “slightly” variations or different approaches according to the different language versions on wikipedia, as my best friend Vitto let me notice:

  • from the Italian version: “[..] Recent studies coordinated by David Blake at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, found that some people with rheumatoid arthritis, have had relief from cannabis use”
  • from the English page: “[..] One study of 873 patients with RA found that those who drank some alcohol (none drank more than 10 units of alcohol a week) had reduced severity of symptoms compared to those who drank no alcohol” and “One survey in the United Kingdom between 1998 and 2002 found that arthritis, in its various forms, was among the five most common reasons for the medicinal use of cannabis
  • from the Netherlands: “[..] A dry and mild climate, like that of the Spanish Costa Blanca often helps to alleviate the symptoms”, that can compete, at least at tourism level, with the Swedish version: “[..] A few weeks’ stay and care in a warmer climate can be an effective rheumatism treatment. An example of such a solution is spending winter time in Tenerife or Benicasim in Spain”
  • the Spanish have a different approach (with all these North European around them): “[..] there are available natural anti-inflammatory such as devil’s claw root extract ( Harpagophytum procumbens ), with a proven beneficial effect in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis”
  • I certainly like the Czech version: “[..] Spa treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is especially suited for those patients whose disease is not very active”, cure that I would happily combine with the English suggestion and have a couple of Czech beers!

Reading more, I might have had problems even earlier, but I was curing myself with the best Norwegian (and Trondheim & NTNUI Aikido) traditions: sauna followed by cold showers reduce pain in rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment, or better, control of the disease is multiform. At least it seems to be a huge literature on the web, especially for not-drug related solutions.

My pain threshold is pretty high and I have only one thought in mind: being able to practice again. But I must be careful to not let the desire to practice Aikido jump beyond the care for avoiding future worse problems. As I often say when I teach, baby steps!



5 responses

13 08 2011

Take care


14 08 2011

Basically they say that in order to cure the arthritis you have to become addicted, better to both alcohol and cannabis.
Take care. Maybe some physiotherapy?


15 08 2011

I used to know one girl who had this, and she told me she had to eat a few pills a day and it was OK. Just keep it under control, have a specialized physician check it regularly.


19 08 2011

Wow, I’m sorry to hear this. I hope you quickly will find a way to manage the situation.


9 03 2013
2012 wrap up | Dreaming of... Asia

[…] take care of the injures/RA […]


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