Allergic Reaction - Arthritis

Arthritis is a handicap. Swollen, tender, inflamed joints limit motion. The simplest tasks – writing a letter, opening a car door, walking a cross the room – become a chore. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis effect the joints receive the most wear and tear: knees, big toes, fingers, lower spine.

The cartilage that covers the end of the bones disintegrate, and the bones themselves wear away. In most cases of rheumatoid arthritis, joints are inflamed and may eventually become deformed. Rheumatoid arthritis is regarded by some as an autoimmune disease – the body produces antibodies against it's own cells and tissue.

In short, the body behaves as though it's allergic itself. In addition to the joint changes in rheumatoid arthritis, the adjacent bones, muscles and skin waste away – explaining the muscle aches that so often accompany arthritis. Regardless of the variety, treatment of arthritis consist mostly or relieving pain and maintaining motion. Mercifully, arthritis pain tends to come and go, granting it's victim periods of relief.

Research by Theron Randolph, M.D., a Chicago allergist, suggests that some cases of osteoarthritis may improve when food and environmental allergens are avoided. To illustrated his claim, Dr. Randolph tells of a 30 years old pianist and violinist who had been well until she moved into an all gas equipped gas house. At the same time, she began to switch from natural fiber clothing to synthetics.

She then did some traveling, during which she exposed to heavy traffic fumes. At that point she become so incapacitated by muscle aches and joint pains that she had to give up playing both the violin and piano. Dr. Randolph found that the woman was allergic to corn, tomato, peas, beets and beet sugar, lamb, rice, wheat, milk and beef.

Those foods produced varying degrees of fatigue, stiffness and joint pain, all of which disappeared when the foods ware avoided. When she returned home she found that her arthritis flared up again, but that she felt better when she was outside.

She replaced her gas strove and heating system with electric appliances and made her bedroom into a pollution free oasis. She then reintroduced suspicious items one at a time. Polyester bed-sheets and several other plastic and synthetic items seems to trigger her discomfort.

”At the present time, (the woman) is free of muscle and joint pain,” reports Dr. Randolph. ”But there remains some impaired motion in the left wrist, due to the destruction of tissue caused when her illness was uncontrolled. She also gets a mild increase in arthritic symptoms before her monthly period, after housekeeping, when the pine trees in her yard are putting out new growth and when she is working in the yard.

”However, there is simply no comparison between the minor problems she was now and the crippled patient whom we admitted to the hospital a few years ago,” says Dr. Randolph (An Alternative Approach to Allergies, Lippincott and Crowel, 1979). Rheumatic arthritis, too, may be helped.

While following a diet that excluded grain, milk, seed and nuts, beef, cheese, eggs, chicken, fish, potato, onion and liver. When they later tried to eat these foods, 19 of the people found that their arthritis worsened – sometimes in as little as two hours (Clinical Allergy, vol. 10. no. 4, 1980).

Furthermore, speaking at a meeting of the American College of Allergist in January, 1981, I. T. Chao, M.D., of Brooklyn, New York, said, ”Food incompability, although unrecognized, is a common cause of many form of chronic arthritis” (Annals of Allergy, August, 1981).

One family of foods, the nightshades, seems to be particularly troublesome for some arthritics. Tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tobacco contain mild toxins such as solanine, which don't bother most people. But to the 5 or 10 percent of the population who are sensitive to those toxins, nightshades seem to trigger arthritic flare-ups.

According to Norman F. Childers, Ph.D., a retired professor of horticulture at Rutgers University in New Jersey, many arthritics who avoid the nightshades find dramatic relief from joint tenderness, pain and stiffness. While not an allergy per se, nightshade sensitivity is managed like an allergy – by avoiding all traces of those foods, plus tobacco.

And like other allergy diets, the no nightshade approach requires careful planning. ”You find tomatoes. White potatoes and peppers in a wide variety of dishes, and they must all be avoided to give the diet a chance to work,” says Dr. Childers. ”Even paprika on fish can cause a reaction in sensitive people,” he says.

Seasoning containing paprika and other red peppers are widely used in processed foods (black peppers is not related to the nightshades and can be eaten on this diet). We can’t go so far as to say that control of allergies will reverse the degeneration that’s responsible for arthritis – the disease tends to progress no matter what you do, especially if it's reached the stage where your joints are deformed.

And arthritis is one of those conditions where no one therapy – environmental or medical – works for everyone. But those reports seem to indicate that some people with milder forms of arthritis can experience much welcomed relief of pain, swelling and stiffness after changing their diet or home environment.