6 Reasons You Get Back Pain!

Did you know that 80% of the population in the United States will have low back pain during their lifetime.  If not treated, it can lead to chronic low back pain which can last for months at a time.

So why do people get back pain? According to Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, professor and chairman emeritus of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the lower back has a lot of mechanical stress and strain put on it. The weight we have in the upper body pushes down along with gravity and puts a load on the low back.

Here are some main reasons for lower back pain:
1. Sedentary lifestyle: Our lives have changed and most of us sit for long periods of time at work and at home. Not moving and sitting in one position puts added strain to the low back and weakens the muscles connecting to the spine.  It also shortens the hamstring muscles which then pull on the hip and low back muscles.

2. Weak Core: Even though someone may lift weights, do yoga, run or bike, the low back can be weak if the core is not activated during such exercises or the exercises they are doing are not promoting the core to engage. Also, if your body is not aligned properly the function of the muscles are inhibited and you will not get the most out of your workout. If the core is weak, putting any added strain on the erector spinae muscles surrounding the low back will agitate the nerves around them and inflammation will begin.

3. Twisting and lifting at the same time: Many people take the back for granted and lift their baby or an item while twisting. This puts a lot of strain on the disks that separate one vertebrae from another and keeps space for the nerves to branch out from the spinal cord. This movement can lead to herniation of the disk and actual disk tears.

4. Sleeping in the wrong position or having an old or the wrong mattress: Sleeping in a twisted position for hours pulls and strains the low back. Just imaging playing twister for 7 hours and see how it would put a strain on your body. Well, sleeping in the wrong position for long periods of time is pretty much like playing twister for hours with the muscles being pulled and strained along with other tissues and bones.

Having a mattress that is caved in or too soft with the back not getting enough support will again pull on the spine and soft tissues leading to disfunction of the spine and lead to sometimes pretty severe pain.

5. Scoliosis: Scoliosis is when there is a lateral curve in the spine. This leads to the body moving differently and tightening muscles on one side more than the other. It also causes one hip to be higher than the other and the shoulders to also be uneven. Think this leads to some back and neck pain? Sure does….

6. Osteoporosis: This is an arthritis that is caused by trauma and overuse of the joints. This means all joints which include the spine and extremities. Most of us are aware of arthritis in the hands and hips but the spine has joints too and they can get arthritis as well. This leads to disfunction of movement which can lead to fusion of the joints which restrict the nerve and cause pain or discomfort.

I often hear people come in and say “I have a pinched nerve!” A nerve being pinched is pretty rare (it does occur), but mostly what is happening is that the nerve is irritated and starts to illicit pain. The only thing in your body that gives off pain and sensation is your nerves. So getting stress off of them is key. A lot of times I hear people say they have muscle pain. Well, muscles don’t produce pain, nerves do. Muscles move, the heart does not produce pain, it is the nerves in and around the heart that do that.

So, when you have pain, it is a nerve and that nerve has been irritated. Now we have to find out why. This is the area that we are masters at. Once we help you find out the cause of why your nerves are irritated, the body will heal and you can get back to doing what you love to do and really thrive again!

What is Spinal Decompression?

Back pain is pretty common these days especially with all of the desk jobs and long hours sitting. We have begun to be more sedentary than we ever were before.

If you have had chronic back pain you may have considered spinal decompression therapy. There is surgical and non-surgical decompression. Lets look at the advantages and risk of each option.

What is Non-surgical Decompression:
Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression is a form of traction that is low force stretching of the spine which opens up the disc space and gets more blood and spinal fluid to the discs.  This will help get the proper nutrients providing growth and healing.  This is really great for bulging discs or herniations.  Taking the stress out of the disk will allow the bulge or herniation to retract a bit and not put so much pressure one the spinal cord.  It is normally not painful and patients normally feel more relaxed and lighter after the treatment.

This is how it works:
A harness is placed on two places on the body to provide stretching of the spine. You can either be on your stomach or back. The doctor will then customize a treatment plan on a computer for a specific treatment time. Treatment times can be from 30 to 45 minutes. Depending on the severity of symptoms and type of ailment, a patient may need 20-30 treatments over a 5 to 7 week time frame.

When is it not okay to have this procedure?
1. During pregnancy
2. Fractures
3. Tumors
4. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
5. Fusions of the spine

If you do decide to have Spinal Decompression Surgery (if other measures have not worked out), there are different types that may be considered.

• Diskectomy: A portion of the disk is removed when it is putting pressure on the nerves or spinal cord
• Laminectomy: Removal of the bone to increase the spinal canal. This can be a very large removal or a small removal. Be sure to let your surgeon know you would like it to be as minimal as possible. You don’t want your full spinal cord exposed without protection, that is what the bones are for.
• Foraminotomy/foreinectomy: Removal of bone and tissue around the foramina to expand the space between the bones and the nerve roots.
• Osteophyte removal: These are bone spurs that can be removed to make sure it doesn’t impinge on the nerves or spinal cord.

What can happen after the surgery?
• Infections to the spinal and surgical entry area
• Bleeding (inside or outside)
• Blood clots can occur
• Anesthesia allergic reaction
• Nerve damage
• Tissue damage
• Paralysis
• Death

As you can see, surgery can be very dangerous and should only be considered as a LAST resort. Many people opt for surgery first and in many cases, it does not solve the symptoms at all and can create more problems to the area.

Always try other options like chiropractic and massage, they can help relieve inflammation that may be making the spinal canal smaller and relieve a lot of problems.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic Treatment

Question 1: Will Chiropractic Help Me?

In a word, YES! But does this mean chiropractic will make you feel better with your particular health problem?

Your body is self-healing. This means your body can correct most of its own health problems. But this can only happen if your body is functioning normally. Your nervous system is the master controller of all function in your body. It is the job of your nerve system to see that everything is functioning properly and keeping you healthy.

So, When I see a Chiropractor will they help me feel better? 

In a word, YES! But it is your body that ultimately heals you and helps you feel better. Chiropractors do not claim to heal you or cure you. Healing come from inside you.

It is your nerve system that controls the function of your body and ultimately your health. Any interference to your nerve system will effect the function of your body and therefore effect your body’s ability to keep you healthy.

In essence, only you can cure you. What the chiropractor does is to locate and remove interference to your nervous system and thus allow your body’s healing abilities to take over.

What is this Subluxation that I hear chiropractors talk about?

This is when there is an interference to your nervous system when bones in your spine (vertebrae) move out of alignment and apply pressure or irritate the nerves that come out from between the spinal vertebrae. This then causes the nerve system to malfunction. When your nerves malfunction, parts of your body will function at less than 100% of their abilities.  This includes your organs since they are regulated by the nervous system as well!

When these vertebrae move out of place and cause interference to your nervous system, it is known as a Subluxation. Chiropractors seek to correct subluxations by a series of specific chiropractic adjustments to your spine. By correcting these subluxations you are allowing your nervous system to work normally and therefore allowing your body to heal itself.

Will they cure my problem?

Chiropractic helps you by working to free your nervous system of interference from subluxations.  Nerves in your spine go to organs and tissues.  If you are not getting the proper signals to those areas they will become stressed and weak which may lead to problems.  Everyday we encounter stress.  Physical (falls/accidents), Emotional (work/family stress), Chemical (pesticides/junk food).  This can take a toll on the body and when it takes a toll, it affects the nerves.  When we administer care, we are igniting those nerves and increasing blood flow and taking away stress in those areas allowing them to heal.  This is how we help the body.  The Cure comes from the body itself.  We are conduits for that process.  So, we don’t cure anything, we help your body heal on its own.  We also can give advice on lifestyle changes which also allows your body to work efficiently and decrease stress.  Make Sense?

Again, Doctors of Chiropractic do not treat your pain, symptoms or diseases. Though most people come into the office with pain or some other symptom, what chiropractors do is take the stress out of your body  and find the cause of what is causing the symptom.  This enables your body’s own innate healing abilities, so that you can heal yourself.  Pain goes away because your body is functioning properly, it is as simple as that!

Millions of people have found health after suffering with all kinds of problems. Your body will always be better off with a nervous system free of interference from subluxations.

 

Under chiropractic care, not only should you feel better, but with your nerve system functioning better, you should actually be healthier because your body is free of stress and working at its optimal level.

Chiropractic Adjustments Enhance Signals to the Brain and Body

The brain is the master control system for the entire body. It sends and receives a complicated frequency of signals with the body that dictate the function of the body. When there is interference in this neurological feedback loop, it alters the environment the brain perceives itself to be in; this consequently changes the adaptation process the brain orchestrates throughout the body. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to enhance the sensorimotor integration of the brain with the body.

Many experts have hypothesized that increased stress cycles in the body produce the environment for dis-ease and eventually disease within the body. Stress can come from a variety of sources in the mental/emotional form, chemical form, and physical realm. When the body is under increased stress it responds by increasing its sympathetic tone. This means the body shunts itself into “fight or flight” survival based mode by altering cardiovascular & endocrine function to get itself ready for dynamic activity.

Increased sympathetic tone causes a release of stress hormones such as adrenalin, epinephrine, and cortisol. This is the same response we get when we are anxious or exercising. This is okay if it is for a short period of time; however, when the stress lasts longer than expected it exhausts the body and causes a state of dis-ease to manifest.

When the brain sends information to the organs, muscles, and tissues of the body, this is called efferent neurological flow. In return, the afferent flow of information includes all the messages sent to the brain from skin, muscle, joint, and organ receptors. This afferent/efferent neurological loop is how the body is able to respond and adapt appropriately to its environment.

The ramifications of increased stress hormones in the body include overworked adrenal glands, lowered immunity, decreased digestive functions, fatigue, & blood pressure disturbances. Increased cortisol levels also cause ligament laxity by stripping critical proteins from the tendon and ligament structures. This causes joint weakness throughout the body, including the spine and extremities, making them much more susceptible to injury.

Subluxation is a term used to describe mechanical compression and irritation to spinal joints and nerves. Subluxation scrambles the neurological feedback loop by causing altered rhythms of neurological flow. Subluxations are caused by trauma, poor posture, or increased chemical and emotional stresses.

Subluxations are a physical stress on the body and therefore increase the sympathetic tone, so the body shunts its energy toward the fight or flight system. If the subluxation(s) are not corrected they continue to produce this increased stress response. This increases cortisol and causes greater joint & ligament laxity in the spine and extremities making them more susceptible to injury. Additionally, increased long-term stress on the body greatly accelerates the degenerative processes of the spine and joints leading to osteoarthritis.

Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to normalize spinal afferent/efferent processes to their proper resting tone. This is like hitting the reset button on the computer when it is malfunctioning. The computer is allowed to pause and reprocess itself. Chiropractic adjustments stop the stress response and restore normal hormonal and cardiovascular function to the body. This allows the body to reset itself and begin healing the damage that was done in the body due to chronic stress cycles.

Research performed by Taylor and Murphy demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments enhanced sensorimotor integration, the body’s ability to sense where it is in space and effectively coordinate complex movement patterns. This improves function in both the brain and the body. Improved spatial intelligence translates into better physical and mental balance, coordination, and mobility. Chiropractic adjustments make you think and move with better speed, skill, and finesse.

References: http://www.alpineclinicofchiropractic.com/2010/09/balance-and-movemen…

Taylor H, Murphy B. Cervical Spine Manipulation Alters Sensorimotor Integration: A Somatosensory evoked potential study. Clin Neurophysiol; 2007;118:391-402

Taylor, H, Murphy B. Altered Sensorimotor Integration with Cervical Spine Manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther; 2008;31:115-126

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/031134_chiropractic_brain_health.html#ixzz1rQEf7xmg

 

Erb’s Palsy In New Born Babies

Erb’s palsy occurs when there is an injury to the cervical nerve roots, C5 and C6 (Brachial Plexus).  It commonly occurs due birth injury in a baby during difficult labor. Tugging and pulling on the infant’s head during birth pulls on the nerves and can severely damage the nerves coming from the neck going down to the hand.  It can also occur in adults due to bike accidents or fall when the shoulder is pulled downward and the head is tilted.

Erbs palsy involves the deltoid muscle, which helps in lifting the arm upwards and other shoulder muscles that help with rotating the arms.  It is also known as “waiters tip deformity” because the arm is straight down the side of the body with the palm of the hand pointing up as if a waiter is asking a bribe or tip from someone.

Surgery is sometimes performed but in many cases, new borns can get a slight  adjustment to the neck by a Chiropractor to help lessen the stretching of the nerves.  When these nerves start to relax they can regenerate and normal movement can be restored.

Signs of Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid)

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can significantly accelerate your body’s metabolism, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.

Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems, which may make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose. It can also cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including:

  • Sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and diet remain normal or even increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute — irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping

Who gets this problem?
Older adults are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms or subtle ones, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to become tired during ordinary activities.

Grave’s Ophthalmopathy:

Sometimes a problem called Graves’ Ophthalmopathy may affect your eyes. In this disorder, your eyeballs protrude beyond their normal protective orbits when tissues and muscles behind your eyes swell. This pushes the eyeballs forward so far that they actually bulge out of their orbits. This can cause the front surface of your eyeballs to become very dry. Signs and symptoms of Graves’ ophthalmopathy include:

  • Protruding eyeballs
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • Excessive tearing or discomfort in one or both eyes
  • Light sensitivity, blurry or double vision, inflammation, or reduced eye movement

What causes Hyperthyroidism?
A number of conditions, including Graves’ disease, toxic adenoma, Plummer’s disease (toxic multinodular goiter) and thyroiditis, can cause hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism can lead to a number of complications:

  • Heart problems. Some of the most serious complications of hyperthyroidism involve the heart. These include a rapid heart rate, a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure — a condition in which your heart can’t circulate enough blood to meet your body’s needs. These complications are generally reversible with appropriate treatment.
  • Brittle bones. Untreated hyperthyroidism can also lead to weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis). The strength of your bones depends, in part, on the amount of calcium and other minerals they contain. Too much thyroid hormone interferes with your body’s ability to incorporate calcium into your bones.
  • Eye problems. People with Graves’ ophthalmopathy develop eye problems, including bulging, red or swollen eyes, sensitivity to light, and blurring or double vision.
  • Red, swollen skin. In rare cases, people with Graves’ disease develop Graves’ dermopathy, which affects the skin, causing redness and swelling, often on the shins and feet.
  • Thyrotoxic crisis. Hyperthyroidism also places you at risk of thyrotoxic crisis — a sudden intensification of your symptoms, leading to a fever, a rapid pulse and even delirium. If this occurs, seek immediate medical care.
  • How is this diagnosed? A diagnosis can be confirmed with blood tests that measure the levels of thyroxine and TSH in your blood. High levels of thyroxine and low or nonexistent amounts of TSH indicate an overactive thyroid. The amount of TSH is important because it’s the hormone that signals your thyroid gland to produce more thyroxine. These tests are particularly necessary for older adults, who may not have classic symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

How can chiropractic help?
There is evidence that supports certain cases of thyroid disorders can result from the disruption or malfunction of nerves emerging from the brain and spinal cord which control the thyroid gland.  Eliminating improper curvature in the spine resulting in stretching or pinching the nerves that supply signals to the thyroid gland.

Impingement Sydrome vs. Frozen Shoulder

Impingement Syndrome and Frozen Shoulder are very similar because they effect the shoulder joint but there are some differences.  Lets look at both and see what we can do about them.

Impingement Syndrome (I.S.):
We become more at risk for shoulder can happen as we get older because we become tighter and less mobile.  This condition can sometimes become a problem after bouts of shoulder bursitis or rotator cuff tendonitis.  Injuries to the shoulder inflame the tissues and can cause long term damage.  The rotator cuff muscles become tight and do not function properly leading to decreased movement of the shoulder.

What are the Symptoms?
Difficulty lifting a straight arm over your head or behind your back.  There can be tightness, pain and tenderness on the shoulder area. If this problem is not taken care of, chronic muscle tightness and atrophy can pull or rupture the bicep muscle or tendon limiting ability to bend the arm and elbow as well.

What can be done?

1. Stretching exercises

2. Proper alignment of the shoulder in the joint space

3. Muscle and tissue loosening with massage or sastm (a Graston Technique)

4. Ultrasound, Tens machines can also be used to stimulate the area

What is a frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)?
Frozen Shoulder is similar to Impingement syndrome but the capsule of the arm is affected with loss of movement in all directions (over the head, to the side, backwards).  It happens during active motion (patient does it) or when the doctor moves it and the patient is relaxing the arm.

What causes a frozen shoulder?
Repetitive movements or injury to the shoulder which causes inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the shoulder’s  joint capsule which surrounds the shoulder joint and keeps muscles and tissues in place.

If you are diabetic, have chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis or have recently had chest or breast surgery you are at a higher risk of getting Frozen Shoulder.  Also, long term non-movement of the arm in its normal range of motion can develop frozen shoulder.

How do we know you have frozen shoulder?

During examination we will move your arm and see where its limitations are.  Orthopedic tests will be administered to test strength and neurological testing will be performed.

If necessary, an x-ray with contrast dye injected (Arthography) into the shoulder joint can show problems with the capsule.   Also an MRI can be taken to see soft tissue damage.

In order to help with this problem, proper stretching of the arm and rehabilitation is required.  Stretches must be done everyday to keep good blood flow, movement and mobility.  Here is the bad news….once you have frozen shoulder or impingement syndrome, you have to keep stretching.  It can and will come back.

Both of these problems need a lot of time for rehabilitation.  It can sometimes take be 6-8 months to get back to full function.  Be patient, it will happen, just a lot of hard work to get you back in the swing of things again.

It can be tricky but in either case, our Redwood City Chiropractic office can help.

Double Crush Syndrome Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Have you ever heard of Double Crush Syndrome?  No, this is not when you have a crush on more than one person… It is a problem caused when there is pressure or stretching to your median nerve which goes down your arm to your fingers. This nerve goes through an area of your hand called the “carpal tunnel”.   So, most of you may know it as carpal tunnel syndrome.

So what does it feel like?

You may have weakness in your hands, drop things easily, have problems gripping or opening jars, experience numbness or tingling in your fingers or hands. Even holding your phone can produce symptoms! Pain can move up from your wrist to your shoulder as well.

What can be done?

In most cases, making sure your carpal tunnel is moving properly which allows your nerve to have room and applying gentle effective adjustments can relieve pressure of your median nerve. Stretching your Pronator Teres muscle located in your forearm as well as stretches and massage to your forearm can greatly relieve your symptoms and even keep them away for good! No need for surgery, splints or shots. Your body will thank you by staying healthy and keeping you out of pain and discomfort.

It is a problem that may take some time but with proper treatment, it will heal.

Rotator Cuff Injuries Can Creep Up On You

Your rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons on the upper part of your shoulder.  These muscles are responsible for rotating your arm outward (Teres Minor and Infraspinatus), rotating it inward (Subscapularis) and moving it away from your body (Supraspinatus).  Since we use our arms a lot, irritation or damage to the rotator cuff is fairly common.

Injuries to the area can result from falling on the shoulder, lifting and repetitive arm movements.  The most common cause of a rotator cuff injury occurs when you lift our arm over your head to throw a baseball or to open shelves that are above the shoulders.  Athletes and chefs commonly have problems with the shoulder.

Here are some common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury:

Pain and tenderness in your shoulder, especially when reaching overhead, reaching behind your back, lifting, pulling or sleeping on your side
Weakness
Limited movement in the shoulder
avoidance of lifting your arm over your head for fear of pain.

What causes a rotator cuff problem?

Normal wear and tear. Increasingly after age 40, normal wear and tear on your rotator cuff can cause a breakdown of fibrous protein (collagen) in the cuff’s tendons and muscles. This makes them more prone to degeneration and injury. With age, you may also develop calcium deposits within the cuff or arthritic bone spurs that can pinch or irritate your rotator cuff.
Poor posture. When you slouch your neck and shoulders forward, the space where the rotator cuff muscles reside can become smaller. This can allow a muscle or tendon to become pinched under your shoulder bones (including your collarbone), especially during overhead activities, such as throwing.
Falling. Using your arm to break a fall or falling on your arm can bruise or tear a rotator cuff tendon or muscle.
Lifting or pulling. Lifting an object that’s too heavy or doing so improperly — especially overhead — can strain or tear your tendons or muscles. Likewise, pulling something, such as a high-poundage archery bow, may cause an injury.
Repetitive stress. Repetitive overhead movement of your arms can stress your rotator cuff muscles and tendons, causing inflammation and eventually tearing. This occurs often in athletes, especially baseball pitchers, swimmers and tennis players. It’s also common among people in the building trades, such as painters and carpenters.
Being an athlete. Athletes who regularly use repetitive motions, such as baseball pitchers, archers and tennis players, have a greater risk of having a rotator cuff injury.
Working in the construction trades. Carpenters and painters, who also use repetitive motions, have an increased risk of injury.
Having weak shoulder muscles. This risk factor can be decreased or eliminated with shoulder-strengthening exercises, especially for the less commonly strengthened muscles on the back of the shoulder and around the shoulder blades.

Problems in your shoulder can be a long term problem.  When tissues are damaged it can take 8-12 weeks to heal.  Even after reconditioning the area you must keep up with it especially if you have a job that calls for repetitive shoulder movement.  I have had great success with S.A.S.T.M. to recondition the tissue along with proper alignment of the shoulder.  Incorporating exercises to strengthen the area really helps!  You don’t have to live with shoulder pain and limitation.  Give us a call and we will guide you to health.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Anyway?

RA is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder that affects the synovial joints in the hands and feet. This arthritis affects the lining of your joints. This begins to swell the area and cause pain. Eventually it causes the joints to deform. It can also feel like muscle soreness, fatigue and fever.

Women are 3x as likely as men to get RA. The most common ages where the signs of RA begin are from the age of 40 to 60. There are treatments that can help with the symptoms of RA. Here is a list of common symptoms:

  1. Joint pain and swelling
  2. Joints are tender when pushed on
  3. Hands are discolored (red) and puffy
  4. Firm bumps may occur under the skin on the arm
  5. Fatigue
  6. Morning stiffness that lingers throughout the day
  7. Fever
  8. Weight loss

Where is RA going to hit first?
It tends to go after the small joints first. Hand/fingers, wrists, ankles, feet/toes. After a few years it may move to the larger joints such as the shoulder, knees, elbows, hips, jaw and neck. It also occurs on both sides of the body, meaning if one shoulder is affected so with the other shoulder.

Symptoms aren’t always present
Severity may differ for each individual and there are times when arthritis feels fine and other times when there are “flare ups”. This is dependent on the activity, foods and weather. Stay away from “nightshade foods” such as eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes. These are inflammatory foods and can trigger a flare up.  There are also other foods that can be inflammatory to the body in general that are not talked about but can inflame the organs, tissues and joints.  Bad carbs like wheat, rice, pasta and processed sugar all influence the bodies inflammatory response.  Low amounts of these foods could reduce inflammatory episodes.

What are the risk factors of RA?

  1. Sex (women 3x more likely to develop RA than men)
  2. Age (40-60 years)
  3. Genetics (if your parents had it, you have a high chance of getting it)
  4. Smoking

You can still lead an active life with RA. Again, stay away from inflammatory foods, keep fit and take Omega 3 (fish oil). Soft tissue work along with stretching has shown great results in my office. Realize that you may not function at 100% but you can still be active.