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Symptoms and Causes of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread muscle pain, tenderness, fatigue, altered sleep, as well as mood and memory issues. This is a very complex disease that has no cure and can last a lifetime. This condition peaks for those entering their 50s and offers numerous symptoms due to implications of aging. Since this disease can affect patients so differently and is often mistaken for other signs of aging, it is commonly undiagnosed in the senior community. Opioids, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants are the typical treatment for alleviating the painful symptoms.

Symptoms and Causes of Gout

Gout is another very common form of arthritis that targets seniors who live a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor diet. Pain and inflammation are caused when too much uric acid crystallizes and deposits in the joints. Severe pain, swelling, and redness are symptoms of this condition, typically in the big toe. Unlike other forms of arthritis, gout can be treated and cured with anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and self-care that includes lifestyle changes.

Symptoms and Causes of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is actually the most common form of arthritis– this condition occurs when the protective cartilage on both ends of your bones slowly wears down over time. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your body, but the most common joints affected are the hands, knees, hips, and spin. Also referred to as the degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is uncurable and causes chronic joint pain for numerous years or lifetime. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, dietary supplements, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery are offered as treatment in order to reduce painful symptoms and maintain joint movement.

Symptoms and Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is classified as a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects numerous joints, including the hands and feet. This condition is caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissue. In severe cases, rheumatoid arthritis can even attack the internal organs. By affecting the joint linings, this disorder causes painful swelling. Those that suffer from this disease long-term can experience bone erosion and joint deformity. This incurable condition requires anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, immunosuppressive drugs, and steroids to slow it down.

Symptoms and Causes of Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a specific form of arthritis that affects some patients with psoriasis. Characterized by inflammation as well, psoriatic arthritis is highly common among older adults. Symptoms of this joint condition include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Like other forms of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis can’t be cured and is a chronic condition that can last a lifetime. Treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and sometimes joint replacement surgery.

Different Forms of Arthritis and How it Affects 40 Million Americans

Arthritis is a common, chronic joint disorder that affects 350 million people worldwide. Here in the United States, 40 million men, women, and children suffer from this condition. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one-third of adults with arthritis report that this joint disorder limits their work and leisure activities. 25% of adults suffering from arthritis have also reported severe, chronic pain at a seven or higher on a scale of zero to 10.

Common symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited joint function. Arthritis is defined as the inflammation of the joints which in turn causes joint stiffness, redness, swelling, and tenderness. There are actually more than 100 different forms of arthritis and related conditions. The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout. All of these different forms of arthritis can affect various body parts and cause pain differently.

More than 21 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis while approximately 2.1 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis. This is a significant condition among the senior community– 49.6% of adults over the age of 65 report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. According to the Center for Disease Control, the risk of arthritis increases with age and obesity and is more common among women than men.

The Common Denominator Among All Forms of Arthritis

With over 100 different forms of arthritis that are caused differently and affect patients in various ways, there are two common denominators: inflammation and pain. Regardless of what type of arthritis you suffer from, inflammation is the culprit that causes severe pain, chronic discomfort, and the various attacks experienced. All of the treatment plans for arthritis include some form of over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever and even opioids for more severe cases.

The Problem with Long-Term Anti-Inflammatory Drug and Opioid Use

There is a common misconception that over-the-counter medication is safe. While this may true if you only occasionally use these drugs, there are long-term issues and side effects patients need to be aware of. The long-term use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs is most common by older adults due to their arthritis treatment plan suggested by doctors. According to the US National Library of Medicine, studies of older adults show that the chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increases the risk of peptic ulcer disease, acute renal failure, and stroke/myocardial infarction. The chronic use of these anti-inflammatory drugs can actually exacerbate numerous chronic disease including hypertension and heart failure while interacting with the prescription drugs required for these conditions. This presents a significant issue for older adults who inherently suffer from more chronic conditions while also requiring pain relief from arthritic conditions.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, nearly 4 million seniors take opioids regularly. New reports on hospital use for opioid use disorders and opioid-related adverse events have indicated that opioid-related hospitalizations increased more than 50%. Seniors suffered from 125,000 hospitalizations from misuse or adverse reactions from opioids last year. With addiction and misuse at an all-time high, seniors are highly vulnerable due to the adverse effects of opioids. The opioid crisis is affecting the senior community more and more, making it crucial to find pain management alternatives.

CBD for Arthritis

Since the majority of arthritis is incurable and the only treatments available are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids to help manage the symptoms, finding alternatives is pertinent to helping older adults not deteriorate their health even further. With so many serious side effects and health implications caused by the chronic use of these pharmaceuticals, finding a natural alternative is highly significant.

Cannabidiol, CBD, is a naturally-occurring, nonpsychoactive compound that’s found within both hemp and marijuana plants. Hemp-derived CBD is legal across all 50 states and more importantly, has been the center of numerous recent medical breakthroughs. Our body actually produces endocannabinoids which are mirrored by the same chemical properties discovered in CBD. By introducing CBD to your body, it interacts directly with our biochemical signaling system called the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for numerous physiological functions including pain and inflammation. This network of neurons are found throughout all major systems of your biology and are the only neurons with a built-in retrograde signaling system. This is significant since once CBD is administered and interacts with our receptors, this mechanism is triggered to inherently lower inflammation and pain. CBD is the best alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids because there are no adverse long-term effects and it is completely non-habit forming.

With CBD, some patients experience minor, temporary symptoms of headaches, diarrhea, and fatigue. There has been a multitude of different preclinical studies showcasing the promising treatment of arthritis with CBD. Many patients have reported significant pain alleviation and reduced inflammation when taking CBD. The renowned pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD make it a very encouraging candidate for replacing anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids.

Taking CBD and Other Medications

Unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, CBD won’t exasperate other chronic conditions. Many preclinical studies have actually shown that CBD is a viable preventative for cardiovascular conditions, hypertension, and many other chronic conditions that affect older adults.

However, CBD is similar to grapefruit. CBD may potentially interact with some pharmaceuticals by inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450, a family of liver enzymes. According to Project CBD, CBD may increase or decrease the effects of pharmaceutical drugs. We recommend taking CBD with at least a few hours window from other prescription medication. As always, the best practice is talking to your healthcare professional in order to determine the best timing and dosage of CBD in order to ensure your other medications aren’t interfered with.

For more information regarding CBD for arthritis, please contact us!

Scientific Research Regarding CBD and Arthritis:

Preliminary assessment of the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex) in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16282192

The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10920191

Involvement of the endocannabinoid system in osteoarthritis pain: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24494687

The abnormal cannabidiol analogue O-1602 nociception in a rat model of acute arthritis via the putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21683763

Attentuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28885454

CBD for Fibromyalgia and Opioid Withdrawal: https://www.projectcbd.org/science/patient-experience-surveys/cbd-fibromyalgia-and-opioid-withdrawal

Cannabinoids for Fibromyalgia: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27428009

For more information regarding CBD for arthritis, please contact us!

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