Water and Arthritis

Water does many things for our body. But for someone suffering from arthritis, one of the most important tasks H20 has is lubing up joints for maximum and pain-free movement. Arthritis, meaning "joint inflammation" is the general term for many sub-forms of the disease. There are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis as well as gout, but these are just a few of the about 100 forms. About 43 million Americans suffer from one form or another.

Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects a joint, allowing it to move smoothly. Without the normal amount of cartilage the bones rub together and cause pain. Symptoms of arthritis cause joint pain, swelling, stiffness, limited movement, redness of the skin around the joint, and warmth around a joint. Arthritis, as well as osteoporosis, has been linked with fluoride exposure which seems to aggravate and increase the activity of rheumatoid arthritis. It is a known fact that higher doses of fluoride ingestion can weaken bones and ligaments.

Why is Fluoride in our Tap Water?


The purpose of adding fluoride to tap water is to reduce tooth decay; however it makes more sense to just use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash for that purpose. Fluoride’s benefits are far outweighed by the health problems it can cause to the brain, thyroid gland, bones, and kidneys when swallowed. Thus, drinking fluoridated tap water has little benefits, but many risks. One way to avoid fluoride is to purchase a water filter. Some water filters do not effectively remove fluoride so it is important to purchase the right kind of filter. Thus, if you are looking for a water filter to remove fluoride or any other heavy metals make sure it uses "reverse osmosis" technology. A reverse osmosis filter installed in the home will remove more than 97% of the fluoride as well as many other contaminants in your drinking water.

How to Avoiding Skeletal Fluorosis

A more debilitating disease with similar symptoms of arthritis is skeletal fluorosis. Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease caused by excessive consumption of fluoride. Skeletal fluorosis has a number of stages. In the first two stages (preclinical), the patient feels no symptoms but changes have already taken place in the body. In the first stage, biochemical abnormalities occur in the blood and in bone composition. Symptoms include pain in the bones and joints, sensations of burning, prickling, tingling, muscle weakness, and chronic fatigue. In the second stage, the pain in the bones becomes constant and some ligaments begin to calcify. According to the National Research Council, "Crippling skeletal fluorosis might occur in people who have ingested 10-20mg of fluoride per day in 10-20 years." Common causes of fluoride exposure come from daily contact with and occasional ingestion of fluoridated toothpaste, mouthwash or tap water.

Water Can Provide Joint Pain Relief and Healing

Since arthritis pain and stiffness is a result of joints not being properly cushioned, water can help by lubricating and providing padding for these areas. Also, these symptoms are a result of increased friction between the cartilage surfaces. When the joints move, a suction pulls water from the bone marrow to the joint cavity-- if there is available water. If there is not enough water, the joints can't glide as they should. So, an increased water intake and being hydrated can keep that water supply there-- and reduce some of the pain. Lack of hydration will produce friction and shearing stress at the contact point of the joint. In the case of severe dehydration, dry cartilage may die and peel from their contact surface of the bones. Also, with gout, it can also remove uric acid and other toxins. Gout is a painful disease that is caused by deposits of uric acid crystals in the bloodstream, ending up in the joints of the body. It is characterized by pain, swelling, redness, and heat/inflammation as well as stiffness in a joint or joints. Gout is also a form of arthritis, or inflammation of the joints, and is more common for men. Water will also provide relief for people suffering from gout.

Exercise to Strengthen your Bones and Muscles

Like in osteoporosis, water exercise is also a very effective means of both reducing pain and staying in shape. When one has arthritis, they usually do not want to move their joints more than they have to. However, if staying in one place too long, the ligaments can tighten causing more pain. Regular exercise can help with flexibility and strength, as well as get the body in shape to do everyday tasks. Water exercise is a gentle way to exercise joints and muscles. Just being in the water allows the muscles to relax. The soothing heat and buoyancy of warm water make it a safe, ideal environment for relieving arthritis pain and stiffness. Also, water creates resistance which builds muscle strength. Using a spa can massage your body and help you relax tight muscles.

Living Comfortably with Arthritis

To summarize, arthritis is a disorder that can be treated and managed with proper care, nutrition and exercise. People with joint pain should make sure they are well hydrated at all times and avoid drinking fluoridated tap water as water plays a big role in healing joint pain. Exercise is also beneficial. Just because you have arthritis does not mean you must limit all movement, so go and enjoy more relaxing exercises such as walking, yoga, swimming, and golf!

Reading next