MSM & Arthritis
Can MSM help arthritis? Many health professionals believe the answer is a very definite YES!
What is Arthritis?
The term ‘arthritis’ comes from two Greek words, arthro — meaning a “joint” — and itis — meaning “inflammation.” Arthritis is associated with an inflammation of the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, neck, spine, hips and other joints of the body. There will usually be pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints.
Arthritis comes in different forms: the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a disease which affects the joints. The cartilage which normally “cushions” the end of the bones wears away, becoming thinner, the bones themselves often grow rough protrusions and, in many cases, there can be severe pain as bone rubs against bone. Tendons, ligaments and muscles around the joint weaken, causing the joint to become deformed and stiff, with associated swelling.
Osteoarthritis is often associated with the aging process and the effect of “general wear and tear.” Some people are more affected than others. Osteoarthritis is uncommon before the age of 40.
It is more common in women than in men, especially for problems with the hands and knees.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is more common than hip osteoarthritis, but taken together they affect 10–20% of people aged over 65, becoming a major cause of pain and disability in the elderly.
Osteoarthritis is sometimes associated with major injuries to the joints, for example linked to a car crash or perhaps a sports injury. Many professional footballers suffer in later years from arthritis of the knees.
It is estimated that more than 7 million adults in the UK (that’s 15% of the population) have long-term health problems due to arthritis and related conditions. Almost 9 million people in the UK (19% of the population) visited their GP in 2001 seeking help for these conditions.
About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The joints in the body become inflamed. Inflammation actually takes place within the synovium, which swells up, feels warmer, and — unfortunately — hurts. The pain arises from nerve endings which are irritated by the chemicals produced by the inflammation, coupled with the physical effect of the stretching and swelling of the joint itself.
The cartilage around the joint suffers damage, and bone surfaces are often destroyed.
The entire body can be affected by rheumatoid arthritis, resulting in fatigue, anaemia, weight loss, fever and, often, severe pain.
Inflammation normally results from the body’s immune system seeking to destroy harmful “invaders,” such as bacteria. There is no general agreement as to why the body, in a sense, “attacks itself,” causing damage and injury to the joints. In some way, the body’s immune system seems to malfunction.
Rheumatoid arthritis is much less common in the UK than osteoarthritis. A little fewer than 400,000 people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, less than 1% of the population.
In the USA, more than 50 million people suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions.
Can MSM Help?
MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane) is a nutritional supplement derived from natural organic sulphur. It has a white crystalline form, is odourless and virtually tasteless. It is one of the least toxic substances you will ever come across, somewhat similar in this respect to water.
Sulphur is a vital constituent of the human body. It is essential — not just something that is “nice to have.” It is necessary for making collagen, the primary constituent of cartilage and connective tissue. It enhances tissue pliability.
Clinical research has shown MSM to alleviate pain, reduce stiffness and swelling and improve the mobility of joints. MSM also promotes blood-flow, aiding the healing and recovery process after physical activity. Doctors report that MSM is so effective that they often are able to lower or even stop the dosages of medication they are prescribing for their patients.
Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., closely associated with the world-famous DMSO Clinic at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon, states that, “Thousands of people, young and old, with various chronic pain conditions, have come to the Portland Clinic, often as a last resort because medical treatments weren’t working, and have been helped with MSM. It was among such seriously ill people that the benefits of MSM were first observed.”
In his book, The Miracle of MSM, The Natural Solution for Pain, Dr Jacobs comments that “we know from clinical experience that (MSM) provides major pain relief through the following actions:
- - the inhibition of pain impulses along nerve fibers
- lessening of inflammation
- increasing of blood supply
- reduction of muscle spasm
- softening of scar tissue”
MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and so assists in reducing pain. It can be helpful, not only for arthritis, but also for other problem aches and pains such as tendonitis, bursitis, backache and similar.
As a nutritional supplement, take between 2 grams to 10 grams a day.
In addition to its benefits in assisting with pain relief, and keeping joints flexible, sulphur helps in “detoxing” the body, and has been used to help asthma; ear, nose and throat infections; hay fever, and fatigue and gastrointestinal problems.