Beyond drugs: Better alternatives for arthritis sufferers

Arthritis sufferers not only feel pain, but they can also lose critical physical abilities and independence, as well as jobs. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is clearly a serious health problem. Nearly 70 million people in America suffer from some type of arthritis-related condition, and it is second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability.

“Arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking, dressing and bathing for more than 7 million people,” according to Tom Brandt, president of Jemarkel, a company that offers some innovative solutions for people suffering from the disease. Since we are living longer as a society, the number of people with arthritis is bound to increase. Should we be concerned? No doubt, but there is hope.

Many people believe they don’t need to worry about the effects of arthritis, because it is an “old person’s disease.” This is a myth. While it may be true that arthritis is more prevalent in the elderly, the symptoms of arthritis typically begin long before we receive our senior citizen discount cards. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly two-thirds of the people with arthritis are younger than 65 years old. Furthermore, arthritis affects people of all age groups, including nearly 300,000 children.

Many people believe that drugs alone will take care of their arthritis problems. This is a myth. If you are a user of popular arthritis drugs, you know firsthand that prescription drugs are not the magic bullets many thought they were, and come with their own set of risks, costs, complications and undesirable side effects.

Many people also believe that exercise will not prevent or help with the symptoms of arthritis. This is also a myth. Even a moderate exercise routine can do a lot to prevent, alleviate or improve the pain and disabling effects of arthritis in men and women of all ages. A well-balanced routine of nerve gliding, stretching and strengthening exercises can reduce joint pain and stiffness, as well as improve flexibility, dexterity, strength and endurance in our arms, wrists, hands, fingers and thumbs. Exercise also increases the flow of oxygen-enriched blood to the tissues of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, which is critical to both healing and ongoing health.

Jemarkel Health-Tech ( or 800-600-0057) manufactures the innovative Wristiciser and the NerveGlider—specially designed devices to allow easy, convenient and controlled exercise of the entire upper extremity, including the arms, hands, fingers and thumbs. According to Brandt, “Therapists across the world use targeted nerve gliding, stretching and strengthening exercises to alleviate the disabling effects of many upper extremity disorders, including tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.”

According to Molly Opperman, a recent sufferer of arthritis: “I was an arthritis sufferer. The pain and stiffness in both of my wrists, hands and fingers had been terrible—at least until I found the Wristiciser and began doing the nerve gliding, stretching and strengthening exercises. In no time at all after using it, my hands were feeling better. I use it every day. I even take it with me when I travel to make sure I’ll keep myself pain-free all the time.”

So if your hands are stiffening up, or you simply can’t do some of the things you used to do with your hands, discard the myths of arthritis. Arthritis is a big deal and is a serious disease. Arthritis does affect the young and middle-aged, as well as the elderly. Drugs are not risk-free magic bullets in the treatment of arthritis. And there is a lot you can do to improve, prevent, and/or delay the disabling effects of arthritis—starting with well-balanced and controlled nerve gliding, stretching and strengthening exercises.

For more information, contact Jemarkel Health-Tech at (800) 600-0057.

From the June 7-13, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!