Please Explain: Arthritis

Friday, March 28, 2014

More than 40 million Americans have arthritis, and it's the leading cause of disability for people who are 65 and older. Almost everyone over 70 has some form of arthritis, but it can affect much younger people too. Dr. Clark Smith, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, explains what causes arthritis and how to treat it.


Dr. Clark Smith

Comments [30]

Bonnie Weller from Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Dear hjs11211,
Regarding your comment about gluten: Ingestion of gluten and its possible connection to arthritis was in reference to osteoarthritis although my friend has rheumatoid arthritis and I have seen her finger joints swollen much worse than mine. I have Celiac in my family. I don't have Celiac but do have gluten intolerance. Celiac allows calcification to be built up here there and everywhere. When I cut gluten down to nil, I notice my joints swell less, so I'm happy to read your comment and wonder if research taking place to investigate the connection I feel and, it seems, you allude to have a potential connection.

Jan. 01 2015 12:52 PM
Nils from New Jersey

My 14-year old son was diagnosed with JIA two years ago. We have tried diet modifications (gluten free, diary free- neither worked). He is under the care of a top pediatric rheumatologist her in NJ. Has been through Embrel, Humira, and is now on bi-monthly IV (in hospital) Actemra treatment. Nothing REALLY is working. He gets frequent knee "blow-ups" which necessitate draining and steroid injections. It's heartbraking to see him sit out basketball and soccer and limp around like an 80-year old man. We're thinking of bailing on all this medication and trying a more holistic route. Anyone out there have better results with their children?

Mar. 28 2014 03:14 PM
tom LI

Bettina - the climate in AZ is not what it once was. Sure its still hot, etc, but due to influx of non-native species, and the incessant watering of golf course, lawns, etc...the place is getting more humid.

Also most people moved to AZ for respiratory/allergen issues, that due to what I mentioned, is no longer applicable.

Try New Mexico! Its like AZ was 30-40 years ago!

Mar. 28 2014 02:10 PM

What was the Dr's name ( Dr Karen something) that a listener said had a formula for arthritis?

Mar. 28 2014 02:06 PM
tom LI

Malena - not sure tnats the Doc area of expertise.

BUT - any digestive issues can be fixed with the right diet. One thing to be wary re; the Paleo, Caveman diets is, 1, they are based on the false premise that humans stopped evolving thousands of years ago, we have not!, 2. from experience I can tell you these diets are extremely expensive over the long term (or short if your income is limited, or the resources are not readily available for you.)

But the fact and science is simple, Diet will fix ALL digestive problems.

Mar. 28 2014 02:02 PM
Joe from nearby

Excellent segment- thank you, Dr Smith!

Mar. 28 2014 01:59 PM
tom LI

to sanych- sounds like it could be psychological...and that she's seeking your invitation to move south to be with she more likes being with you then back in NY.

Also have her keep track of the barometric pressure on her worst days, then when she's visiting. If they match, then it is in her head, which is causing her body to be in pain.

Read some books by Dr Sarno. Mind Body Connection.

Mar. 28 2014 01:58 PM
Gail Gomez from Bayport, LI

I have arthritis in my neck as diagnosed by my orthopedic surgeon. It is the result of an accident i had in my 20s. It did not become chronic until my 50s. I was prescribed celebrex which I could not tolerate, went through periods of physical therapy and lived on alot of ibuprofen for 10 years. I am now 63. I have been practicing Bikram Hot Yoga for two years now and have found relief. I am 90% pain free and have regained most of my mobility.

Mar. 28 2014 01:58 PM
Bettina from Manhattan

I remember as a child that relatives moved to Arizona for the dry air and warmth as a solution to arthritic pain, is there any validity to that.

A friend of mine needed extensive oral treatment, teeth replaced, etc. He complained constantly of joint pain. When the oral work was done he said the pain had magically disappeared.... is there a connection??

Mar. 28 2014 01:55 PM
Bonnie Weller from Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Has there been any proven connection between Celiac and or gluten intolerance and the buildup of calcium (?) around joints that feels like arthritis?

Mar. 28 2014 01:54 PM
Liz from Manhattan

Can you touch upon the latest research on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis? My daughter was diagnosed at 18 months of age. After her diagnosis, I was surprised to learn that over 300,000 children suffer from juvenile arthritis or an arthritis related disease in the US.

Mar. 28 2014 01:54 PM
Dianna M from Chelsea, NY

As anyone who has Rheumatoid Arthritis will tell you, when you mention to someone that you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, the response is most often, “Oh, my Aunt Tillie had arthritis in her knee”.
People NEVER hear the “Rheumatoid” part.
Those of us who suffer from this debilitating autoimmune condition not only don’t get respect, but very little sympathy. Most of us in this community would like to see the name of the condition changed. How about Rhupus?

Mar. 28 2014 01:53 PM
ivan obregon from manhattan

what does the doctor know about the under-publicized reparagen collagen product sold at CVS? The National Institute of Health has stated that this product ( a combo of cat's claw and maca) actually increases and stimulates collagen production in the joints in as few as one to - two weeks....

Mar. 28 2014 01:52 PM

What of the preventative and treatment capabilities of massage and chiropractic work?

Mar. 28 2014 01:52 PM
tom LI

Please ask about the recent studies showing detrimental side-affects of the fish oil supplements taken for the Omega's...?

Also what is going when I stop exercising (I'm very, very active at work and pleasure) and after a few days I experience more joint pain, if I'm not exercising.

Mar. 28 2014 01:51 PM
joan from mamaroneck ny

Is Stenois a form of arthrites.

Mar. 28 2014 01:51 PM
Malena from Glen Cove

I'd love to know what he thinks about the Leaky Gut syndrome and the movement towards putting the disease into remission using diet...specifically the Autoimmune Protocol (a version of the Paleo diet).

Mar. 28 2014 01:49 PM

I am an active 56 year old with Palindromic Rheumatism and for the last few years I have used biologics to control the disease. Methotrexate was only partially effective. Any idea where this disease will lead in the future?

Mar. 28 2014 01:49 PM
Liz from Westchester

Has chemotherapy been found to cause, contribute to or exacerbate osteoarthritis? Had breast cancer and
after treatment developed arthritis all over.

Mar. 28 2014 01:49 PM
Shoshana from Scarsdale, NY

Question for Dr Smith:
HI. What is your impression of PRP: platelet rich plasma, injection? re pain improvement and the arrest of further arthritis?

Mar. 28 2014 01:45 PM

My mother claims her arthritis disappears when she comes to Florida, and she suffers from it in New York even during summer.


Mar. 28 2014 01:44 PM

Worsening osteoarthritis (probably accelerated by some bad falls) led to replacement of both hips...with wonderful results. How do I protect other joints, especially my knees, from developing osteoarthritis? Does arthritis in one joint predispose other joints to problems?

Mar. 28 2014 01:42 PM
Jean Schneider

Question: Are there concrete preventive measures to take in an effort to stave off arthritis?

Mar. 28 2014 01:42 PM

Question: Considering the high risk for cancer associated with new drugs used to treat arthritis, Do you think the benefits compensate the risks?

Mar. 28 2014 01:41 PM
Sher from lower Manhattan

Please ask him about the oft-advised Glucosamine and Chondroitin ??!

Mar. 28 2014 01:40 PM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

Someone I am close to suffered from all sorts of arthritis like pain, joints and particularly neck and shoulder pain. There were all sorts of tests over the years, MRI's, X-ray's etc. There was a diagnosis of stenosis as being part of the problem.

Never did any of the medical professionals consider or discuss the issue of diet.

The individual was a high sugar consumer. After a number of years they cut back their sugar consumption to near zero. All the pain essentially ceased. There wasn't any weight change, it was just the absence of sugar.

Then, researching I read a lot about sugar being very inflammatory. So sugar?

Mar. 28 2014 01:35 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm amazed that there's fossil evidence of arthritis in dinosaurs! Is osteoarthritis the only kind that can be detected in fossils?

Mar. 28 2014 01:32 PM
Berkley from Manhattan

I cracked my jnuckles as a kid and my parents and a family friend told me I was going to develop severe arthritis later in life. I don't do this any more. Any truth to this or were they just trying to scare me?

Mar. 28 2014 01:32 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Question: Are there as yet any good theories as to what causes arthritis and hence if there are any possible "cures?" I know that while symptoms can be ameliorated by proper diet and exercise and all of that, but are we anywhere near really understanding it?

Mar. 28 2014 12:30 PM

I was pleased and surprised when my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms vanished after I stopped ending gluten.
Sometimes the simplest answer is best one.

Mar. 28 2014 12:14 PM

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