Sopranos star Aida Turturro
Stars Speak out about Their Painful Battles with Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that causes pain throughout the body, muscle stiffness, limited motion, fatigue, and a variety of other symptoms. A slew of celebrities have revealed their struggles with this debilitating disorder, including Sopranos star Aida Turturro, actress Kathleen Turner and the late Oscar-winning actor James Coburn, in an effort to promote awareness of the condition.
In 1999, James Coburn, then 70, told the press that he had “cured” himself of RA — after having given up on standard treatments — through a combination of a diet rich in MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), deep tissue massage, and electromagnetic treatments. The world was stunned. Sales of MSM tripled.
Could such alternative therapies work for other RA sufferers too?
Here’s what we know about the treatments Coburn tried:
An organic sulfur commonly found in many raw foods including fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, milk and grains. It is destroyed when these foods become processed. Coburn was likely taking MSM as a dietary supplement, however, which is derived from a raw material called DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide). While using MSM, arthritis patients have reported that their pain was significantly reduced. MSM has also offered an improvement to those with other autoimmune diseases, including osteoporosis and fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, Stanley Jacob, MD, who developed MSM, affirms that it is “not a cure” for such conditions. The long term benefits and safety of using MSM as a dietary supplement have not been studied.
Deep Tissue Massage
This type of massage is often used on those who have suffered injury or damage to the joints, allowing for massage on the deepest layers of muscle. It can ease the inflammation, pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis. Deep tissue massage may also help the patient to regain lost strength. This type of treatment allows for a close connection between the patient and practitioner, who can generate a program that’s best for the individual’s needs. Initially, deep tissue massage can cause soreness, but this should go away within a day or two.
Some believe that electric stimulation of the body may help it repair bone and cartilage; however this form of therapy is only currently approved by the FDA in limited forms and through clinical trials, which are being run for a variety of autoimmune disorders, including RA. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units, for instance, are electrical stimulator devices that can deliver small electric currents of 0.0 to 12.0 volts to the patient’s affected areas as a non-surgical option for the relief of stiffness and pain.
Where’s the Cure?
While the so-called experts continue to protect themselves by refusing to call these natural solutions as “cures”, many others agree that sulfur deficiency is a common link between RA and other auto immune and neurological conditions. So, obviously, supplementing this mineral (MSM) and building immunity can greatly reduce aches and pains. Could the cure surface as mineral supplementation and immunity building?
You’re welcome to share your experiences.
Adrienne writes for special-interest magazines and has worked on the production of women’s lifestyle channels at AOL as well as at E! Entertainment Television. She graduated from CUNY Baruch, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper The Ticker.