Eczema is an inflammation of the skin frequently seen in association with allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever. The parts affected by eczema, develop lesions which will often appear as patches, blisters and/or scratches. The vicinities affected by eczema are very itchy and uncomfortable. The affected areas may become abnormally thick. Thickening of the skin can be brought through trauma to the patches from scratching and rubbing. The affected spots will be typically dry in comparison to unaffected areas. The face, elbows, behind the knees, wrists are more likely to develop eczema than other body parts.
One of the major causes of eczema is the imbalance in a person’s immune function and is probably a form of response to the environmental substances such as dust, pollution, yeast, cosmetic products, chemicals such as: detergents, oils, greases, solvents at home or in the work place. In addition, stress can cause a depletion of certain body nutrients (vitamins and minerals), which ultimately leads to a sensitivity towards eczema.
Corticoid creams containing hydrocortisone are the most common conventional treatment for eczema. Hydrocortisone is similar to a natural hormone secreted by adrenal gland, which controls the inflammation process and actively participates in the ionic body balance. The hydrocortisone creams are effective for reducing inflammation, swelling, redness and itching thereby allowing the affected area to heal. In spite of temporarily reducing the effects of eczema, these creams can lead to skin thinning and damaging. At high doses or at low doses for extended time the hydrocortisone can accumulate through the body and induce metabolic changes in salt and water balance, potassium and calcium balance and increases the blood sugar level. The reasons for accumulation are multiple. One important cause is the competition between the naturally secreted hormone and the topical hydrocortisone for the same receptors, which can raise the uncoupled hormone level. Another important cause is the steroid structure of the hormone, which makes elimination through the kidney difficult. The corticosteroid creams have to be used with a low dose of hormone and for short period of time as sometimes indicated on the label. On the other hand, sudden discontinuation of the corticosteroid cream can lead to the worsening of the eczema.
Herbal therapy is a mild but long lasting alternative for eczema treatment. Many herbs are known for their beneficial qualities in the treatment of eczema such as: Burdock, Calendula, St. John Wort, Chamomile, Chickweed, Yarrow, Nettle, Licorice. They can be used as teas, tinctures or for topical treatment.
Since eczema is a complex skin disease one single herb is not enough to relieve the symptoms of the eczema or eradicate the disease. A complex mixture of beneficial herbs is more likely to succeed in the treatment.
The antioxidant therapy has been successfully used in the prevention and treatment of different skin diseases, which usually are characterized by a high percentage of free radicals at the site of the affected areas. A good example of natural antioxidants is Sea Buckthorn and Grape seed oils. They contain a wide range of antioxidants such as vitamin E, A, C, selenium, beta carotene, anthocyanidins, which can be beneficial in the case of eczema and other skin disorders.
In conclusion: Natural alternative may be longer than the conventional solution for eczema treatment but much safer for the skin and health in general.
Some are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – some are OTCs/some require a prescription, acetaminophen and various topical medications, covered in the very next section. Users need to be aware of possible risk from long term use or product abuse, though, and consult their medical advisors before and during use.
The most common OTC NSAIDs are ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. However, the misuse of some of these can cause blockage of an enzyme in the body that aids in the protection of the stomach lining and other areas. Misuse can lead to stomach ulcers and bleeding, and liver and kidney trouble. (The same drug abuse issues can result from prescription NSAIDs, too). Use the right way, these drugs can help with pain relief, inflammation and fever reduction, and blood clot prevention.
Acetaminophen is the name of the active ingredient found in several well-known brand-name products; some Excedrin® products, Tylenol®, and Aspirin Free Anacin®. Although it does not help with arthritic inflammation and swelling, it can help with pain relief in mild cases. Use caution with dosages, however. Excess usage poses risk of liver damage, even death, especially for active drinkers (of alcoholic beverages).
If your arthritis pain is mild and only affects on or two joints, you may find that a topical pain reliever or topical analgesic can be useful. Topical painkillers are available as creams, salves or gels. The active ingredients of topical painkillers include: Capsaicin. Found naturally in hot peppers, capsaicin is found in drug stores under the brand names of Capzasin-P, Zostrix, and other drugs. Capsaicin works by blocking the transmission of a pain-relaying substance called substance P to the brain.
Camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol are found in a variety of agents such as Arthricare, Eucalyptamint and Icy Hot amongst others. These substances are able to relieve pain by tricking the body to feel the coolness or heat of these agents.
Salicylates is a substance available in Aspercreme, BenGay, and Flexall. Salicylates work by decreasing pain and inflammation
The importance of relaxation in controlling and treating disease in general has only recently been recognized throughout the medical industry, yet its implementation still lags and the general public does still not understand its effectiveness. Relaxation techniques, especially those involving meditation, have been seen as a bunch of “mumbo jumbo” for many years, until the findings of scientists and doctors that showed immense benefits to this practice became more prevalent. Relaxation techniques have a definite place in the healing process of the body, and with arthritis the case is no different.
With certain types of arthritis, the importance of relaxation is increased, since stress and emotional disposition play a large part in them. Prayer is a form of relaxation and meditation if you are spiritually or religiously inclined that also works wonders. Either following a minister or someone else leading prayer, or formulating your own inspirational prayer, you can pull upon the comfort of God as you see him taking your pain away. Again mental and physical benefits are realized from such a practice.
You may also consider hypnosis as an option. Hypnosis is simply a guided meditation that allows you to access the power of your subconscious mind through a guide called a hypnotist, who is either a trained psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or social worker. Images of a man with a shiny gold stopwatch putting you under a trance to make you perform unusual acts or tell deep dark truths are more the scripts of Hollywood movies than what real-life hypnotism is. In the case of hypnosis for pain management, hypnosis is nothing more than an assisted guided imagery, such as described above. The only difference here is that you have someone to help you through the steps of relaxation and meditation on your image.
Relaxation is especially effective for those suffering from fibromyalgia, because this condition is caused by a number of non-physical triggers. Fibromyalgia largely comes from stress, lack of proper sleep, depression, and other emotional duress, and does not involve degeneration of the bones or joints. With this in mind, it is easy to see why relaxation techniques help alleviate this condition so well. Yoga is very beneficial both for flexibility as well as relaxation. Forms of yoga such as Bhakta are devotional, and Raja is meditation-oriented. They can provide a great deal of healing toward all types of arthritis, but specifically fibromyalgia because of the emotional causes.