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Arthritis is very common. It is a major cause of lost work time and can cause serious disability.

There is more than one type of arthritis with osteoarthritis being the most common form. This condition is due to wear and tear in the joints and is more common in people over 50. It is very painful in the weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. Cartilage wears away on the bone ends causing pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis may develop after an injury such as bone fracture or a joint dislocation.

Rheumatoid arthritis is due to inflammation or swelling of the joint lining which damages the joint. It can occur at any age and in more than one joint. This is caused by underlying rheumatic disease and is common in the hands and feet.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks itself. The pattern of joints affected is usually symmetrical, involves the hands and other joints and is worse in the morning. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a systemic disease, involving other body organs, whereas osteoarthritis is limited to the joints. Over time, both forms of arthritis can be crippling.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disease which initially attacks the synovium, a connective tissue membrane that lines the cavity between joints and secretes a lubricating fluid.

The affect of rheumatoid arthritis can progress to the degree that it is crippling. Deformities distinctive to late-stage rheumatoid arthritis such as ulnar deviation of the bones of the hands, or swan-neck deviation of the fingers occur because muscles and tendons on one side of the joint may overpower those on the other side, pulling the bones out of alignment

Osteoarthritisis a chronic disease causing deterioration of the joint cartilage (the softer parts of bones, which cushion their connections to each other) and the formation of new bone (bone spurs) at the margins of the joints.



Fibro-myalgia, sometimes known as Fibro-myalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a chronic condition associated with muscle pain (aching) all over the body, stiffness and tiredness. Pain occurs often in the neck, shoulders, upper back and hips. Often patients have very interrupted sleep.

Much is still unknown about the condition, which can be associated with psychological stress, and may be accompanied by depression. The condition can be managed but there is no cure. It is more common in women then men. Treatment regimes include exercise, physiotherapy and treatment for psychological symptoms.  

Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Tendons are the thick fibrous cords that attach muscles to bone. They transmit the power generated by a muscle contraction to move a bone.

Bursitis is inflammation or irritation of a bursa. Bursae (the pleural of bursa) are small sacs located between moving structures such as bones, muscles, skin and tendons. The bursa acts as a cushion to allow smooth gliding between these structures. More Information

Sciatica and the sciatic nerve
Sciatica commonly refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve and is typically felt in the rear, down the back of the leg and possibly to the foot. Sciatica is one of the most common forms of pain caused by compression of the spinal nerves, and the leg pain often feels much worse than the back pain. 

Sciatica is actually a symptom and not a diagnosis. The term literally means that a patient has pain down the leg from compression on the sciatic nerve. The diagnosis is what is causing the compression (such as a disc herniation).
The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the human body; it runs from each side of the lower spine through deep in the rear and back of the thigh, and all the way down to foot, connecting the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles.

Sciatica pain can result when the nerve roots in the lower spine are irritated or compressed. Most often, sciatica pain is caused when the L5 or S1 nerve root in the lower spine is irritated by a herniated disc. When this happens, pain radiates into the rear and back of the thigh and calf, and occasionally may extend down to the foot. Numbness, tingling, and/or a burning or prickling sensation are also common symptoms.

Degenerative disc disease may also irritate the nerve root and cause sciatica, while conditions that mimic sciatica include piriformis syndrome and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Sciatica may also be felt if the nerve is actually mechanically compressed, such as from spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, or arthritis in the spine.
Most cases of sciatica are caused by a simple irritation to the nerve and will get better with time and conservative care. However, some sciatica symptoms may indicate a potentially serious injury to the sciatic nerve:

Since both tendons and bursae are located near joints, inflammation in these soft tissues will often be perceived by patients as joint pain and mistaken for arthritis. Symptoms of bursitis and tendonitis are similar: pain and stiffness aggravated by movement. Pain may be prominent at night or after use. Almost any tendon or bursa in the body can be affected, but those located around a joint are affected most often. Tendonitis and bursitis are usually temporary conditions, but may become recurrent or chronic problems. Unlike arthritis, they do not cause deformity, but can cause significant pain and restrain motion.

Back pain is very common. Most people will at some point in their lives suffer from back pain. Back pain is responsible for many millions of lost working days every year in the UK.
Acute back pain usually lasts a few weeks and is often eased by pain killers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol from the chemist. People recover more quickly if they keep active and avoid bed rest.
Only one in 100 people with low back pain have a serious disease. Your doctor will be able to decide if you might have a serious problem by interviewing and examining you. At most, only one in 50 people will need an x-ray or scan.

Neck pain is a common condition. It may develop after sitting in a draught or following a minor twisting injury. This pain is usually muscular and goes in a few days.
Chronic neck pain is common and affects about 10% of the population . The pain is associated with stiffness in the neck, which may spread to the shoulders. The pain may spread down the arm. There may also be numbness and tingling in the arm. The pain may spread to the head.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
(CRPS) is a chronic pain condition, which develops after an injury, and continues after the injury has healed. The underlying cause of the condition is unknown.
CRPS I was previously called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). The condition is associated with an injury, such as a bone fracture, or surgery to an arm or leg.
CRPS II, was previously called causalgia. This condition is associated with an injury, to a nerve.
Symptoms of CRPS include pain, stiffness, skin sensitivity, sudden changes in colour, warmth, and sweating, changes in skin and hair growth, swelling and tremors.


The joints of your body are supported by ligaments - strong bands of connective tissue that connect one bone to another. A sprain is a simple stretch or tear of the ligaments. 
The areas of your body that are most vulnerable to sprains are your ankles, knees and wrist. A sprained ankle can occur when your foot turns inward. This can put extreme tension on the ligaments of your outer ankle and cause a sprain. A sprained knee can be the result of a sudden twist. Wrist sprains most often occur when you fall on an outstretched hand.

Your bones are supported by a combination of muscles and tendons. Tendons connect muscles to bones. A strain is the result of an injury to either a muscle or a tendon, usually in your foot or leg. The strain may be a simple stretch in your muscle or tendon, or it may be a partial or complete tear in the muscle-and-tendon combination.
The recommended treatment for a strain is the same as for a sprain-rest, ice, compression and elevation. This should be followed by simple exercises to relieve pain and restore mobility. For a serious tear, you may need surgical repair.  


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