Arthritis, joint, bone & muscle
01 Apr 2010
Blackmores Naturopath

Blackmores

Osteoarthritis

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The term arthritis means inflammation of a joint or joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.

Symptoms

Osteoarthritis is characterised by joint pain, stiffness (especially after periods of rest), swelling and tenderness. The affected joints may also have a diminished range of motion.
 
The symptoms may interfere with the sufferer’s ability to participate in the basic activities of daily living, such as walking around and using household utensils.

Osteoarthritis develops slowly  and is most common in older people , but is also seen in the young.

Bony growths or spurs may develop on the margins of affected joints. There may be audible cracking or grating noises when the joint moves.

Causes

Osteoarthritis is associated with loss of the cartilage in a joint.

Risk factors include getting older, being overweight or obese, a history of injury or trauma to the affected joint, and participation in sports or occupations that involve repetitive stress to the affected joint   . For example, osteoarthritis of the knee commonly occurs in people whose occupations involve kneeling or squatting.

Natural therapies

  • Glucosamine is the major building block of aggrecan, the compound that’s responsible for the resilience and shock-absorbing properties of cartilage. Glucosamine helps reduce cartilage wear in osteoarthritis and decreases the progressive deterioration of the joints. 
  • In osteoarthritis, glucosamine has been shown to improve joint function. It reduces symptoms of pain, swelling and joint inflammation.
  • Chondroitin sulfate plays an important role in the lubrication and nutrition of the joint and aids in the manufacture of glycosaminoglycans, which are key structural components of cartilage. In particular, chondroitin sulfate helps cartilage to resist compressive loads (such as may be involved in weight-bearing exercises such as running). Additionally, it may help to protect cartilage from deterioration by inhibiting enzymes involved in cartilage breakdown. 

Diet and lifestyle

  • If you suspect you’re suffering from arthritis, prompt diagnosis will determine the type, and therefore, the right form of treatment and most appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle. Talk to your doctor for more information.
  • Include plenty of omega-3 oils in your diet in order to take advantage of their anti-inflammatory properties. Good sources include fish (and fish oil capsules), ground flaxseeds also called linseeds (and flaxseed oil capsules), canola oil, and walnuts.
  • Being overweight has a negative effect on your joints, forcing them to bear a greater load. Work with your healthcare professional to devise a diet and exercise regime that allows you to achieve a healthy body weight without aggravating your arthritis.
  • Exercise is important for osteoarthritis sufferers and helps to improve mobility, flexibility, posture, muscle strength and balance, while also aiding the management of symptoms such as stress, pain and fatigue. Aim for a combination of activities that improve your flexibility, increase your muscle strength, and support your aerobic fitness.
  • Low impact forms of exercise such as swimming, walking, aquarobics, weight lifting and cycling may be particularly beneficial.
  • Don’t start a new exercise programme without first talking to your healthcare professional. Your physiotherapist or exercise physiologist may prescribe specific exercises that are tailored to your personal needs.
  • Don’t overdo it. Continuing to experience joint pain two hours after you’ve finished exercising is an indication that next time you need to take things more easily.
  • Stop your exercise session if it causes excessive or unusual pain.
  • Skeletal misalignments may aggravate arthritis by increasing the pressure on your joints, so treatment from a chiropractor or osteopath may be beneficial for you, and in some cases orthotic insoles may also be helpful.
  • Ask your doctor or occupational therapist about specialised household gadgets that have been adapted for ease of use by patients with arthritis.

Exercise is important in both the prevention and treatment of arthritis . It improves muscle strength and maintains mobility.

Overweight and obesity also affect the weight bearing joints, which become irritated and stressed by having to carry too much of a load.

Correct posture is also important in avoiding body weight to be distributed unevenly.

Important notes

  • Symptoms that appear to be arthritis may actually be indicative of other underlying health problems, so it’s important that you see your healthcare professional for a diagnosis.
  • In severe cases of osteoarthritis, joint replacement surgery may be necessary.

Get free personalised advice from our team of qualified naturopaths here

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please suggest a remedy for uric acid
Anonymous
Anonymous 24 Feb 2014
Dear Rose,
I am sorry to hear you have osteoarthritis and gout, it must be very painful. Nevertheless, there are many other natural solutions that may be of assistance to you.
Firstly, I would suggest you try the following:
Limit your alcohol. Evidence suggests that beer may be particularly likely to increase the risk of gout symptoms.
Eat a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk products.
Get your protein from low-fat dairy products as low-fat dairy products may have a protective effect against gout, so these are your best-bet protein sources.
Limit your intake of animal proteins. Avoiding your intake of high-purine foods, such as organ meats, herring, anchovies and mackerel. Red meat (beef, pork and lamb), fatty fish and seafood (tuna, prawn, lobster and scallops). Animal proteins are high in purine which increases your risk of gout. Certain foods can assist in lowering uric acid levels, those include: vitamin C supplements may reduce the levels of uric acid in your blood. However, vitamin C hasn't been studied as a treatment for gout. However, taking vitamin C in large doses may increase your body's uric acid levels so having the recommended dosage is your best-bet.
Eating more cherries and other dark-colored fruits have been associated with lowering levels of uric acid.
Krill oil does have an anti-inflammatory action which may be of assistance to treat your osteoarthritis. Here is an article that explains how fish oil can help with arthritis: www.blackmores.com.au/.../cod-liver-oil-continues-to-offer-relief-for-those-suffering-from-arthritis-pain
Other natural substances that have an anti-inflammatory action include glucosamine, chondroitin, bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapples), turmeric and ginger.
You might like to read these articles for more information: www.blackmores.com.au/.../arthritis-the-facts or www.blackmores.com.au/.../osteoarthritis
If you require any further information, we would suggest you call the Naturopathic Advisory Service on 1800 803 760 or email advice@blackmores.com.au for a more individual response to your query.
Best wishes, Kellie (Blackmores Naturopath)
Kellie
Kellie 02 Dec 2013
I have osteoarthritis and Gout also i am om Green Lipped mussel tables i was told to go off them cause my Gout has flare up again iam also on 1500 kill oil been on it for a lont time have gout in my thumb and middle finger and osteoarthritis on ,y knee and hand also in my back lower part
Anonymous
Anonymous 29 Nov 2013
Dear Sanjiv,
Thank you for your post. You may like to consider bowen therapy, osteopathy and/or acupuncture for some hands on support for your wife’s frozen shoulder. Green lipped mussel oil supplementation has anti-inflammatory actions and external comfrey cream may relieve pain, inflammation, swelling and impaired movement in acute sports injuries including muscle pain. Internal magnesium supplementation and magnesium salt baths may also provide some relief. We would suggest you call the Naturopathic Advisory Service on 1800 803 760 or email advice@blackmores.com.au for a more individual response to your wife’s wellness. Kind regards and best wishes, Gina (Blackmores Naturopath)

Gina
Gina 01 May 2013
My wife, age 49yrs, has been diagnosed with frozen right shoulder. She is taking fish oil for a few years.

Could you please advise natural remedies for this situation
Anonymous
Anonymous 01 May 2013
Dear Gina,
Thank you for your post. I am so sorry that you are experiencing discomfort and a lack of function in both shoulders, and particularly in your left shoulder.
There are many natural substances that have an anti-inflammatory action and I would suggest that you first try concentrated fish oils that are high in EPA content (the anti-inflammatory component) and you might also consider taking some cod liver oil. Here is an article that explains how fish oil can help with arthritis:
http://www.blackmores.com.au/learning-centre/article/cod-liver-oil-continues-to-offer-relief-for-those-suffering-from-arthritis-pain
Other natural substances that have an anti-inflammatory action include the oil from the green lipped mussel, glucosamine, chondroitin, bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapples), turmeric and ginger.
You might like to read these articles for more information:
http://www.blackmores.com.au/learning-centre/article/arthritis-the-facts
http://www.blackmores.com.au/learning-centre/article/osteoarthritis
Magnesium may also be able to assist with the frozen shoulder as it helps the muscles to relax and there are various types of physical therapy that involve gentle stretching that may ease the discomfort.
I hope this has been helpful advice Gina and I wish you a speedy recovery.
Kindest regards, Rebekah (a Blackmores naturopath)
Rebekah
Rebekah 30 Apr 2013
hi i've just had both my shoulders xrayed and the dr has advised i have osteoarthritis in both i'm finding it very hard to function day to day my left shoulder mobility is very low the dr said down the track he might give me cortisone tablets low dosage and does not believe in natural remedies although i Would prefer natural myself i take cholestrol tablets crestor 10mg currently no other medication my physio said i had frozen shoulder about a month ago before my xray some advice would be appreciated thanks. I am 48 years old.
Anonymous
Anonymous 23 Apr 2013
Hello Dianne,sorry to hear of your osteoarthritis. Most of the studies done on arthritis and omega 3 fatty acids are on fish oil. 1000 mg of standard fish oil has 180 mg of EPA (the omega 3 needed to relieve joint pain and swelling). Studies suggest 6 or more capsules of Fish Oil (that equals over 1080 mg of EPA), are needed for effective pain relief. Krill oil is a well absorbed source of Omega 3s such as EPA but actually contains less of the EPA than fish oil. 1000 mg of Krill oil contains 140 mg of EPA. Even though the absorption of Krill oil is excellent, 1 capsule of Krill oil is still providing 140 mg of EPA, so based on the current evidence one a day of Krill oil is not enough to get effective pain relief. You can take Krill for general wellbeing, heart health and brain health but you would probably be best to take high dose fish oil for arthritis. If you need more assistance, please feel free to call our naturopaths on 1800 803 760. Sophie (A Blackmores Naturopath).
Anonymous
Anonymous 23 Nov 2012