Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:
Glucosamine and chondroitin are substances that occur naturally in the cartilage of the body. These substances are shown to help reduce inflammation. Glucosamine is taken either by mouth or by injection into the joint or muscle. Glucosamine sulfate is the most commonly used form and it has been shown to decrease pain, improve range of motion, and to have a longer lasting effect than NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. Chondroitin is also taken by mouth or injected into joint or muscle. It reduces the need for conventional medication, relieves pain, increases mobility, reduces swelling, decreases the amount of fluid in the joint, and slows the progression of osteoarthritis.
S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is a supplement that may decrease the stiffness felt in the morning, reduce pain, reduce swelling, and improve the sufferer’s range of motion. It appears to have few side effects. Vitamin D is vital for the health of bones and cartilage, and using vitamin D for osteoarthritis helps to prevent cartilage breakdown. Low intake levels of this vitamin may contribute to a greater risk of osteoarthritis in the hip or joint changes related to osteoarthritis.
Antioxidants are helpful in the management of osteoarthritis as they relieve oxidative stress on the body as well as the inflammation caused by free radicals. Free radicals can be made in the joints and they can cause degenerative changes in the aging body, including destruction of cartilage and connective tissue. Antioxidants can help to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis and these include vitamin A and beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in foods such as fish (especially salmon), flaxseed, rapeseed, and walnuts. A diet rich in these fatty acids can decrease inflammation and reduce the activity of enzymes that break down cartilage. Manganese is one of the substances that people need in order to build cartilage.
Herbal medicine is very popular amongst osteoarthritis sufferers and some of the most effective herbs include:
Capsaicin is the hot substance in chili. When it is applied to the skin, it can deplete stores of a substance that contributes to the inflammation and pain, thus providing pain relief to osteoarthritis sufferers.
Avocado/soybean extracts stimulate the growth of collagen in cartilage cells and people may experience a reduction in pain and disability, improved mobility, and a reduced need to use NSAIDs. Cat’s claw can significantly reduce knee pain while ginger and kava kava can reduce pain.
Studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for treating the pain associated with osteoarthritis, as well as improving joint function and walking ability. Acupuncture may be more effective than some conventional medications.
Chiropractic care for osteoarthritis sufferers may be able to:
Massage and exercise may decrease or delay the need for surgery in people that suffer from osteoarthritis. People that have gotten a swedish massage and/or exercise find that they have less stiffness, reduced pain, improved functional ability, improved walking distance, and a reduced need for surgery.
Magnet therapy uses electromagnetic fields. Low-energy AC and DC magnetic field stimulate the production of cartilage. Therapeutically, magnets can be applied to the skin directly over a bone or joint, or via pulsed electromagnetic fields that induce an electrical current in the target tissue without making direct contact with the body.
Balneotherapy is an old therapy used for pain relief and it refers to bathing in thermal or mineral waters. Mud baths that contain sulfur, for example, have been shown to relieve arthritis symptoms. Balneotherapy can improve the range of joint motion, increase the muscle strength, eliminate muscle spasms, enhance functional mobility, and reduce pain.
Ice massage, transcutaneous nerve stimulate (TENS) and electroacupuncture can reduce pain at rest, reduce stiffness, boost walking speed, increase quadriceps muscle strength, and increase the knee range of motion. Mechanical aids, or orthoses, are also available for osteoarthritis sufferers in order to support and protect joints. Orthoses include splints, braces, and shock absorbing soles in shoes. They should be fitted by a physical or occupational therapist.
People that suffer from osteoarthritis should use a homoeopathic remedy that has been specifically designed for them by a homoeopath. However, some remedies that may help include:
Other common remedies include:
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