As a naturopathic clinic, we see a number of patients seeking naturopathic treatments for arthritis.
What might be surprising, though, is that they aren’t all elderly.
When the general public talks about “arthritis,” they’re usually referring to osteoarthritis.
However, there are many more types of arthritis.
It’s generally associated with aging, but it can strike at any age.
Today, let’s talk about osteoarthritis.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis.
In Canada, nearly one in six people has osteoarthritis, which makes it more common than every other type of arthritis put together.
Osteoarthritis causes a breakdown in the cartilage sandwiched between where two bones meet.
This cartilage is there to smooth the movement of your joints.
In its absence, it can lead to stiffness and pain, amongst other symptoms.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is caused primarily by joint damage that occurs over time.
Although it can occur at any age, it’s more likely to crop up as you get older.
It can be exacerbated or caused by injuries such as dislocations, torn cartilage or ligament injuries that you have sustained over your life.
As well, there are genetic and gender reasons for an increased risk of osteoarthritis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis?
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include swelling of the joints, pain and stiffness, and tenderness to the touch.
The pain can get quite severe as osteoarthritis progresses, and the inflammation you experience can spread from the joint itself.
Some of the most commonly-affected areas include the hands, knees, hips, and spine.
Osteoarthritis Vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis – What’s The Difference?
Although the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are largely the same as osteoarthritis, they are caused by different problems.
As mentioned above, osteoarthritis is degenerative, and is considered a wear-and-tear condition.
On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body is attacking itself, causing the inflammation.
Does Calcium Prevent Osteoarthritis?
Calcium has been touted for decades as a panacea for all things bone-related.
However, is this true?
Researchers have been searching for the answer to this question.
To date, the research shows that while calcium cannot prevent osteoarthritis, it can help guard against its development.
It can also help serve as a naturopathic solution to prevent osteoporosis, another bone-related disease.
Natural Treatments For Osteoarthritis
Well, if calcium isn’t the cure you thought it was, then what can you turn to for treatments for your osteoarthritis?
Let’s have a look.
1. Osteopathic Manual Therapy
This exercise treatment has been found to be particularly useful for knee-related osteoarthritis, in concert with more conventional treatments.
A common natural approach to a wide variety of different conditions, acupuncture continues to make a splash.
A 2014 meta-analysis of 12 different trials measuring the use of acupuncture as a treatment for osteoarthritis.
It found that, when compared with sham acupuncture (a placebo where the practitioner essentially does acupuncture wrong), no treatment, or usual care, there was a significant reduction in pain intensity, functional mobility, and overall quality of life.
3. Vitamin D
In an effort to find options above and beyond pharmaceuticals, scientists have also looked at the connection between Vitamin D and osteoarthritis.
In this study, participants did report reduced joint pain when treated with vitamin D, although it didn’t seem to make a difference on preventing cartilage loss.
Vitamin D is known to be good for bone health in general, and since there’s a high likelihood you’re deficient in vitamin D if you live in Canada, it’s a good idea to consider supplementing.
Polyphenols are micronutrients that are packed with antioxidants and other health benefits.
Because they’ve been tapped as a potential treatment for certain issues such as diabetes, digestion, weight management, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases, researchers are studying the effect of polyphenols on osteoarthritis.
The studies that focus on blueberries, strawberries, pomegranates and raspberries do show that their bioactive compounds can help prevent and manage arthritis.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Because osteoarthritis is an inflammation, taking omega-3 supplements and eating foods high in omega-3s can help to undo this damage.
Be aware that its twin, the omega-6 fatty acids, can actually contribute to inflammation, so be careful which ones you buy.
As well, omega-3s can help with chronic pain, which is a common symptom of osteoarthritis.
Book An Appointment At Annex Naturopathic
Are you suffering from joint pain that you suspect is some form of arthritis?
Call now to book your appointment at Annex Naturopathic.
Although osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, naturopathic treatments can help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Yours in Health,
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND