According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an estimated 50 million Americans have one form of arthritis or another. An estimated 50% of United States adults over the age of 65 reported being told by a doctor that they have arthritis. But arthritis isn’t just impacting the older groups of Americans. It’s estimated that by 2030 there will be 67 million Americans over the age of eighteen suffering with arthritis.

Arthritis is characterized by stiff, aching, hard to move joints and bones. The most common type of arthritis impacting 33 million American adults is osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between the bones at joint wears down. This allows the bones to rub together rather than giving them the protection and cushion of cartilage. This deterioration goes on to affect the shape and functionality of the joints too making it difficult for that joint to continue to function normally.  Additionally, more complications can arise. There may be fluid in the joint area that is low on a certain chemical, hyaluronan, which protects the joint.  This decrease in hyaluronan has a negative impact on how the joint absorbs shocks.

Another common complication with osteoarthritis is when pieces of bone or cartilage float around within the fluid causing pain and irritation.  Bone spurs may also develop on the end of bones leading to pain and discomfort.

When it comes to osteoarthritis one thing you can be sure of is there is discomfort and pain. Do you or someone you know have this sometimes debilitating disease? Do you know what the signs of osteoarthritis are?

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The symptoms vary when you have osteoarthritis. However, the two most common are stiffness and pain. The stiffness is most common when the sufferer wakes up in the morning or when he or she moves from a spot in which they were resting.

Some joints are more commonly impacted by osteoarthritis than others. Here are the most commonly affected joints:

  • Lower back
  • Hip
  • Knees
  • Feet
  • Neck
  • Fingers
  • Thumb base

If you suffer with osteoarthritis in one of these places you may have difficulty do any or all of the following:

  • Walking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Lifting objects
  • Grasping or holding objects
  • Doing intricate, detailed work such as knitting or needlepoint

What are the Causes of Osteoarthritis?

In searching for cures for osteoarthritis many researchers look to find the cause first. There is no one known cause for osteoarthritis but rather osteoarthritis is made up of more than one cause.

Here are some of the factors believed to contribute to osteoarthritis:

  • Genes
  • Weight
  • Injury
  • Overuse
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Metabolic conditions

When it comes to genes there’s a theory that people with osteoarthritis may have a genetic defect in the gene that makes up collagen. Collagen is important in making cartilage. This could potentially lead to weakened cartilage that wears down after just a few years or decades of use.

In addition, certain people may have genes that result in malformed and shaped bones and joints that lead to uneven or deeper wearing of the cartilage based on how it rubs together.

When it comes to weight you probably know by now that being overweight brings on a host of health issues. But until now you may not have considered osteoarthritis to be one of those. However, your hips and knees bear most of your bodies’ weight and if you’re overweight you’re putting additional strain and stress on your body.

According to Arthritis Today, for every pound of weight you gain you put an additional three pounds of weight on your knees. This is a lot of extra strain for your knees and hips.

Treatments for Osteoarthritis

The most common type of treatment for this condition is pharmaceuticals or drugs. The most commonly prescribed drugs for osteoarthritis are analgesics. These drugs are used to treat only the pain, not the pain and inflammation as with NSAID’s. Acetaminophen is the most commonly recommended and most widely available analgesic recommended for osteoarthritis pain.

4 Common Analgesics for Osteoarthritis:

  1. Percocet
  2. Darvocet
  3. Oxycontin
  4. Duragesic

Not only are these analgesics full of potential nasty side effects they can also be addicting. If you want to avoid the nasty side effects of prescription medication but still get relief from your osteoarthritis pain how about looking at alternative treatments.

There are currently a number of alternative treatment options for osteoarthritis sufferers. From supplements to acupuncture many people who formerly suffered with osteoarthritis claim to have found relief.

5 Effective All Natural Treatments for Arthritis

1. Chiropractic care

Chiropractors are often able to alleviate some of the pain associated with osteoarthritis. The type of treatment you’ll get depends directly on the acuteness and severity of your specific case of osteoarthritis.

2. Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteolytic enzymes are ones that aid in digestion. Trypsin and chymostrypsin are both produced by your pancreas and others such as papain from papaya and bromelin from pineapples, you get from foods. (Wobenzym N by Garden of Life)

3. Ginger

Ginger contains chemicals that may have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. In research studies, ginger was shown to lessen pain associated with arthritis.

4. Turmeric

The most active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, have become known as great anti-inflammatories.

5. Boswellia

Known as Indian Frankincense, this potent supplement helps reduce inflammation too.

 

Dr. Josh’s Supplement Recommendations

 

Sources: Arthritis Today, Arthritis Foundation