Physician organizations such as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons have established guidelines for treating osteoarthritis that emphasize conservative measures such as weight loss and exercise. All too often, however, doctors brush aside these treatments for osteoarthritis and go straight to pain-relieving drugs, corticosteroid injections, arthroscopic and joint replacement surgery, as well as other pricey, invasive interventions.
It’s time we get back to the basics. Experts predict that the burden of arthritis will double by 2020, due to the aging of the Baby Boomers and, more important, the fattening of America.
4 Natural Treatments for Arthritis
Lose weight. Obesity does a number on the joints. Every 10 pounds of extra weight loads an additional 30–60 pounds of force on your knees when you walk. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, obesity even increases the risk of arthritis in the hands. I understand that weight loss can be a constant struggle, but the payoff is substantial.
Do targeted exercises. Exercising when you have painful joints may seem counterintuitive, but it’s one of the best treatments for osteoarthritis. Targeted exercises lubricate the joints and enhance their function, increase flexibility and range of motion, and strengthen the muscles that hold the joints in proper alignment. If you’re not sure about what exercises are best, enroll in a few sessions with a personal trainer or physical therapist to learn the basics.
Take targeted supplements. Nutritional supplements are popular among arthritis sufferers, and the number of products to choose from is enough to make your head spin. At Whitaker Wellness, our top supplements for treating osteoarthritis are high doses of curcumin and fish oil to relieve pain and inflammation; glucosamine sulfate and MSM to help rebuild cartilage; and Univestin for more immediate pain relief. I recommend 1,500 mg of curcumin (or 500–1,000 mg of curcumin phytosome); 4–8 grams of fish oil; 5,000–10,000 mg of MSM; and 500 mg of Univestin, all taken daily in divided doses.
Consider clinical therapies. If you follow the lifestyle and supplement suggestions above and still have problems with arthritis, you may want to consider more intensive pain-relieving therapies. Some of the treatments for osteoarthritis I recommend and utilize at the clinic include chiropractic, microcurrent, prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma and high-intensity laser, to name a few.
Time and again I’ve seen weight loss, therapeutic exercise, nutritional supplements and the right combination of office-based therapies relieve pain, restore function and bring back a spring in the step, a twinkle in the eye and renewed joy in the simple pleasures of life.
Now it’s your turn: Do you have any other natural treatments for osteoarthritis that you’d like to share?
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