FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter June 2002
Arthritis (Osteo), Degenerative Arthritis, Degenerative Joint Disease
Osteoarthritis is a common disease that develops when linings of joints fail to maintain normal structure, leading to pain and decreased mobility. It is associated with aging and injury (it used to be called “wear-and-tear” arthritis), and can occur secondary to many other conditions. For those of you suffering from the pain it can be an endless cycle of pain and pain killers
So let's look at some natural conservative options for the management of the problem.
Obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints. Weight loss has benefit, at least in reducing pain levels.
Glucosamine sulfate (GS) contains a building block needed for the repair of joint cartilage. GS has significantly reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis in many double-blind studies. All published clinical investigations on the effects of GS in people with osteoarthritis report statistically significant improvement. Most research trials use 500 mg GS taken three times per day. Benefits from GS generally become evident after three to eight weeks of treatment. Continued supplementation is needed in order to maintain benefits.
Please note that the studies have been done on glucosamine sulfate not glucosamine HCL, which is cheaper to produce.
Vitamin E has reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis in both single- and double-blind research. In these trials, 400–600 IU of vitamin E per day has been used. Results have been reported to occur within several weeks.
We recommend you get mixed tocopherols.
EPA fish oils in a 24-week controlled trial studying people with osteoarthritis led to “strikingly lower” pain scores than observed in the placebo group.
Two recent trials comparing herbal remedies with placebo found that participants who consumed these herbs experienced significant improvement compared to those in the placebo group. The following herbs significantly reduced pain and disability in people with OA:
· Winter cherry (Withania somnifera)
· Boswellia (Boswellia serrata)
· Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
· Ginger (Zinger Officinale)
Several controlled trials suggest that the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture is an effective treatment for pain associated with OA, as well as for other aspects of the condition, including diminished joint function and reduced walking ability. In fact, a few studies have shown that people with OA experience better pain relief and improvement in function from acupuncture than from NSAIDs such as piroxicam. For example, a group of 29 people awaiting surgery for OA of the knee demonstrated significant improvement in their ability to climb stairs and in their walking pace after receiving acupuncture compared to those who were not treated with acupuncture.
We hope that you find these helpful in your search for pain relief and healing.
Dr. Glenn and Julie Smith