Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of over 100 types of arthritis (joint inflammation) and is the most prevalentform of arthritis in the U.S. It is estimated that over 27 million Americans (most who are over 60 years of age) suffer from this painful and sometimes debilitating disease. For most with this condition, modern medicine offers a tourniquet of relief that is often accompanied by other symptoms and side effects. This tourniquet approach and side effects of medications often leads people to seek gentler but effective natural alternatives.
In order to better help OA sufferers we need to understand the following:
· Joint overuse
· Obesity or just being overweight
· Poor nutrition
· Other diseases
Of these root causes, the last two are often—and should be—the first to be addressed.
· Joint aching and soreness
· Stiffness after periods of immobility
· Joint swelling
· Pain after “overuse”
· Bony protrusions (mostly on the joints in the fingers)
If we take these two lists and then take a look at natural medicine, we can easily put together a supplement regimen. Focusing on just pain and inflammation is usually how most supplement marketers address this painful condition for consumers, but these will not decrease or even treat the underlying cause. Until both areas (cause and symptom) are addressed, OA sufferers will never get the relief they are truly seeking.
Here is my approach to helping people with OA:
Addressing the root cause
For most, this may require some diagnostics from a medical practitioner. Whether the root cause is an injury, poor nutrition, weight struggles, joint overuse, etc., we need to spend as much time here as in the area of symptom relief. Educate consumers via literature inserts or other marketing materials in the following areas:
· Poor nutrition: Processed and refined foods lead to mineral deposits in the joints. A diet high in greens will help prevent these mineral deposits from even occurring.
· Weight problems: Excess weight stresses the joints, creating pain and impaired range of motion.
Changing to a healthier diet and adding activity (lifestyle changes), while perhaps using supplements to help promote weight loss, will lessen joint stress.
· Injury: Adding supplements such as hyularonic acid and glucosamine sulfate that can help with connective tissue integrity and formation will speed the healing process. Regardless of the root cause, there should be something available in natural medicine to help address the area in need.
Addressing the symptoms
This is the area that makes most sense for formulation and can help sufferers in the short run while the supplements addressing the root cause can begin to work. Taking a look at the most common symptoms above, here are my suggestions for addressing them effectively:
· Joint aching/soreness/swelling: Hops extract and turmeric. Hops extract (Perluxan) has compelling science to show it works like a cox-2 inhibitor and helps relieve pain fast (as little as 30 minutes). Turmeric (Meriva) has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to provide a solid 1-2 punch.
· Stiffness after periods of immobility/pain after overuse: The supplements mentioned above could be used here too, but I typically recommend a novel blend of esterified fatty acids that works in two unique ways—orally and topically. Orally, this ingredient (Celadrin) helps in the fight against inflammation along with helping to rehydrate the cells and promote flexibility and decrease stiffness. Topically, it works within 20 minutes to help not only with joint discomfort, but even works with sore muscles.
OA can be a painful and debilitating disease—but doesn’t have to be if it is addressed from the root. Obtaining a proper diagnosis is critical and then using the proper lifestyle changes of diet, activity and supplements will go a long way to help both long and short-term. Putting together the right combination of supplements that will address both the cause(s) and symptoms doesn’t have to be challenging and will often bring symptom-free relief to many consumers who will continue to purchase and use these supplements for the long-term.