Osteoarthritis is one of two main types of arthritis, or inflammation of the joints. (The other is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition).
Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA) results from wear and tear in the joints.It’s thought that 80% of adults older than age 55 have some degree of OA; about 60% of these people have symptoms of OA.
OA results from the wearing out of cartilage within joints. Cartilage is a strong rubbery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet in a joint (sometimes cartilage is visible on the end of chicken bones, like drumsticks).Cartilage serves as a shock absorber in the joints and protects the ends of the bones as the joints move.
After time, cartilage begins to wear out. Unfortunately cartilage has a poor blood supply and doesn’t re-grow once it’s become worn down.OA takes years and years to develop. Old injuries to joints also contribute to accelerated breakdown of cartilage and OA.
OA typically shows up first in the joints of the thumbs, fingers, big toes, hip and spine. However, it can occur in any joint.
Contrary to popular belief, running does NOT lead to OA.Oftentimes runners will be told “they’ll wear their joints out” from too much running.In fact, quite the opposite it true - a sedentary lifestyle will contribute to osteoarthritis faster than any amount of running.Cartilage thrives on being used - it’s a bit sponge-like in that when its compressed (during running, lifting, jumping, etc), nutrients in the surrounding joint fluids are forced in and out of it, helping it stay healthy. (Remember cartilage has no blood supply and compression is how nutrients “circulate” within it).
Other risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
Obesity: Chronic overloading of the joints plus the inflammatory nature of obesity contribute to joint degradation.
Diabetes and high cholesterol are both inflammatory conditions that also negatively affect the health of the cartilage, hastening its wear and tear.
Hormonal decline: As estrogen decreases in menopause, a woman’s joints become more susceptible to OA.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
As OA develops, a person will notice more and more tenderness in and around the joint.One hallmark symptom of OA is that as motion increases, the joint will be less stiff and painful.Mornings or prolonged immobility tend to bring about stiffness in the affected joints and “motion is lotion” once the joints get moving.
Some joints will appear enlarged as OA progresses as well - this is due to thickening of the bones of the joint which is most likely a protective response by the body.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Keep moving as best you can.Remember, joints thrive on motion, even when osteoarthritis is present.Using moist heat in the morning or before activity can help warm the joints up and minimize the pain of getting moving.
Hydration is important.The joints are filled with fluids; this fluid bathes and nurtures the cartilage and bone.Dehydration affects all reservoirs of fluid in the body and can negatively affect the fluid inside joints as well.
Joint Formula is a combination of several natural ingredients (including glucosamine and chondroitin) that work together to protect the joints, decrease pain & inflammation and promote cartilage regeneration.
Omega-3 fatty acids have shown promise in research for decreasing the pain associated with OA.Omega-3’s provide excellent joint protection and lubrication. Omega-3 oils are also comparable to NSAIDs (without the side effects) for reducing pain and inflammation over the long term. Watch out for poor labeling on fish oil products! Many times the label will say something like “1000 mg fish oil” but if you turn the bottle around and read in detail, you’ll see that out of the 1000 mg fish oil you’re only getting probably 300mg. And the real problem with this is that you need at least 2,500 mg a day, in omega-3 only, to get the maximum benefits from it. Lastly, look for an omega-3 that is a combination of EPA and DHA fats - you need both of them! Here's a video detailing how to find the right kind of fish oil.
Curcumin is known as one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatories, it has very specific anti-inflammatory effects.Derived from the herb Turmeric, we recommend that anyone dealing with inflammation of any kind use curcumin as part of their regimen.
Collagenis the main building block of tendons, bones and ligaments. Supplementation with collagen can help maintain healthy joints.
There are newer injection therapies available now, in different forms.Consider looking into platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) for more extensive help.
Consider all of the above to lessen the pain and discomfort of osteoarthritis before using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - these medications can relieve pain, but do nothing to prevent it from coming back and they have several negative side effects.