Osteoarthritis is a progressive and a degenerative joint disorder that is characterized by the erosion and damage of articular cartilage and the loss of the fluids that lubricate the joints. While natural remedies cannot be as effective as conventional pharmacological treatments that involve the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics, instantly bringing relief from joint pain, they can certainly help you in averting the side effects like nausea, liver damage, renal failure, heart stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia etc. that are associated with the high dosage containing medications for treating osteoarthritis.
Moreover, medications can only block the pain signals, but they cannot slow the progression of the disease. The key to exploiting the benefits of natural remedies in achieving long-lasting effects, however, is to make them a regular part of your treatment regimen. The following list of remedies have been found quite beneficial in mitigating the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
Natural Ways To Treat Osteoarthritis
Chondrocytes are the cells that stimulate the production of proteoglycans, which are macromolecules that form the basic structural and functional units of the joint cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate is a compound, which is made up of a chain of sulfated and un-sulfated residues of polysaccharides that promote the synthesis of proteoglycans.
It also aids in drawing lubricating fluids into the cartilage area, thus providing enough nutrition to support the development of healthy joints. By giving a spongy appearance to the cartilage, it improves its shock absorbing abilities and protects the cartilage from being damaged. Many randomized double-blind clinical trials support the role of chondroitin sulfate supplements in reducing the pain and stiffness in the joints associated with osteoarthritis.
It has been found that 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate, taken thrice a day can significantly reduce joint pains in osteoarthritis patients. The dosage can gradually be reduced, as the symptoms disappear. No serious side effects have been reported so far, by the use of chondroitin sulfate. In fact, preliminary evidence is available to support its role in influencing the course of the disease by slowing down its progression. Furthermore, researchers at the American college of rheumatology have found that chondroitin sulfate with glucosamine supplements works as the best combination for enhancing the strength of cartilage, thus helping in promoting joint health.
Vitamin E Rich Foods
Vitamin E has been used for the treatment of osteoarthritis, essentially because of its ability to act as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It acts by blocking pain signals through the inhibition of the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are primarily responsible for eliciting an inflammatory response by the immune system.Moreover, it stabilizes the lysosomal membranes, thus inhibiting the release of hydrolytic enzymes that can cause considerable damage to the cartilage encircling the joints. A number of studies have supported the role of intake of 600mg of vitamin E supplements per day in decreasing joint pains and in increasing the mobility and flexibility of the joints. Consumption of vitamin E rich foods like spinach, nuts, tropical fruits like papaya, kiwi, wheat, etc., has therefore been recommended for treating the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
Lower dietary intake of boron by certain ethnic groups belonging to Jamaica, U.S, U.K, Australia, etc., have been attributed to a higher incidence of osteoarthritis in these areas. Boron is an essential element required for the post-translational modification or hydroxylation of steroid hormones like estrogen and Vitamin D.These two hormones are very essential for the absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous from the intestines that play a crucial role in strengthening the bones. In addition, its anti-inflammatory properties and its role in improving the supply of ATP, makes it a good alternative for speeding up the process of bone and cartilage repair in osteoarthritis patients. Scientific evidence has proven that a daily intake of 6mg of boron is required for mitigating the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Unfortunately, our daily diet intake, supplying you with about 0.5-2mg of boron, does not provide us with sufficient amounts of boron. Furthermore, most of the boron is secreted via bile, urine and sweat, leaving only traces of boron deposits on the bones. Hence, taking boron supplements or increasing the intake of food sources of boron like green leafy vegetables, soy based foods, avocados, apples, grapes, nuts, cereals, honey, etc., has been found effective in promoting the synthesis of cartilage by the chondrocytes, enabling patients to obtain a great amount of relief from the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Hence, adapting a healthy diet and avoiding triggers like nightshade family of foods such as potato, tomatoes, tobacco, etc., can serve as an effective strategy for relieving the symptoms of arthritis.
Practice Mind-Body Relaxation Techniques
Mind-body relaxation therapy helps you build a stronger relationship between the mind and the body by strengthening and relaxing your muscles while keeping your mind from focusing on the pain.
The World Health Organization has attributed a plethora of health benefits to acupuncture that aids in the treatment of many medical disorders, one among them being, joint aches and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. Being one of the most ancient Chinese practices, acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles at certain trigger points or acupoints and aims at correcting energy imbalances in the body that lead to medical illnesses.
It also stimulates the synthesis of endorphins in the body, which are natural pain killers that help in suppressing the pain perception by nociceptors (pain receptors) in the brain. So what’s more? Acupuncture can also boost the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that governs your emotional well-being and helps you beat stress that builds up free radicals in the body, which have the potential of damaging the cartilage and the joints.
Yoga and Tai chi
There is no dearth of scientific evidence that supports the role of yoga exercises in improving the functionality of the joints. Yoga increase the range of motion of joints, thus increasing flexibility and strengthens your muscles that are required as a support for arthritic joints.Tai chai is yet another stress relieving technique that combines stretching exercises with pranayam or deep breathing exercises. This therapy has also been found effective in reducing joint pains and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. However, you should always seek advice from a knowledgeable instructor to avoid moves that strain your arthritic joints from stretching beyond their endurance.
Some of these natural remedies have been proven to be as effective as aspirin and ibuprofen in providing symptomatic relief, without causing any side-effects, thereby serving as a primary alternative for conventional medications to treat osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, you should always seek advice from a medical practitioner to avoid the interference of these remedies with the prescribed medications to prevent your condition from worsening.