I’ve been working with a few clients lately that have osteoarthritis and whilst I’m fortunate enough to have not experienced it, I can certainly appreciate how debilitating it can be to live with. I’m learning directly from my clients the obstacles they face. To be quite honest, it’s a bloody miserable condition to live with… constantly there nagging away, but so common, no-one really pays it the full attention it deserves.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is probably the most common joint disorder, particularly affecting hands, hips, knees, back and neck. It occurs when the structures of joint surfaces begin to degenerate, reducing space between bones, initiating inflammation of the joint, until in more severe cases, bone grates on bone, resulting in further inflammation, all of which cause pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis may be hereditary (there is a theory that it can be due to subtle or even unrecognisable congenital or developmental defects), due to a past injury, due to joint overuse or due to being excessively overweight.
We can’t do anything to change what has already occurred in the first three instances, but we can of course act on the last. It stands to reason that excess weight puts increased pressure on joints and on the knees in particular. In fact being overweight apparently increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis by 4 or 5 times!
Losing weight can considerably reduce the severity of the symptoms but doing so is not always that straight forward! Whilst clients can change their eating habits, no matter how good their intentions may be on the exercise front, physically there may be limitations. So with intensive exercise regimes out of the question what else can be done to relieve symptoms while you are in the process of losing weight safely through better eating and gentle, manageable exercises?
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, the chances are you’ve been prescribed medication to manage it. There is no cure at present but there are a number of natural remedies and practices that can be incorporated into your lifestyle to relieve and reduce symptoms. In fact these can be adopted whether you are overweight or not.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a topic for another day, as it is important to treat the underlying cause. However, these remedies will also be beneficial in reducing inflammation and managing pain in the meantime.
I won’t be going into full details in this post, but you’ll find below some suggestions that form the basis of what I suggest to clients:
Turmeric & Ginger
Both are anti-inflammatory and probably the most commonly known natural treatment. Turmeric & ginger tea is very effective.
Although there are not many studies on this, those that have been done are showing that dandelion leaves have anti-inflammatory properties. Dandelion tea is one to try.
Blackstrap molasses is what remains after the 3rd boiling of sugar syrup, and is nothing like the nutrient lacking refined sugars used today. It is effective at regulating nerve and muscle function and strengthening bones, so has been a favourite home remedy for many years. Generally consumed as a drink.
Nature’s natural alternative to aspirin due to its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Usually consumed as a tea.
Again, effective as a pain reliever due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Look for prickly juniper and common juniper varieties. Again, can be consumed as a drink but not recommended for pregnant women.
Homemade cayenne ointment rivals over the counter pain relievers due to the presence of capsaicin. Only a temporary fix and should be used sparingly but is reported as being effective.
Magnesium relaxes muscle and nerve endings, relieving stiffness and pain. To increase your magnesium intake. Bath in Epsom salts which contains magnesium sulphate, take high quality magnesium supplements, consume foods naturally high in magnesium such as dark leafy greens, nuts and legumes, rub magnesium oil into joints.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (cold pressed)
Can inhibit inflammatory enzymes so try rubbing olive oil in daily.
Combinations include Peppermint & Eucalyptus, Peppermint & Wintergreen and Frankincense & Ginger. Combinations may offer analgesic or pain relieving properties or cool the affected area to soothe and ease pain.
Include Fish oil, Glucosamine, Turmeric, Bromelain, MSM.
Foods to incorporate
Flax, hemp & chia seeds, Cold water wild-caught fish, Fibrous foods, Foods high in sulfur, Bone broth, Avocados, Tart cherry juice, Fennel, Rosemary & Bay leaf.
Foods to avoid
Sugar, Conventional dairy, Gluten, Nightshade foods (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine, peppers)
As a final note, if you would like to learn more about my services as a Health Coach, please note I offer a FREE 1 hour consultation (in person, via phone or Skype audio). During this session we really nail down what your goals are, what you need to do to achieve them, what may be holding you back and what I would do to support you to achieve the fabulous health and lifestyle you deserve!
I hope this post has been helpful to you! If you have any tried and tested remedies I’d love to hear from you. Have a great week.