What is Osteoarthritis?
Affecting about 27 million people in the US, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is also known as osteoarthrosis, degenerative arthritis and degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis affects only joints causing cartilage surrounding joints to wear down. This disease is characterized by joint pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. It does not affect organs unlike rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is progressive - however it can be managed by conventional and alternative therapies.
Who can get affected by Osteoarthritis?
Women are more likely to get OA than men. While it was earlier assumed to be a disease that comes with aging, osteoarthritis can affect people as young as 25 usually as a result of joint injury or obesity. It generally affects those over 40
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
There is pain during activity that goes away while resting
Joints get stiff when getting up from bed in the morning or after sitting for a long time
Crepitus or crunching of bone against bone.
Small spurs grow on joint edges
Swelling in joints
What causes osteoarthritis?
osteoarthritis generally affects hands, knees, hips and the spine. Some of the main causes are considered to be:
Joints that are malformed
Jobs that require repetitive movements
How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
Your physician will ask about your symptoms and do a physical examination including checking for range of motion.
Next laboratory tests such as joint aspiration, x-rays and an MRI may be performed.
Herbal Remedies for Osteoarthritis (OA)
Boswellia / Shallaki
What are some conventional treatments for osteoarthritis?
Various drug treatments may be prescribed for osteoarthritis. These include Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. Drug treatment options also include Disease modifying drugs such as methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) and Leflunomide (Arava). Biologics and Corticosteroids may also be prescribed. However these drug treatments can have some severe side effects including liver and kidney problems, infections, cataracts and weak bones.
What are some natural therapies and herbal remedies for Osteoarthritis?
Often times excess weight is the cause of stress on joints. If you are overweight, reducing weight with the helpof diet and exercise could help tremendously in easing pressure on joints and will help to relieve pain and inflammation.
Gentle exercise especially those that are low impact and help to stretch joints such as yoga, tai-chi and swimming are considered very therapeutic in osteoarthritis. Exercise will help to reduce pain and stiffness of joints and improve range of motion.
Hot or cold treatments known as thermotherapy is very beneficial in osteoarthritis. Heat helps to relax clenched muscles and improves blood circulation to joints while cold helps to deaden pain and reduce swelling.
Massaging the affected areas helps to soothe inflamed muscles and nerve endings.
Watch your diet. Foods like dairy, grains, meat, horseradish, mustard, garlic, onions, sour foods such as pickles and lemon, watercress, parsley, celery and rose-hip tea can trigger inflammation and pain. Your diet should include foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids that are good for joints such as walnuts, olive oil, fish, sunflower seeds.
Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and music.
Ayurvedic science recommends herbs such as Boswellia , Ashwagandha , Turmeric and Guggul which are well known to reduce inflammation, pain and help the body to relax. Rumalaya Forte and Rumalaya Gel are herbal formulations by the Himalaya Herbals company that help to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis naturally without side effects.
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