What Is Osteoarthritis

While there are many types of Arthritis, Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are the primary ones.  OA is the slow deterioration of cartilage in the joints that affects roughly 27 million Americans.  Cartilage is the cushion in joints and helps absorb shock from movement.  As the cartilage deteriorates, OA can affect any joint, but it primarily affects knees, fingers and wrists, hips, and lower back.  Because OA is a progressive condition, symptoms tend to worsen over time.  

Signs Of Osteoarthritis

Symptoms of OA tend to gradually develop over time, but sometimes they can occur out of the blue.  The symptoms of OA usually affect people over 50, but younger people, children even, can experience them.  Because there are so many types of Arthritis, symptoms vary from person to person, but they similarly affect the joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles. 

  • Joint Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling Around Joints
  • Decrease in Range of Motion
  • Redness of Skin Around Affected Joint
  • Loss of Muscle Bulk
  • General Pain 
What Causes Osteoarthritis

OA occurs when there is a reduction of cartilage in a specific joint.  Cartilage is the connective tissue in your joints that absorbs pressure and shock during movement or when stress is put on the joints.  Regular wear and tear of cartilage leads to OA, but an infection, which occurs in the joint, can also lead to OA.  If you have a history of OA, your chances of having it are increased.  Genetics and weight can also play a role in the development of OA.  

  • Family History
  • Age (although this depends on the person)
  • Previous Joint Injury
  • Infection in the Joint
  • Obesity
  • Immune System Dysfunction
  • Abnormal Metabolism
  • Overuse of a Joint
  • Joints that are not properly formed

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Weight loss is an effective, although not necessarily the easiest, way to diminish symptoms of OA.  Eliminating processed foods, sugar, alcohol, salt, meat, dairy, and genetically modified foods from your diet is a good way to start.  Solely eating vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, and whole grains like barley or buckwheat is great way to lose weight.  The vegetables and raw nuts and seeds provide you with the proper nutrients you need. It's also important to get the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids.  Also, adding turmeric to your dishes can help because it has anti-inflammatory properties.  Accompany your diet with easy workouts that don't put too much stress on the joints (biking and swimmin are great options).  After losing 10-20 pounds, symptoms should reduce.
  • Many people with OA find that acupuncture aids their symptoms.  While it doesn't work for everyone, it can help to relieve pain and inflammation in the affected joint(s).  
  • Using hot and cold treatments can dramatically affect how your joints feel.  Hot showers and baths, especially in the mornings, help ease the stiffness in the joints.  Applying an ice pack to the affected joint can also help reduce pain.  If you have a hot pad or hot water bottle, alternating from hot to cold treatments can help benefit you.
  • Meditation or other relaxation exercises can help OA because it reduces stress levels.  Those with OA and depression were helped the most by meditation.  Similarly, getting massages helps move the fluid in the body and loosen the joints.  Massages also help people with OA establish a better range of motion. 
  • Light exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint(s).  Gentle weight training or aerobic exercises (swimming can be a beneficial exercise) are a great combination treatment.  Cartilage needs nutrients to keep it health, and exercising can help provide cartilage with those much needed nutrients. 
  • It's a good idea to eat anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce inflammation or swelling.  Ginger, turmeric, rosemary, tomatoes, or green leafy vegetables are excellent anti-inflammatory foods, and they provide you with a wealth of nutrients. 
Things you should eat
  • Turmeric
  • Soy Beans or Edamame
  • Tofu
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Cherries
  • Broccoli
  • Green Tea
  • Citrus
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
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