Herbal & homeopathic remedies for osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

Osteoarthritis
HEALTH HERBS & NUTRITION - REMEDIES -osteoarthritis

· General Description

· Symptoms

· Causes

· Herbal & Homeopathic Remedies

· Helpful Dietary Habits

· Dos and Don'ts

Natural herbal & homeopathic products for osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

General description & overview of osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

Osteoarthritis (AH-stee-oh-ar-THREYE-tis) is the most common type of arthritis, and is seen especially among older people. Sometimes it is called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis.

Osteoarthritis mostly affects cartilage (KAR-til-uj), the hard but slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. Also, small deposits of bone - called osteophytes or bone spurs - may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space. This causes more pain and damage.

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended in osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

 

Enfūz - Joint Support

Enfūz Joint not only provides for a person's basic nutritional needs, but this program contains powerful ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, msm and Celadrin to support healthy joints and bones. It is especially for anyone who is interested in improving the overall health of their joints and bones.

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People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and some movement limitations. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joint function and does not affect skin tissue, the lungs, the eyes, or the blood vessels.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common form of arthritis
, the immune system attacks the tissues of the joints, leading to pain, inflammation, and eventually joint damage and malformation. It typically begins at a younger age than osteoarthritis, causes swelling and redness in joints, and may make people feel sick, tired, and uncommonly feverish.

Osteoarthritis Basics: The Joint and Its Parts

A joint is the point where two or more bones are connected. With a few exceptions (in the skull and pelvis, for example), joints are designed to allow movement between the bones and to absorb shock from movements like walking or repetitive motions. These movable joints are made up of the following parts:

    • Cartilage: a hard but slippery coating on the end of each bone. Cartilage, which breaks down and wears away in osteoarthritis, is described in more detail on the next page.

    • Joint capsule: a tough membrane sac that encloses all the bones and other joint parts.
    • Synovium (sin-O-vee-um): a thin membrane inside the joint capsule that secretes synovial fluid.
    • Synovial fluid: a fluid that lubricates the joint and keeps the cartilage smooth and healthy.
Osteoarthritis A Healthy Joint and A Joint with severe Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis A Healthy Joint and A Joint with severe Osteoarthritis

In a healthy joint, the ends of bones are encased in smooth cartilage. Together, they are protected by a joint capsule lined with a synovial membrane that produces synovial fluid. The capsule and fluid protect the cartilage, muscles, and connective tissues.

With osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes worn away. Spurs grow out from the edge of the bone, and synovial fluid increases. Altogether, the joint feels stiff and sore.

Cartilage: The Key to Healthy Joints.

Cartilage is 65 to 80 percent water. The remaining three components - collagen, proteoglycans, and chondrocytes - are described below.

collagen (KAHL-uh-jen): A family of fibrous proteins, collagens are the building blocks of skin, tendon, bone, and other connective tissues.

proteoglycans (PRO-tee-uh-GLY-kanz): Made up of proteins and sugars, strands of proteoglycans interweave with collagens and form a mesh-like tissue. This allows cartilage to flex and absorb physical shock.

chondrocytes (KAHN-druh-sytz): Found throughout the cartilage, chondrocytes are cells that produce cartilage and help it stay healthy as it grows. Sometimes, however, they release substances called enzymes that destroy collagen and other proteins. Researchers are trying to learn more about chondrocytes.

   

Who Has Osteoarthritis?.

Although osteoarthritis is more common in older people, younger people can also develop it - usually as the result of a joint injury, a joint malformation, or a genetic defect in joint cartilage. Both men and women have the disease. Before age 45, more men than women have osteoarthritis; after age 45, it is more common in women. It is also more likely to occur in people who are overweight and in those with jobs that stress particular joints.

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common type of arthritis, and the percentage of people who have it grows higher with age. An estimated 12.1 percent of the U.S. population (nearly 21 million Americans) age 25 and older have osteoarthritis.

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Symptoms of osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

People with osteoarthritis usually experience joint pain and stiffness. The most commonly affected joints are those at the ends of the fingers (closest to the nail), thumbs, neck, lower back, knees, and hips.

Osteoarthritis affects different people differently. Although in some people it progresses quickly, in most individuals joint damage develops gradually over years. In some people, osteoarthritis is relatively mild and interferes little with day-to-day-life; in others, it causes significant pain and disability.

While osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints, its effects are not just physical. In many people with osteoarthritis, lifestyle and finances also decline.

Usually, osteoarthritis comes on slowly. Early in the disease, your joints may ache after physical work or exercise. Later on, joint pain may become more persistent. You may also experience joint stiffness, particularly when you first wake up in the morning or have been in one position for a long time.

Although osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, most often it affects the hands, knees, hips, and spine (either at the neck or lower back). Different characteristics of the disease can depend on the specific joint(s) affected. For information on the joints most often affected by osteoarthritis, please see the following descriptions below:

  • Hands: Osteoarthritis of the hands seems to have some hereditary characteristics; that is, it runs in families. If your mother or grandmother has or had osteoarthritis in their hands, you're at greater-than-average risk of having it too. Women are more likely than men to have hand involvement and, for most, it develops after menopause.

  • When osteoarthritis involves the hands, small, bony knobs may appear on the end joints (those closest to the nails) of the fingers. They are called Heberden's (HEBerr-denz) nodes. Similar knobs, called Bouchard's (boo-SHARDZ) nodes, can appear on the middle joints of the fingers. Fingers can become enlarged and gnarled, and they may ache or be stiff and numb. The base of the thumb joint also is commonly affected by osteoarthritis.

  • Knees: The knees are among the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include stiffness, swelling, and pain, which make it hard to walk, climb, and get in and out of chairs and bathtubs. Osteoarthritis in the knees can lead to disability.

  • Hips: The hips are also common sites of osteoarthritis. As with knee osteoarthritis, symptoms of hip osteoarthritis include pain and stiffness of the joint itself. But sometimes pain is felt in the groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or even the knees. Osteoarthritis of the hip may limit moving and bending, making daily activities such as dressing and putting on shoes a challenge.

  • Spine: Osteoarthritis of the spine may show up as stiffness and pain in the neck or lower back. In some cases, arthritis-related changes in the spine can cause pressure on the nerves where they exit the spinal column, resulting in weakness or numbness of the arms and legs.

           Most commonly affected joint places

Osteoarthritis - Most commonly affected joint places
 
Other symptoms (or rather outcomes of osteoarthritis) include
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • feelings of helplessness
  • limitations on daily activities
  • job limitations
  • difficulty participating in everyday personal and family joys and responsibilities

Diagnosis

No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most doctors use a combination of clinical history, physical examination, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging and sometimes blood tests to diagnose the disease and rule out other conditions.

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Causes of osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

Most of the time, the cause of OA is unknown. It is primarily a disease due to aging. However, the causes of OA include:

  • Increasing age
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Obesity
  • Injury to the joint
  • History of inflammatory joint disease
  • Metabolic or hormonal disorders (such as hemochromatosis and acromegaly)
  • Bone and joint disorders present at birth
  • Repetitive stressful joint use (such as with certain occupations like baseball, ballet dancing and construction work)
  • Deposits of crystals in joints

Herbal supplements & cures for osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). As the population ages, the number of people with osteoarthritis will only grow. By 2030, 20 percent of Americans - about 72 million people - will have passed their 65th birthday and will be at high risk for the disease.


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Herbal & homeopathic remedies useful in osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

There are a wide variety of medical treatment options available for osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis affects everyone differently and symptoms may vary in intensity – some people may experience very severe pain while others may have mild or no pain.

Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen or topical analgesics may help with mild pain while prescriptive NSAIDs, steroidal injections and opioid analgesics are often administered for more severe pain and swelling.

More and more people are choosing natural and holistic remedies over conventional medicine to treat osteoarthritis. Although conventional medicine can treat pain effectively, they have some harsh side effects while natural treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies are safer and gentler to use on the body.

Herbal ingredients such as Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil’s Claw) and Glucosamine sulphate contain powerful properties that are beneficial for joint, cartilage, muscle and back health. In addition, Boswellia serata also promotes joint and muscle mobility and helps to restore the digestive system.

  • Harpagophytum procumbens ('Sengaparile,' 'Devil's Claw' or 'Duiwelsklou') is known for the claw-like shape of its fruit. For thousands of years, the Khoisan people of the Kalahari Desert (in Southern Africa) have used Devil's Claw to support healthy joints as well as for a digestive tonic. Clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Devil's Claw in supporting joint, cartilage and back (especially lower back) health. In a study by Brady et al, (1981), serum cholesterol and uric acid levels were shown to be reduced after treatment with Devil's Claw. Scientific studies have also indicated that it is also an effective immune system tonic.

  • Glucosamine is naturally manufactured in the body and scientists know that this simple substance is found in relatively high concentrations in the joints and connective tissues, where its function is to repair cartilage and maintain joint mobility. Although we know that the body can manufacture small amounts of glucosamine, this is not generally sufficient to sustain joint health, which makes supplementation very important. As a supplement, Glucosamine sulphate is derived from the shells of shellfish, crabs and oysters where it is found in high concentrations. Glucosamine is approved for the support of joint health in more than 70 countries around the world and has been the subject of many clinical studies which attest to its benefits. Because glucosamine is naturally occurring in the body it is generally very safe and well tolerated without side effects.

  • Boswellia serrata is an extract of resin from a tall tree found in India. Boswellia has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. Modern science has verified its excellent benefits for joint health. With regular use, blood supply to the joints is also maintained, keeping soft tissue nourished and viable. Recent research into Boswellia is at the forefront of developments in the field of natural joint health and studies suggest that this natural substance can help to support the health and integrity of cartilage in the joints.

   

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended in osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

 

Enfūz - Joint Support

Enfūz Joint not only provides for a person's basic nutritional needs, but this program contains powerful ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, msm and Celadrin to support healthy joints and bones. It is especially for anyone who is interested in improving the overall health of their joints and bones.

Product Details

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Helpful dietary habits in osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

Though no specific diet will necessarily make your arthritis better, eating right and controlling your weight can help by minimizing stress on the weight bearing joints such as the knees and the joints of the feet. It can also minimize your risk of developing other health problems.

Some helpful eating habits are:


Green tea: Many studies have shown that green tea possesses anti-inflammatory properties. One recent study showed that mice predisposed to a condition similar to human osteoarthritis had mild arthritis and little evidence of cartilage damage and bone erosion when green tea polyphenols were added to their drinking water. Another study showed that when added to human cartilage cell cultures, the active ingredients in green tea inhibited chemicals and enzymes that lead to cartilage damage and breakdown. Further studies are looking at the effects of green tea compounds on human cartilage. So, go for green tea as a ritual.
   
Antioxidants: Antioxidants appear to significantly ease oxidative stress and inflammation caused by free radicals and may slow the progression of OA. Free radicals can be produced in the joints and have been implicated in many degenerative changes in the aging body, including destruction of cartilage and connective tissue. Antioxidants appear to offset the damage caused by free radicals. Although further evidence is needed to substantiate these claims, studies of groups of people observed over time suggest that the following antioxidants may help reduce the symptoms of OA:
 
      1   Vitamin A and beta-carotene
 
      2   Vitamin C
 
      3   Vitamin E
 
Foods rich in the above vitamins are-
     
 
Vitamin E: Cold-pressed vegetable oils, including olive, corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, and canola and products made from these oils, wheat germ, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts), dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, egg yolks, seeds (Sunflower seeds), whole grains liver, corn-oil margarine, mayonnaise, greens (beet, collard, mustard, turnip), sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus, yams.
 
Vitamin A: In the form of retinyl palmitate, is found in beef, calf, chicken liver; eggs, and fish liver oils, whole milk, whole milk yogurt, butter and cheese. Vitamin A can also be produced in the body from beta-carotene and other carotenoids (fat-soluble nutrients found in fruits and vegetables). Most dark-green leafy vegetables and deep yellow/orange vegetables and fruits (sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and other winter squashes, cantaloupe, apricots, peaches, pink grapefruit, broccoli, spinach and mangoes) contain substantial amounts of beta-carotene.
 
Vitamin C: Since vitamin C is not produced by the body, it must be obtained from fruits and vegetables. Some rich sources of vitamin C are oranges, green peppers, watermelon, Rose Hips, papaya, parsley, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, mango, broccoli, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, currants, cabbage, and citrus juices or juices fortified with Vitamin C. Raw and cooked leafy greens (turnip greens, spinach), red and green peppers, canned and fresh tomatoes, sweet and white potatoes, winter squash, Acerola Berries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and pineapple are also rich sources of Vitamin C. As vitamin C is sensitive to light, air, and heat, it is advised to eat fruits and vegetables raw, or minimally cooked in order to retain their full vitamin C content.
     
Dietary recommendations for osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

Dos & don'ts (precautions) in osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

Most successful treatment programs involve a combination of treatments tailored to the patient's needs, lifestyle, and health. Most programs include ways to manage pain and improve function. These can involve exercise, weight control, rest and relief from stress on joints, pain relief techniques, medications, surgery, and complementary and alternative therapies. Some of these approaches are described below.

Exercise

Research shows that exercise is one of the best treatments for osteoarthritis. Regular physical activity plays a key role in self-care and wellness. Exercise can improve mood and outlook, decrease pain, increase flexibility, strengthen the heart and improve blood flow, maintain weight, and promote general physical fitness. Exercise is also inexpensive and, if done correctly, has few negative side effects. The amount and form of exercise prescribed will depend on which joints are involved, how stable the joints are, and whether a joint replacement has already been done. Walking, swimming, and water aerobics are a few popular types of exercise for people with osteoarthritis. Your doctor and/or physical therapist can recommend specific types of exercise depending on your particular situation.

The following types of exercise are part of a well-rounded arthritis treatment plan.

  • Strengthening exercises: These exercises strengthen muscles that support joints affected by arthritis. They can be performed with weights or with exercise bands, inexpensive devices that add resistance.

  • Aerobic conditioning exercises: These are exercises, such as walking or low-impact aerobics, that get your heart pumping, help control weight, and can keep your lungs and circulatory system in shape.

  • Range-of-motion activities: These keep your joints limber, help reduce stiffness and maintain or increase proper joint movement and flexibility.

  • Agility exercises: These can help you maintain daily living skills.
Exercises for Osteoarthritis
Exercises for Osteoarthritis

Rest and relief from stress on joints
 

Treatment plans include regularly scheduled rest. Patients must learn to recognize the body's signals, and know when to stop or slow down. This will prevent the pain caused by overexertion. Getting a good night's sleep on a regular basis can minimize pain and help you cope better with the effects of your disease. Although pain can make it difficult to sleep, getting proper sleep is important for managing arthritis pain.

If arthritis pain makes it difficult to sleep at night, speak with your doctor and/or physical therapist about the best mattress or comfortable sleeping positions or the possibility of timing medications to provide more pain relief at night. You may also improve your sleep by getting enough exercise early in the day; avoiding caffeine or alcoholic beverages at night; keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool; and taking a warm bath to relax and soothe sore muscles at bedtime. If you still have trouble sleeping, you may find that relaxation techniques, stress reduction, and biofeedback can help.

Some people use canes to take pressure off painful joints. They may use splints or braces to provide extra support for joints and/or keep them in proper position during sleep or activity. Splints should be used only for limited periods of time because joints and muscles need to be exercised to prevent stiffness and weakness. If you need a splint, an occupational therapist or a doctor can help you get a properly fitted one.

If joint pain interferes with your ability to sleep or rest, consult your doctor

Non drug pain relief

People with osteoarthritis may find many non drug ways to relieve pain. Below are some examples:

 
  • Heat and cold: Heat or cold (or a combination of the two) can be useful for joint pain. Heat can be applied in a number of different ways - with warm towels, hot packs, or a warm bath or shower - to increase blood flow and ease pain and stiffness. In some cases, cold packs (bags of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel), which reduce inflammation, can relieve pain or numb the sore area. (Check with a doctor or physical therapist to find out if heat or cold is the best treatment.)

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): TENS is a technique that uses a small electronic device to direct mild electric pulses to nerve endings that lie beneath the skin in the painful area. TENS may relieve some arthritis pain. It seems to work by blocking pain messages to the brain and by modifying pain perception.

  • Massage: In this pain-relief approach, a massage therapist will lightly stroke and/or knead the painful muscles. This may increase blood flow and bring warmth to a stressed area. However, arthritis-stressed joints are sensitive, so the therapist must be familiar with the problems of the disease.

Surgery

For many people, surgery helps relieve the pain and disability of osteoarthritis. Surgery may be performed to achieve one or more of the following:
 
  • removal of loose pieces of bone and cartilage from the joint if they are causing symptoms of buckling or locking

  • repositioning of bones

  • resurfacing (smoothing out) of bones

Surgeons may replace affected joints with artificial joints called prostheses. These joints can be made from metal alloys, high-density plastic, and ceramic material. Some prostheses are joined to bone surfaces with special cements. Others have porous surfaces and rely on the growth of bone into that surface (a process called biologic fixation) to hold them in place. Artificial joints can last 10 to 15 years or longer. Surgeons choose the design and components of prostheses according to their patient's weight, sex, age, activity level, and other medical conditions.

The decision to use surgery depends on several factors, including the patient's age, occupation, level of disability, pain intensity, and the degree to which arthritis interferes with his or her lifestyle. After surgery and rehabilitation, the patient usually feels less pain and swelling, and can move more easily.
   
Homeopathic medicines & cures for osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). Osteoarthritis patients who are overweight or obese should try to lose weight. Weight loss can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints, limit further injury, and increase mobility. A dietitian can help you develop healthy eating habits. A healthy diet and regular exercise help reduce weight.
   

Acupuncture

Some people have found pain relief using acupuncture, a practice in which fine needles are inserted by a licensed acupuncture therapist at specific points on the skin. Preliminary research shows that acupuncture may be a useful component in an osteoarthritis treatment plan for some patients. Scientists think the needles stimulate the release of natural, pain-relieving chemicals produced by the nervous system.
   

Have fun

While having osteoarthritis certainly isn't fun, it doesn't mean you have to stop having fun. If arthritis makes it difficult to participate in favorite activities, ask an occupational therapist about new ways to do them. Activities such as sports, hobbies, and volunteer work can distract your mind from your own pain and make you a happier, better-rounded person.

Some things which you may incorporate in your lifestyle are:
   
 
  • Focus on your abilities instead of disabilities.
  • Focus on your strengths instead of weaknesses.
  • Break down activities into small tasks that you can manage.
  • Incorporate fitness and nutrition into daily routines
  • Develop methods to minimize and manage stress.
  • Balance rest with activity.
  • Develop a support system of family, friends, and health professionals.

Chiropractic

Although there is no evidence that chiropractic care can reverse the joint degeneration that causes OA, some studies indicate that spinal manipulation may:
   
 
  • Increase range of motion 
  • Restore normal movement of the spine
  • Relax the muscles
  • Improve joint coordination
  • Reduce pain

In fact, a comprehensive review of the scientific literature suggests that chiropractic, especially when combined with glucosamine supplements and rehabilitative stretches and exercise, is an effective supplemental treatment for OA. Chiropractors will avoid using direct thrusts or pressure on red, swollen joints.

   

Yoga

This ancient Indian practice is well known for its physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual benefits and is often recommended in the West to relieve musculoskeletal symptoms. In one clinical trial studying OA of the hand, the group practicing yoga showed significant decrease in pain and improved range of motion compared to those participating in non-yoga stretching and strengthening sessions. Certain yoga "asanas" (postures) strengthen the quadriceps and emphasize stretching, both of which benefit people with OA of the knee. People with arthritis should begin asanas slowly and they should be performed only after a warm up. Yoga is best performed under the careful guidance of a reputable instructor.

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Herbal & homeopathic products recommended in osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

 

Enfūz - Joint Support

Enfūz Joint not only provides for a person's basic nutritional needs, but this program contains powerful ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, msm and Celadrin to support healthy joints and bones. It is especially for anyone who is interested in improving the overall health of their joints and bones.

Product Details