Ask Alina: How Can Osteoarthritis Be Treated Naturally?

Q: I was wondering what are your thoughts on osteoarthritis and how to treat it naturally?  My mother has just been diagnosed with it all over in her spine, neck, shoulder and fingers and they want to put her on Celebrex right away, and I looked up the side affects and they are awful and I am worried about her taking this drug.  She already has high blood pressure, and Tinunitis is really bad.  And a side affect of this drug is Tinunitis!  Just wondering what you would do if it was your Mom ? – Kristy

A: Hi Kristy, sorry to hear that your mom is going through this! While I am unable to provide a specific recommendation (an individualized protocol requires an in-depth consultation and review of her medical history), I can provide you with a rough framework to work from for treating osteoarthritis naturally.

As you mentioned, medication like Celebrex comes with a lot of side-effects. Deciding whether those side-effects are worth it is a personal decision and should be discussed with your doctor.

Unfortunately, while medication like Celebrex is helpful for relieving pain, swelling and inflammation in the short-term, it doesn’t address the root cause. It’s a Band-Aid solution that will make the pain worse in the long-run.

So let’s ask ourselves: what is osteoarthritis and what causes it in the first place?

Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear of joints over time and the loss of cartilage, which is the shock-absorbing gel-like material between joints. When there’s less cartilage, there’s more pain and inflammation as joints rub against each other.

This wear and tear is caused by factors like excess weight, aging, injuries, genetics and ongoing strain e.g. being on your feet all the time.

To treat osteoarthritis naturally, the approach has to be three-fold: 1) prevent further damage; 2) help rebuild cartilage; 3) relieve pain and inflammation

  1. Prevent further damageWhile it seems counter intuitive, exercise is one of the best ways to prevent further damage and maintain cartilage. Lack of exercise decreases hydration of the joint cartilage and prevents the diffusion of required nutrients.Regular exercise must become a part of the daily routine, including a mixture of aerobic exercise and resistance training. Avoid exercise that is hard on the joints, like running and HIIT workouts; focus instead on low-impact exercise such as swimming, yoga and pilates.Lastly, if excess weight is a factor, that needs to be addressed. Along with exercise, focus on a real, whole foods diet to get to a healthy weight.
  2. Help rebuild cartilageIn some cases, cartilage can be rebuilt; if not at least the degeneration can be halted. There are many supplements that can be taken that stimulate the production of cartilage, or its components such as collagen. Some of the most popular ones are glucosamine sulfate, chondriotin, hyaluronic acid, and Vitamin C. Adding hydrolyzed collagen into a daily smoothie has also been helpful for some of my clients.
  3. Relieve inflammationFortunately, nature has provided us with a lot of anti-inflammatory herbs. These are best taken in supplement form, as they are far more concentrated and potent than the raw form. Some herbs include: curcumin, boswellia, ginger, and devil’s claw. Here is a curcumin product that has had fantastic results for every client I’ve given it to.

If you decide to use any of these supplements, please speak to your mother’s primary healthcare physician first, to ensure there are no contraindications with her current medication.

 

 

About Alina

I'm a Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto, Canada and my official title is Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP). I received my diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. I'm a coach and an educator. Follow Alina on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
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  1. Informative!! I’ll try the supplements to improve my Rheumatoid Arthritis…if it helps!!

    1. Hi Salma! Definitely try the curcumin supplement, that should help with the pain 🙂 That being said, please keep in mind that RA is different from OA in that it’s an autoimmune disorder and healing the gut with diet/testing for food sensitivities will play a much larger role in your case, as compared to someone with OA!

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