A variety of other nutrients, herbs, and habits also may reduce inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis. The least expensive change is to drink more water. According to Hugh D. Riordan, M.D., of the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International, Wichita,
Kansas, poor hydration is a common problem. Sufficient water intake helps cushion cells and tissues.
Vitamin D may indirectly reduce the risk of osteoporosis, according to research by Timothy E. McAlindon, D.M., a medical doctor and rheumatologist at Boston University Medical Center. Vitamin D is necessary for normal bone development, and low levels may affect bone structure and stability underneath the cartilage pads in joints.
Another study, by Margaret A. Flynn, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, Columbia, found that supplemental vitamin B12 and folic acid could improve hand-grip strength in men and women with osteoarthritis of the hands.
The herb ginger also may be helpful. A study in Arthritis & Rheumatism found that patients taking a ginger extract benefited from moderate improvements in knee pain. The study confirmed ginger's use as an anti-inflammatory agent in Chinese medicine, dating back more than twenty-five hundred years.
Two topical treatments also can help. Several studies have found that creams containing capsaicin, the pungent component of hot peppers, can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis. Capsaicin blocks the transmission of pain chemicals to the brain. The effect appears to be strictly symptomatic, but other than a local sensation of heat, it is far safer than acetaminophen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Creams containing the herb arnica also may relieve joint pain.
Lastly, mild movement therapies such as walking, yoga, and swimming may improve flexibility and reduce pain. It is very important, however, not to overdo such exercises because they may further break down articular cartilage.
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Thank you for deciding to learn more about the disorder, Osteoarthritis. Inside these pages, you will learn what it is, who is most at risk for developing it, what causes it, and some treatment plans to help those that do have it feel better. While there is no definitive “cure” for Osteoarthritis, there are ways in which individuals can improve their quality of life and change the discomfort level to one that can be tolerated on a daily basis.