Four ways to alleviate osteoarthritis 26



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One thing is clear about osteoarthritis: it is a big issue. Affecting millions of Australians and costing billions of dollars, it’s not to be dismissed lightly. Yet until recently, the origins of this crippling disease were pretty unclear and arguably incorrect. The latest research now challenges the view it’s just wear and tear and only affecting the old. This may dramatically change how the condition should be treated.

It is estimated nearly two million Australians suffer from osteoarthritis and it skews towards females. Estimates vary on the cost to the community, but it’s in the order of a whopping four billion dollars and rising fast (according to a 2012 study by Deloitte). Joint replacements, most commonly hips and knees, are a big contributor to this expense.

Considering these alarming statistics, groundbreaking research conducted by Stanford University of Medicine in the USA is not to be ignored. They found that, contrary to previous theories, the main underlying cause of osteoarthritis is chronic low-grade inflammation. It can occur way before actual arthritis symptoms start to appear.

“We’re starting to try and recast the way we think about osteoarthritis. That it’s not just this disorder that comes from age or wear and tear, but rather it’s a chronic condition that’s a result of chronic low-grade inflammation that’s causing a consistent and a persistent injury or damage to the joint,” said Mark Genovese M.D. from Stanford Health Care.

In addition, a past belief that exercise made osteoarthritis worse has been debunked. Light exercise, with care taken not to jolt any joints affected, actually relieves the condition.

So what does all this mean for someone with osteoarthritis? Here are four symptom alleviating strategies, based on the latest evidence (and a dose of common sense):

  1. Keep your weight to a normal level, as excess body mass is linked with making symptoms worse for weight bearing joints. Diet and moderate exercise are key.
  2. Follow a healthy diet, rich in anti-inflammatory foods and low on ingredients that cause inflammation (such as trans fats and added sugars, present in many processed foods).
  3. Exercise moderately, but regularly – If you have arthritic joints, it’s better to be active at a lower intensity five times a week than going hard twice.
  4. Address any deficiencies in your body, which could cause inflammation (ask your doctor for a few tests). Low vitamin D is a common example.

All eyes are now on Stanford and their latest study. Currently they are testing whether anti-inflammatory medicine can stop or even reverse the damage caused by osteoarthritis. If the drugs work, logic suggests anti-inflammatory foods can help too. As I keep saying, there is no harm in eating health foods!


Share your thoughts below.

Sandra Witzel

Sandra Witzel is a certified Health Coach who has lived with arthritis for over a decade. She is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches and works to help people with arthritis through, an 8-week online program packed with meal plans, recipes, latest research on supplements, exercise tips and a forum to connect with others.

  1. When a person has medium plus degrees of osteo feel free to comment otherwise you have no idea of pain. Yes very light exercise is good but some days totally impossible. Unfortunately people cannot see your pain and brand you lazy.

    4 REPLY
    • I have been on list for new hip for two years now Debbie. I know what you mean, but I still do light exercise every day.

    • Doctor said they can’t do anything for me, from under my feet to my neck. They stress do not fall over. I did held an hour of gardening on weekend now buggard for a week with pain. But hey the cancer is staying away 🙂 just keep smiling.

    • I walk with a cane and can only manage short distances. Even going up and down my stairs to my mail box and/or garbage bins necessitates a rest for 10 or 15 minutes.

    • I still try to do a bit of gardening every day – no more than 30 minutes, in a sitting position on the ground. Getting up can be very amusing! But before venturing forth, I take a rather strong pain killer in anticipation of the pain to come!!

  2. Oops … I have been diagnosed with low vitamin D … the inherited sort because it’s certainly not lack of sunshine. Hips and knees seem to be holding up ok but my hands are very bad, limiting weeding, crocheting and knitting, all the things I enjoy. So, from today, I will make a derermined effort to cut sugar, and try to inclide more anti-inflammatory foods and see now I go.

  3. I take 2 or 4 Turmeric capsules every day it keeps the pain at bay for most of the day I have osteo in both knees, both shoulders and top and bottom of spine. I walk on rounded rocks every day to help with balance and strengthen knee muscles. I also take Boron Capsules to slow down the osteo.

    1 REPLY
  4. I have a walker & man I walk everywhere & get taken to a Indoor Heated Poll twice a week & walk in the water been doing this for about 10 years & it Helps don’t eat salt, Butter, or seafood

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