Arthritis – Part 2

In my last article, I talked about the causes of osteoarthritis; this issue, I am going to tackle therapies.

The natural approach to treating osteoarthritis seeks to address the factors responsible for joint degeneration. Nutrition can accomplish a major goal in the treatment of arthritis, which is the enhancement of the repair process within the joints.

The diet needs to be rich in fruit and vegetables, which are rich sources of anti-oxidants that can protect against cellular and joint damage. All simple processed and concentrated carbohydrates should be avoided, including sugar and fruit juices. High fibre foods should be emphasized and fats should be kept to a minimum. Flavonoid rich foods such as cherries, blueberries, and blackberries are beneficial in the treatment of arthritis because they prevent the destruction of the joint structure.

A substance in the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers) can inhibit normal collagen repair in the joints. Try a three-month diet free of foods from the nightshade family to see if this is a predisposing factor for your arthritis. The elimination of food allergies can be an important step in reducing joint pain so have your food sensitivities checked.

Anti-oxidants can help prevent damage to the cartilage of the bone. Vitamin E has the ability to inhibit the breakdown of cartilage as well as the ability to stimulate the manufacture of cartilage components. Vitamin C is necessary to the manufacture of collagen, the major support protein of cartilage. Deficiency in Vitamin C intake is common as we age and this deficiency is known to produce poor collagen synthesis.

Certainly one of the most impressive supplements in the treatment of osteoarthritis in the last decade had been glucosamine sulfate. Double blind studies have shown that glucosamine sulfate produces better long term results than aspirin type pills in reducing the inflammation and pain of osteoarthritis. It treats the root of the problem by promoting cartilage growth.

A detox is often important in the treatment of arthritis. A detox diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish combined with a series of detox supplements can eliminate toxins and inflammatory byproducts from the blood, thereby decreasing the pain and inflammation of the joints.

Some botanicals that are useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis include a native African plant Devil’s Claw, which can act as an anti-inflammatory and have a pain killing effect on the sore joints. Boswella Serrapa can decrease inflammatory pathways, stop cartilage breakdown, and increase the blood supply to the joints.

Various physical therapy treatments like exercise, heat, cold, and diathermy can be beneficial in increasing joint mobility and decreasing pain. Massage therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic can be utilized to decrease joint strain.

Work with your health care professional to create a health plan that works for you. Degeneration is not inevitable.

Dr. Paulette Roscoe is a naturopathic physician who practices in Nanaimo. She welcomes your calls at 754-1733.