Many people suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) can get relief through traditional treatments like physical therapy and Acupuncture. Numerous experts recommend a mixture of natural and drug-based treatment options for OA patients.
The OA is the most prevalent form of arthritis, affecting more than 32.5 million Trusted Source adult patients in the United States.
OA is when the cartilage within the joint is damaged and becomes worn away, causing changes in the bone inside the joint. The joints that OA most often affects include the hips, hands, and knees.
There is evidence to suggest that specific non-pharmacological treatments for OA can be beneficial to particular individuals. Changes in lifestyle and physical therapy, for example, may aid in managing the symptoms.
This article outlines some of the most common natural remedies for OA, such as cold and heat therapy supplementation, Acupuncture, and supplements.
Do natural remedies help with osteoarthritis?
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There is no cure-all in the case of OA. When prescribing treatment, doctors strive to assist patients with managing their symptoms to live a whole and healthy life.
Doctors usually recommend a mixture of pharmacological and natural or medication-based treatments. Options include physical therapy, physical activity, and painkillers.
There is evidence that some natural remedies can benefit people suffering from OA. More studies are needed to verify the benefits of other treatments.
Here are some of the most commonly used natural remedies for OA.
Cold or heat therapy
Applying cold or hot on the affected joint may reduce swelling and pain common to OA.
The research study in 2021 that involved 117 patients suffering from OA in their knees found that cold and heat rub gels effectively reduced joint mobility and pain.
The Arthritis Foundation explains that applying heat to a painful joint causes blood vessels that line the joint to expand. This increases blood flow, and oxygen and nutrients flow into the inflamed tissues. This increases circulation and helps relax stiff joints and muscles.
The company also states that cold therapy can have adverse effects and reduce inflammation. This is why it could be a good alternative if someone suffers from an acute flare.
The person may try the heating therapy using:
- having a hot shower, with an average temperature of 92-100 degrees
- Using a warm, spongy compress, for example, an electric heating pad or a damp washcloth, which the person warmed in the microwave
- relaxing in a warm swimming bathtub or a pool for about 20 minutes
The patient can test to treat cold using:
- Wrapping the frozen bag of vegetables in a towel and then using it to create an ice compress
- purchasing a reusable ice pack or gel pack
- Place a towel into the freezer for fifteen minutes and apply it to the inflamed area.
- Using the use of a chilled rub
Physical therapy can assist a person in moving comfortably and efficiently. Therapists can tailor their therapy plans to each person’s needs and preferences, but typically, they contain stretches and specific exercises.
Physical therapy could provide people with OA the benefits as follows:
- Aiding in maintaining flexibility and mobility.
- Strengthening the muscles to strengthen the muscles to help
- enhance the strength of the muscles that surround the joint by strengthening the muscles surrounding it.
- keeping fit
- aiding a person to perform their day-to-day activities
Discover ten exercises for knee arthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation suggests that devices with support can safeguard joints and aid people in performing their daily tasks. An orthopedist or occupational therapist can help a person fit braces or splints to aid in aligning and supporting the joints.
Walkers and canes can lessen the body’s burden on injured joints when walking. This makes it much easier for those with severe OA to walk around.
Supportive devices include:
- wrist straps and gloves
Changes in lifestyle
Doctors typically recommend that those suffering from OA adhere to confident lifestyle choices like eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising, and sleeping. The control of cholesterol levels and maintaining blood pressure within a healthy range can help reduce OA symptoms. It could aid in stopping smoking cigarettes.
Individuals suffering from OA can benefit from achieving or maintaining a moderate weight index (BMI), as the excess weight of their bodies can cause more pressure on damaged joints.
The authors of a 2017 review published in the Journal of Rheumatology highlight that certain foods can help alleviate the inflammation caused by OA symptoms. Foods that can help are oily fish like mackerel, sardines, salmon, walnuts, and avocados, which are rich in omega-3 fats. Researchers recommend eating several portions each week and taking daily fish oil supplements.
Based on the Arthritis Foundation, the evidence of supplements’ ability to aid in treating OA symptoms must be clarified. One should consult an expert before taking supplements as they may interfere with prescribed medication.
The most popular Supplements that support OA include:
- Fish oil from the fish
- Chondroitin and glucosamine
- Vitamin D
- methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
- S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
- Boswellia serrata
- avocado/soybean unsaponifiable (ASUs)
- willow bark
- Unnatured Type II Collagen (UC-II)
Find out about the top eight supplements for arthritis.
Mind-body techniques, like yoga, tai chi, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), might assist some people in managing those OA symptoms.
In 2019’s Trusted Source, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), as well as the Arthritis Foundation, reviewed the available evidence regarding different OA treatment options. Based on this data, they:
- It is highly recommended to try Tai Chi for those suffering from hip or knee OA since it can help increase their balance and strength
- We can only recommend yoga to people with knee osteoarthritis
- We recommend CBT only in certain circumstances for those who have hip, knee, or hand CBT is recommended only for those with OA
Acupuncture is one of the components that is part of the ancient Chinese medicine. It involves a licensed practitioner inserting needles of a fine diameter in the body’s skin in certain places to help balance the body’s energy flow or life force. In recent times, many users have proposed that Acupuncture could assist in relieving pain from OA.
A review in 2019 published by the Trusted Source reviewed the evidence supporting the use of Acupuncture to help treat knee OA. Acupuncture could be effective in pain relief and improving knee performance. However, they emphasize the need for further studies to verify its benefits.
Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS)
TENS utilizes low-voltage electric currents to treat pain.
According to the ACR and Arthritis Foundation guidelines, Sources strongly suggest that those suffering from hip or knee OA do not utilize TENS. The reason for this is that research studies regarding using TENS for OA are not high-quality, and there needs to be evidence that suggests that TENS are beneficial to patients with OA.