Updated: Sep 2
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a natural/biological and/or mechanical process that causes degeneration of a joint and cartilage. Unfortunately the body cannot lay down new joint surface quickly enough to cover the loss; therefore the degeneration aspect of this pathology is inevitable, as we age.
However because there is also a mechanical component to osteoarthritis it isn’t totally out of our control. General wear and tear takes place over time, be it sports related or general day-to-day living. This can cause a thinning, breaking and micro fracturing of the joint surfaces causing irritation, inflammation and pain.
In more chronic cases and often when mechanical insufficiency has not been corrected or improved, bone spurs build.
Things you can do NOW:
Fix mechanical issues.
Chances are you are most probably compensating some where in your body for the pain in another joint. This will most likely be subconscious and therefore you will be unaware of any gait (walking pattern) abnormality.
For example, a painful knee might cause rotation of the pelvis, torsion on the lower back and/or hip dysfunction.
Physical therapy and especially clinical Pilates are great ways to both diagnose and correct a muscular imbalance, as it’s a non-weight bearing exercise that strives to correct mal alignment and strengthening throughout the body. Correcting these imbalances could prevent further joint damage and degeneration.
Another great form of non-weight bearing cardiovascular exercise is swimming or hydrotherapy, as long as it doesn’t aggravate the situation.
Fix the biological aspect.
Whilst there is no scientific evidence that Glucosamine chondroitin supplements work, there is more than sufficient anecdotal evidence. This supplement along with a good fish oil supplement (most are deficient) can aide the lubrication of the joints and decrease pain.
This supplement can take up to 6-8 weeks to build in the system and for you to notice a difference. This works for some and not others.
Most recently the use of turmeric supplements, mainly the active phytonutrient, curcumin has been found to be better than a placebo at reducing knee pain in arthritic patients. This was found at a level of 1000mg per day, therefore supplementation will likely be needed in order to consume a beneficial amount.
Consuming Turmeric (suplements or otherwise) along with dietary fats and black pepper has been found to increase absorption.
As you can see this is a developing subject so keep your eyes peeled and ears open!