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How Do I Know if I Have Osteoarthritis? Causes, Symptoms, and the Best Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis

Updated on October 15, 2019
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I love health and passionately believe we should do more to look after our health. Natural remedies can be as effective as conventional ones

What is osteoarthritis? Causes, Symptoms, and Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis
What is osteoarthritis? Causes, Symptoms, and Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis | Source

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory degenerative disease which develops as a result of wear and tear of our joints. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage which exists in a joint and helps the bones to move smoothly becomes damaged or inflamed causing pain and stiffness.

The pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis normally get worse during cold and damp weather or during and after physical activity. This is the most common osteoarthritis definition, but doctors know osteoarthritis symptoms can vary from person to person. A clinical osteoarthritis diagnosis should always be made by an expert in the disease.

A Common Cause of Osteoarthritis

You are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis when you have been a manual worker for most of your life. But, there are other factors which come into play. For instance, if you are overweight or obese, you are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Staying a healthy weight is important when trying to prevent osteoarthritis.

Our joints are only meant to carry a certain amount of weight, and when that weight limit is exceeded, the end result is tissue damage. The cartilage in the joints wears away, and can't be replaced. As a result, bone starts to rub against bone, and the person will develop osteoarthritis.

Weight management and osteoarthritis
Weight management and osteoarthritis | Source

How to Avoid Developing Osteoarthritis

However, you don't have to be overweight to develop osteoarthritis. Many sportsmen and women will also go on to develop the condition. Once again, this is down to wear and tear, and if you are into sport and exercise, it could be a good idea to evaluate what kind of exercises you are doing on a regular basis. Low impact exercises are better if you would like to try to avoid osteoarthritis.

People that have done a lot of manual work throughout their lives are more likely to develop this type of arthritis, and any joint can be affected but the joints in hips and knees are more likely to be affected.

How do I get an osteoarthritis diagnosis?
How do I get an osteoarthritis diagnosis? | Source

How Do I Get an Osteoarthritis Diagnosis?

Are you suffering from knee or hip pain? Although your knee pain may not be osteoarthritis, it is a good idea to get it checked out. If the condition is diagnosed early on, it is much more likely to respond to less invasive treatment methods. Leaving osteoarthritis untreated can mean future joint replacement surgery such as knee and hip replacement.

There is no specific blood test to make an osteoarthritis diagnosis, fluid analysis of the fluid in the affected joint, can rule out rheumatoid arthritis. There are over 200 different forms of arthritis, and they include other arthritic health conditions such as gout and Lupus.

How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed By a Doctor?

Your doctor may order a MRI scan. A scan can show what is going on with the bone and soft tissue in the joint. It is not common to do this, but if your case is more complexed, a doctor may want to make himself aware of what is going on in the joint. For instance, in osteoarthritis of the knee, it is not so uncommon for the top knee joint to start to drop below the lower knee joint. This would always require a knee replacement.

X-rays are another way to find out more what is going on in the knee. Cartilage does not show up on x-rays, but if the gap between the bones of the joint is very narrow, a specialist often arrives at the conclusion that the cartilage may have been worn away.

The best ways to diagnose osteoarthritis is still by physical examination. The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis are swelling, redness and stiffness. Almost all suffers have limited mobility of the affected joint, and the joint may even be “noisy” making a clicking or grinding noise when manipulated.

Knee pain is a common symptom of arthritis
Knee pain is a common symptom of arthritis | Source

Osteoarthritis Signs and Symptoms

What are the most common symptoms and signs of osteoarthritis? Unlike other forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis may not have a sudden onset. You are not likely to wake up one morning and find your knee or hip joint swollen and red. This is why it is important to pay attention to how your body feels if you think you are at risk for osteoarthritis, it is vital to be aware of early signs of the condition.

Pain – Does your joint hurt after or during movement? If it does, don't delay treatment and visit your doctor as soon as possible. It may not be osteoarthritis, and the pain can relate to another condition such as tendonitis.

Tenderness – If you find your joint hurts when you apply light pressure to it, you should get it checked out. This is one of the primary symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Grating or Grinding Sensation – Does your joint make a “noise” when you use or try to flex it?

Flexibility – You may find you can't move your joint as much as you used to do.

Stiffness of the joint – Are you having a hard time to get going in the morning, or do your joints feel stiff after sitting down?

When should you see a doctor? Should you be suffering from joint pain, or any of the other symptoms of osteoarthritis for more than a few days, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Choosing the right footwear is important when it comes to preventing osteoarthritis
Choosing the right footwear is important when it comes to preventing osteoarthritis | Source

How to Prevent Osteoarthritis: Natural Osteoarthritis Prevention

You may not be able to prevent developing osteoarthritis completely. After all, we use our joints all of the time, and even the most careful person can develop any kind of arthritis. However, there are some precautions you can take to make it less likely that you will develop osteoarthritis.

Manual work – You are much more likely to suffer osteoarthritis when you have done a lot of manual work. Make sure you lift and manipulate heavy objects carefully, and get some training on how to lift professionally and safely. Yes, heavy lifting can cause back problems, but it is just as likely to cause osteoarthritis.

Exercise – What kind of exercise do you do? The 1990's were the boom time for exercises formats such as step aerobics. Many participants in step aerobic classes have since gone on to develop osteoarthritis. Low impact exercise such as walking, swimming, and cycling are better for you when it comes to lowering the risk of developing any kind of wear and tear on a joint.

Food – Does diet matter? Eating a diet low in acidic fruits could help. You may want to ditch the orange juice and cut down on sugar. Anything which raises the body's inflammatory response can contribute to osteoarthritis developing.

Footwear – High heels may look great, but they don't really do anything for any of joints in your legs. As a matter of fact, prolonged and frequent wear of high heels can contribute to osteoarthritis developing in the knee, hip, and ankle joints. Try to cut down on wearing heels, and go for a pair of flats well-cushioned shoes instead.

Many osteoarthritis sufferers are forced to have knee replacements.
Many osteoarthritis sufferers are forced to have knee replacements. | Source

Is There Any Cure for Osteoarthritis?

Unless you remove the affected joint completely, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Natural remedies are often as effective as conventional treatments, but in extreme cases, you will have to use conventional treatments.

Conventional Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Medicines – Anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs) are effective but can cause other health problems such as liver damage when you use them on a long-term basis. If you have a mild form of osteoarthritis, you may get away with a very low dose. However, it is still likely that your doctor would like you to take a medication to counteract the side effects.

Surgery – Joint replacement surgery ( arthroplasty ) is not so uncommon but very risky. Your surgeon will replace damaged joint surfaces, but the trade-off is a risk of infections and blood clots. The recovery time is long and will involve physiotherapy, and the use of blood thinners to avoid blood clots.

Cortisone injections and Hyaluronic Acid – They will not cure but can help to reduce ongoing inflammation and reduce it. You will have to commit to a program of injections, and it will always involve a treatment plan which will go on for many years.

Realignment surgery – This is less extreme than a complete replacement, and means the doctor may replace a bit of bone or remove part of a bone.

Therapies – Physical therapy can certainly help, but it is important that you are an active participant. Gentle exercise is often part of any physical therapy, and you will be expected to follow up with regular visits and exercises at home.

What is the Best Remedy for Osteoarthritis? Natural remedies for Osteoarthritis that Work.

Natural remedies for osteoarthritis knee pain include changing your diet. Some foods are more likely to cause increased inflammation when you suffer osteoarthritis of the knee. For instance, all fruits rich in purines can increase inflammation which will increase pain at the same time.

Are you suffering from osteoarthritis in the hands? This is now more and more common as we spend more time using keyboards. Other conditions affecting the hands are also becoming more common, but our hands and wrists have 41 joints which can be affected.

Natural remedies for osteoarthritis in the hands include doing exercises that can help to prevent and treat the condition.

Hip pain is very common, and one of the best natural remedies for osteoarthritis of the hip include easy exercises such as yoga and tai chi. It is important not to allow this major joint to stiffen up, and both yoga and tai chi can help a great deal.

Other osteoarthritis natural treatments include eating oily fish, keeping warm, and trying to avoid further damage.

The right diet can help to reduce inflammation
The right diet can help to reduce inflammation | Source

What Foods Should You Avoid if You Have Osteoarthritis? What Not to Eat When You Have Osteoarthritis.

Someone suffering from osteoarthritis should take a look at their diet. It is important to cut down on salt, processed foods, saturated fats, and sugar. Going back to basics is a really good idea and introducing less acidic foods is important as well.

Fruits like oranges are acidic and the acid from oranges can cause further inflammation of the joints. Other osteoarthritis diet foods to avoid include pork, and red meats. It is not the meat itself which is the problem. Additives in foods can cause increased inflammation, and even upset our endocrine system. Hormones do in fact help to protect us from inflammation.

Eat more wholegrain foods when you suffer from osteoarthritis
Eat more wholegrain foods when you suffer from osteoarthritis | Source

Foods to Eat When You Have Osteoarthritis

Eating fresh fruit and vegetables is vital to boost the body's immune system but with osteoarthritis, and other forms of arthritis, it is important to be selective. Pineapples contain bromelain which is good but they are very acid. It would be better to take a bromelain supplement.

Beetroot is another excellent vegetable which should be included in your daily diet if you have osteoarthritis. It is packed with vitamin C and iron both which help to cleanse the body and reduce inflammation. If you don't like beetroot try using beetroot leaves in salads, or making your own beetroot sprouts. Two tablespoons of beetroot sprouts per day are the same as eating four actual beets.

Avocado is another must eat vegetable. The oil in avocado is great for lubrication and avocados are not acidic.All dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and spinach should be included in your diet.

Wholegrain and Natural Foods for Osteoarthritis

Look out for wholegrain foods and seeds. When choosing a bread try to make sure you pick a bread which has a high whole grain content, and you may want to look out for bread containing flaxseed or pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds and flax seeds contain lignans which are super strong antioxidants and can be a great help for the body.

Grain-based foods such as oatmeal and muesli can make a great start to the day. If you make your own muesli or use a store bought variety, consider adding flax seeds to your muesli.

Wholegrain foods are also full of vitamin B which is vital for the nervous system, and a diet rich in B vitamin foods can help to reduce pain as well give the body more energy to heal itself.

Nuts and Osteoarthritis

When you have osteoarthritis you should go nuts about nuts. Not only do nuts contain healthy nut oils but they are packed with vitamin E which helps to support vitamin C against inflammation.

One of the best nuts to eat is the humble walnut along with Brazil nuts as they both contain selenium. Selenium helps to control swelling and stiffness. It is a trace element in our diet but when you suffer inflammatory disease your body needs more selenium.

Unsalted peanuts and peanut butter are also good as it is not acidic and contains some really good helpful minerals.

Omega 3 essential fatty acids can help to treat ostearthritis
Omega 3 essential fatty acids can help to treat ostearthritis | Source

Fish and Meat

Removing non-organic red meat from your diet is another important point. The body needs to produce more acidic when digesting non-organic meat and this is eventually released into the bloodstream. Good alternatives are chicken and other poultry meats such as turkey.

Best of all is cold water oily fish such as mackerel, tuna, herring, trout, and salmon. All cold water fish is full of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. They are the first line of defense against inflammatory disease, and will reduce inflammation rapidly.

It is recommended you try to eat oily fish two to three times per week if you have osteoarthritis.If you do not like fish the alternative would be to take a fish oil supplement on a daily basis.

Walking is a great exercise for osteoarthritis
Walking is a great exercise for osteoarthritis | Source

Best Exercise for Osteoarthritis Exercise Treatment and Prevention

Until recently most osteoarthritis patients were told to take it easy with exercise.
This is partly true and any type of impact exercise is not recommended however doctors now realize it is important to keep joints flexible and moving freely.

Walking - Regular exercise can help to reduce joint pain and swelling, and going for walks also helps to increase vital vitamin D for bone health. Wear shoes that fit well and there are some really great walking, hiking shoes on the market which gives your ankles extra support.

Stretching exercises are great as well as they support the tendons and muscles which help your joints.

Tai-chi is very gentle, yoga is good as well but almost everyone that I have spoken to find they get more help from pilates. Pilates is a strengthening exercise and it also works on the joints increasing joint mobility and ads flexibility.

Give any new exercise 4 - 8 weeks to work and you should start noticing a difference in your flexibility, mobility, and overall better health. If you start to experience pain, you may be doing too much and you need to pull back until you find a comfortable level which to work at. It is important to find an exercise routine which is sustainable and you are not going to walk away from because you are experiencing pain or discomfort.

Health Benefits of Walking

Scientists are finding out more and more about the health benefits of walking.

Fast cardiovascular walking is a great exercise for the heart, but if you suffer joint pain, it may not be that great for you.

Researchers recently asked a test group of 66 people to go for slower walks, but at the same time pay attention to the sights and sound of nature. 54 out of the 66 walkers suffered joints problems and early signs of osteoarthritis.

At the end of 4 weeks, doctors checked up on the group of walkers and discovered something amazing. All participants blood pressure had dropped, and there was a significant increase in memory recall. The walkers who suffered joint problems benefited the most. They were now experiencing less pain, and blood tests showed that they had less inflammatory indicators in their blood.

What You Need to Know About Vitamins and Supplements Osteoarthritis

Beneficial Microminerals
Vitamins for Osteoarthritis
Healing Herbs
Fruits to Avoid
Vitamin D
Vitamin B
Omega 3 Oil
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Cat's Claw
White Grapes
Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid

What vitamins, healing herbs, micromineral, and food supplements can make your osteoarthritis better? Five fruits you should avoid you should avoid when you have osteoarthritis. Vitamin B and C are both water-soluble vitamins which mean we need to ma

What supplements should I take for osteoarthritis?
What supplements should I take for osteoarthritis? | Source

Supplements for Osteoarthritis

Supplements do have a positive effect when it comes to treating and finding a remedy for osteoarthritis. That does not mean you need to rush out and spend a small fortune on purchasing supplements.

The best supplements for osteoarthritis include Omega 3 essential fatty acids, bromelain, and turmeric supplements. These are the top three doctors would normally recommend when treating osteoarthritis, but there are also other supplements which can be helpful.

Natural remedies do work well when you want to treat or relieve the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. But, at the same time, it is important to remember to get a diagnose as soon as possible. The sooner you start treatment, the less likely you are to have to resort to more extreme forms such as knee, hip and other joints replacements.

© 2018 Annie Messeri


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