Many osteoarthritis sufferers have inflammation. This comes from the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joint being irritated and so becoming inflamed. It does not come from the actual degeneration itself.
However, this inflammation is a major source of pain and stiffness and this is why Doctors prescribe anti inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis.
However these anti inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis have many adverse side effects as I have discussed before so are there any natural alternatives?
We know that many foods contain compounds that have anti inflammatory effects on muscles.
Here are the top 5 foods you can add to your diet:
♦ Foods Rich in Omega 3 found in salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, trout, flaxseeds and walnuts.
♦ Extra virgin olive oil
♦ Spices such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon and turmeric
♦ Green tea
♦ Antioxidant rich foods such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, papaya, cantaloupe, apricots, cherries, plums and watermelon.
There have been a number of articles lately claiming tart cherries are better than anti inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis. I decided to check up the actual research in this and see how much was really true. It wasn’t quite as fantastic a result as I wanted!
There are only two good studies done that I could find into tart cherries and osteoarthritis. The reason I dismissed many of the studies is because they were done for acute inflammation from overuse or injury rather than chronic. These are different reactions by the body so must be investigated differently.
The first investigation I found was published in 2012 on Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice to Reduce Inflammation Biomarkers among Women with Inflammatory Osteoarthritis (OA). It reported
Subjects on the tart cherry juice showed a statistically significant reduction in the serum biomarker CRP (C-Reactive Protein which is a bio-marker for inflammation).
This looked promising to me so I dug a little deeper and found this study nattily called A randomized double-blind crossover study of the efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. It also reported a drop in the CRP levels suggesting less inflammation. You would think this would correlate to less pain and so improved function but interestingly they concluded
Tart cherry juice provided symptom relief for patients with mild to moderate knee OA, but this effect was not significantly greater than placebo. Tart cherry juice lowered hsCRP levels and this effect was associated with improved WOMAC scores. Walking time, acetaminophen use, plasma urate and creatinine were unaffected by treatments
For those who don’t spend their time reading medical journals WOMAC scores are an internationally recognised way of measuring pain levels but oddly the amount of pain medication was not reduced. Maybe the subjects were doing what so many do and simply using the maximum dose of pain killer because that what it says on the bottle! (Just for the record only use them when you need them as all medications have side effects and over time they will become less effective.)
Is It Worth Using Natural or Anti Inflammatory Drugs for Osteoarthritis ?
Yes absolutely, but I would always suggest you use a natural treatment over synthetic drugs so reduce the risk of side effects.
What this really shows is both natural and anti inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis are a bit of a waste of time when used as a stand alone treatment. You need to use multiple treatments and make sensible lifestyle changes to really get improvement in your symptoms. For more information on this please sign up for my free 3 day course where I outline all the treatments you can mix and match for the best pain relief.