Dr. Taz MD’s Weekly Q&A, December 2nd, 2013

Q: You spoke of treatment for Osteoarthritis, is there a cure or way to reverse it?

A: Osteoarthritis, an inflammatory joint disease, is a common condition often affecting adults over the age of 50.  I see many patients with osteoarthritis that have exhausted the typical medication options and are looking for other alternatives to manage joint pain and improve mobility.

While there is not a cure for osteoarthritis, I have seen many of my patients reverse progression of this disease.  Managing osteoarthritis is a delicate game of reversing inflammation and weight gain.  As these issues are resolved, the pain of osteoarthritis often dissipates.

Try beating your osteoarthritis by beginning a movement regimen that you can do.  Walking and running may be difficult for patients with osteoarthritis due to the impact on weight bearing joints, while swimming or yoga may be better fits.  Stretching and gentle exercises like tai chi or qi gong are also helpful.

There are supplements that target osteoporosis by reversing inflammation.  Turmeric, derived from curcumin, is a potent anti-inflammatory.  I typically recommend 2-3 grams per day for patients with osteoarthritis.  Boswellia is another anti-inflammatory frequently used.  Try taking 500 mg 1-2x per day for maximum benefit.  Finally, omega 3 fats decrease inflammation. Including 2-3 grams of fish oil daily can help.  Some studies show that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate aid osteoarthritis treatment by providing joint lubrication.

Progressive weight gain only worsens the symptoms of osteoarthritis.  An anti-inflammatory diet combined with calorie control is key in preventing progressive weight gain and minimizing the pain of osteoarthritis.

Finally, acupuncture can be helpful for managing the pain of osteoarthritis and decreasing joint inflammation.  Reversing osteoarthritis is possible but targeting inflammation and weight gain, rather than just pain are the keys to long-term prevention of this disease.