Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease. Treatment relies on a combination of conventional medicine and lifestyle changes. Medications can treat pain, but there can be side effects when you take these long-term. Home remedies, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies can help manage OA pain with fewer side effects. Certain methods may even prevent OA from getting worse.
Please remember that OA can not be cured but can be improved
Natural remedies are increasing in popularity for conditions like OA. Some people believe they may be safer since they have fewer side effects compared with traditional medications.
Talk to your doctor about the following natural remedies. “Natural” herbal supplements can carry side effects and interact with medicines you might take. Always be sure to buy supplements from a reputable source.
1. Green tea: Anti-inflammatory beverage
Green tea contains polyphenols. These compounds may help reduce inflammation and the need for medications. One study in Arthritis Research and TherapyTrusted Source reported green tea increased cartilage protection.
Due to the risk of liver problems and side effects from concentrated amounts, green tea is best taken in moderation.
2. Ginger: Pain reducers
Oral ginger is also noted for reducing pain from OA. According to a 2015 study in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, ginger taken long-term may even decrease the risk for OA-related disability. Due to the risk of side effects, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthTrusted Source recommends using ginger moderately as a spice instead of supplement forms.
The biggest risk to ginger overdose is the withdrawal symptoms. Ginger can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, and heartburn. It may also interact with prescription medications, like Warfarin, because it’s an anticoagulant (blood thinner).
3. Turmeric (curcumin): Treats inflammation, pain, and stiffness
Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. It’s is part of the ginger family, but may help OA in different ways. StudiesTrusted Source show that the substance may fight inflammatory compounds. It may also help reduce pain and stiffness during an OA flare-up.
For the treatment of arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation recommends the following dosage options:
- capsules: 400 to 600 milligrams up to three times per day
- powdered root extract: 0.5 to 1 gram, three times per day
If taking turmeric, you may need to add black pepper to activate the herb’s benefits. While turmeric is generally safe it can cause nausea and may interact with blood thinners.
4. Oily fish
Oily fish contain lots of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory properties so they may benefit people with osteoarthritis.
People with osteoarthritis should aim to eat at least one portion of oily fish per week. Oily fish include:
- fresh tuna
Those who prefer not to eat fish can take supplements that contain omega-3 instead, such as fish oil, krill oil, or flaxseed oil.
Other sources of omega-3 include chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts. These foods can also help to fight inflammation.
In addition to oily fish, some other oils can reduce inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil contains high levels of oleocanthal, which may have similar properties to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
Avocado and safflower oils are healthful options and may also help to lower cholesterol.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients increase bone strength, which may improve painful symptoms.
Dairy also contains proteins that can help to build muscle. People who are aiming to manage their weight can choose low-fat options.
7. Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens are rich in Vitamin D and stress-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and can also boost the immune system, helping the body to fight off infection.
Dark leafy greens include:
- collard greens
Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane, which researchers believe could slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
This vegetable is also rich in vitamins K and C, as well as bone-strengthening calcium.
Scientists believe that a compound called diallyl disulfide that occurs in garlic may work against the enzymes in the body that damage cartilage.
10. Vitamin C
Antioxidants in vitamin C may slow the progression of OA, research finds. A 2011 study from the University of South Florida reported that people who took vitamin C supplements were 11 percent less likely to develop knee OA than those who didn’t take the supplements. You can get vitamin C from strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, or cantaloupe. However, Frechman warns against taking supplements with much higher doses than 65 to 85 milligrams, because in large doses vitamin C can increase the risk of kidney stones.