Osteoarthritis (OA) also known as degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis in America. Presently over 43 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is characterized by joint degeneration and loss of cartilage resulting in joint stiffness, pain, swelling, and loss of joint function. Generally, the hands and weight-bearing joints, such as knees, hip, and spine are affected by osteoarthritis. If severe, osteoarthritis can be very debilitating, interfering with work, activity, and psychological health.
The naturopathic approach to treating osteoarthritis emphasizes maintaining healthy body weight and eating a nutritional diet. Research has shown the benefits of glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) for enhancing collagen synthesis and repairing joints. Anti-inflammatory and tissue healing herbs are also recommended for decreasing pain, increasing joint mobility, and healing joint tissue. Acupuncture has also shown to produce positive results for treating osteoarthritis, providing significant pain relief and improving joint function.