Osteoarthritis: managing the pain

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Managing osteoarthritis symptoms involves a multifaceted approach. Long-term aims should include preserving or improving joint function and limiting joint deformity. Treatments for this may include weight management, physical activity, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). When it comes to pain management the traditional approach typically begins with the use of analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and later may involve corticosteroids. These are far from ideal treatments and not without their side effects. Fortunately, there are a number of plant derived preparations that are demonstrating significant pain reducing benefits. Studies show that these can be used long term to manage chronic pain without side effects and are comparable to pharmaceutical agents.

In this infographic we explore herbal medicines that have been traditionally used to manage chronic pain - turmeric, boswellia, white willow bark, ginger and jamaican dogwood. The modes of action of each of these herbs are broad and varied and can be usefully combined as a way of addressing the multiple pain and inflammatory pathways involved in osteoarthritis and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

REFERENCES

  1. Osteoarthritis 2014. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015. Viewed 20 April 2015. http://www.aihw.gov.au/osteoarthritis/
     
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  3. Time to move: osteoarthritis. A national health strategy to reduce a costly burden. Arthritis Australia 2014, Viewed 20 April 2015. http://www.arthritisaustralia.com.au/images/stories/documents/Time%20to%...
     
  4. Neogi T. The epidemiology and impact of pain in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2013. Viewed 20 April 2015. http://www.cbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23973124
     
  5. Osteoarthritis. Mayo Clinic 2014. Viewed 20 April 2015. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/basics/defi...
     
  6. Osteoarthritis: pathophysiology. Johns Hopkins Arthrits Center 2012. Viewed 20 April 2015. http://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/arthritis-info/osteoarthritis/oa-pathoph...
     
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  8. Attur M, Al-Mussawir H, Patel J, et al. Prostaglandin E2 exerts catabolic effects in osteoarthritis cartilage: evidence for signaling via the EP4 receptor. J Immunol 2008;181:5082-5088. [Full text]
     
  9. Glyn-Jones S, Palmer AR, Agrocola R, et al. Osteoarthritis. Lancet 2015. Viewed 10 April 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60802-3/
     
  10. Braun L, Cohen M, Herbs and natural supplements: an evidence-based guide, Vol 2, 4th ed. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2015.

 

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melissalee's picture
Melissa Lee
Melissa is a designer turned nutritionist, who for the past 6 years has been combining the two modalities to create purposeful designs for various health publications and websites. Having initially studied Multimedia Systems Design, she then went on to complete a BHSc in Nutritional Medicine which led to her involvement in the integrative medicine industry and eventually to FX Medicine.