Osteoarthritis, is a common chronic joint disorder, that can start to appear in middle age. By the time most people are around 70 they will have shown symptoms of this condition. It causes the cartilage found between the bone joints to wear away, resulting in stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis can also cause called bone spurs to grow around the joints.
Although this condition is generally considered to be related to the aging process, much of the time the actual cause is unknown and many factors including metabolic, genetic, chemical and mechanical factors, can play a role in its development. Over time the cartilage of the affected joint becomes rough and degenerates and as it disappears one ends up with bone rubbing on bone. Bony spurs can also develop around the joint.
While on occasion there may be no symptoms at all, generally symptoms include: a gradual and subtle onset of deep aching joint pain which might worsen after exercise and improve after rest; joint swelling; limited movement; morning stiffness; grating of the joint with motion and joint pain in rainy weather.
Diagnosis can be made after a physical exam shows the limited range of motion, joint swelling, tenderness and grating of a joint in motion. An x-ray will show the actual loss of joint space and any wearing down of the ends of the bones or possible bone spurs.
The general goal of traditional treatment is to relieve pain; increase the strength of the joint; improve joint mobility and minimize any disabling effects. The specific treatment depends on which joints are involved. Treatment protocols can include medication such anti-inflammatory pain killers such as aspirin and ibuprofen; supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate; lifestyle changes like an exercise program; good nutrition; weight control; and more mechanical solutions like physical therapy, braces and surgery. Weight loss can reduce the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis in overweight women.
In the early stages massage can help to decrease pain and muscle spasm, as well as help to maintain the range of motion of the affected joint while promoting blood circulation. When there is inflammation manual lymph drainage can be helpful. Compresses can also be very helpful for the joint and muscle pain of osteoarthritis. and a castor oil compress is often recommended.
Analgesic oils to consider would include: angelica, aniseed, black pepper, cajuput, chamomile, cinnamon, citronella, clove, coriander, eucalyptus, elemi, fennel, fir, frankincense, geranium, ginger, helichrysum, juniper, laurel, lavender, lemongrass, marjoram, niaouli, nutmeg, peppermint, ravintsara, rosemary, thyme, yarrow.
Anti-inflammatory oils to consider would include: aniseed, cardamon, chamomile, citronella, clary sage, coriander, eucalyptus, fennel, frankincense, geranium, ginger, helichrysum, hyssop, lemongrass, marjoram, niaouli, orange, patchouli, peppermint,
rosemary, sage, sandalwood, yarrow.
The best method of application will depend on the individual, their symptoms and lifestyle but could include: massage, baths, local application of creams, gels, or oils. Hot and cold compresses can also bring some relief.
An Osteoarthritis Synergy : Black Pepper 1 part; Lavender 3 parts; Rosemary 2 parts.Return to Article Archives