Coping with Osteoarthritis

My aunt has always been the life of the party. I have rarely seen anyone with such joie de vivre as her. Growing up, all I could think about is wanting to be like her when I was an adult — full of positivity, energy and love for life. So, you can imagine how worried I got when on our yearly visit, my aunt seemed to have slowed down tremendously. Although she was 65, in my mind, she still was a young girl, looking to have fun.

On enquiring further, I discovered that she had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. This, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the most common form of arthritis, and occurs with aging, due to the wear and tear of cartilages along the joints. It could also be the results of a joint injury earlier in life. Those who are overweight tend to be at higher risk of this disorder. What it does is that it erodes the cartilage, such that the two bones in the joint begin to rub against each other. This occurs most commonly to weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hip and back. Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for this disorder. However, the good news is that there are some things you can do to minimize the pain.

Wanting to help my aunt get back to her usual cheerful self, I began reading up and learning all I could about osteoarthritis and what helps alleviate the pain. The first thing I discovered was that it is so common in the United States that according to research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 10% of men and 13% of women aged 60 years and older in America experienced symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Here’s what I learned could help.

Eat Right

The first thing that medical professional recommend is ensuring that your diet contains calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, certain fish (including salmon, whitebait and sardines), green leafy vegetables (the darker green, the better), almonds, soy milk, fortified tofu, etc. One can also include calcium supplements, although it is best to consult one’s doctor about the dosage. You also need to get enough Vitamin D, since this is what helps the body absorb the calcium. While sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D, you can also include foods that are rich in this nutrient, such as fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, yogurt, fortified milk and soy products.

In addition, Vitamin C is essential for the body to repair tissues, such as the cartilages in the joints. Therefore, citrus fruits, berries, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, leafy greens, sweet or regular potatoes, etc., should also be part of your daily diet. Research has also shown that Vitamin K is key to boosting bone density. So, make sure you also get enough of this nutrient from eggs, cheese, meat and leafy greens.

Exercise

The best way to ensure bone and joint health, apart from getting the right nutrients, is to exercise. This can be in the form of walking, running, jogging, swimming, dancing, cycling and even yoga. However, make sure to consult your doctor before implementing any exercise regimen. Weight-bearing exercises are considered the best for osteoarthritis. With this, also make sure to give up some bad habits, such as smoking, while also limiting alcohol intake.

Medication

While perimenopausal women might be recommended hormone therapy, there are times when the doctor might recommend certain medication to prevent hip and spine fractures. Mostly, painkillers might also be prescribed. However, I was not very comfortable with my aunt getting hooked on to painkiller just to keep going. So, on further research, I came across BlueSpring. This company manufactures a range of all natural products for various wellness needs, including pain relief. What worked best for my aunt was their Super Blue Stuff, a topical application that works within minutes and is formulated using 23 natural ingredients, making it completely safe. It also contains glucosamine, which is recommended for people with arthritis.

My aunt has been following a new diet and exercise routine, while using Super Blue Stuff for pain relief for almost five months now. I am happy to say, she is almost back to her old self already.