Prevention of Osteoarthritis

1. Maintain your ideal body weight. The more you weigh, the more stress you are putting on your joints, especially your hips, knees, back and feet.

2. Move your body. Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Strong muscles keep your joints from rubbing against one another, wearing down cartilage. We can help you get started on an exercise program that works for you.

3. Stand up straight. Good posture protects the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees.

4. Use the big joints. When lifting or carrying, use largest and strongest joints and muscles. This will help you avoid injury and strain on your smaller joints.

5. Pace yourself. Alternate periods of heavy activity with periods of rest. Repetitive stress on joints for long periods of time can accelerate the wear and tear that causes OA.

6. Listen to your body. If you are in pain, don’t ignore it. Pain after activity or exercise can be an indication that you have overstressed your joints.

7. Injury prevention. Protect your joints from serious injury or repeated minor injuries to decrease your risk of damaging cartilage. Repeated minor injuries include those from job-related activities such as frequent or constant kneeling, squatting, or other postures that place stress on the knee joint.

8. Forget the weekend warrior. Don’t engage in activities your body for which your body isn’t prepared. Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react to them. This will reduce the chance of injury.

9. Wear proper safety equipment. Don’t leave helmets and wrist pads at home. Make sure you get safety gear that is comfortable and fits appropriately.

10. Ask for help. Don’t try to do a job that is too big for you to handle. Get another pair of hands to help out.

Medications/Supplements

1) Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables

Four high-quality clinical trials suggest that avocado/soybean unsaponifiables, an extract made from avocado and soybean oils, can improve the pain and stiffness of knee and hip osteoarthritis and reduce the need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It appears to have decrease inflammation and stimulate cartilage repair.

In France, avocado/soybean unsaponifiables have been approved as a prescription drug. In other countries, it is available as a supplement in some health food stores or online.

2) Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

Glucosamine is a compound found naturally in the body, made from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is needed to produce glycosaminoglycan, a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues. Production of glucosamine slows with age. Although it’s still not clear exactly how glucosamine in pill-form works, it’s believed to allow more of cartilage building blocks to be made. Chondroitin sulfate appears to block cartilage-destroying enzymes and help joint cartilage remain elastic and supple.

Studies with glucosamine have found a reduction in the pain, stiffness, and swelling of arthritis. It is also thought to prevent structural damage to joints. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, participants took glucosamine or placebo for three years and were x-rayed each year to assess structural changes. Participants who took the placebo had progressive joint space narrowing, a sign of cartilage degeneration, but those who took glucosamine had no significant narrowing of joint spaces.

3) Acupuncture

The World Health Organization has identified more than 40 conditions that acupuncture can treat, including osteoarthritis. Acupuncture involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into acupoints in the body. Studies have found that acupuncture releases natural pain-relieving substances such as endorphins and serotonin.

4) Yoga

Yoga’s gentle movements can keep build strength, flexibility, and balance and reduce arthritis pain and stiffness.

5) Massage Therapy

Massage can help to relieve muscle tension associated with osteoarthritis. Joint pain can cause surrounding muscles to become tense. Massage boosts circulation to the affected joint, which decreases joint stiffness and promotes cartilage repair.

From:

http://www.arthritis.org/protect-your-joints.php, http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/tc/osteoarthritis-prevention, http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsek/a/Glucosamine.htm

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~ by pcl4 on September 9, 2008.

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