How would you assess a patient with Osteoarthritis?
There are several assessments we can complete for a patient with Osteoarthritis treatment. Look for signs such as:
- Localised joint pain (often described as a deep ache)
- Morning stiffness or stiffness after inactivity for more than 15 minutes
- Soft tissue swelling
- Bony crepitus (crackling and popping sounds)
- Limited range of motion
- Bony hypertrophy causing gross deformities
Common Causes of Osteoarthritis:
- Poor diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Past injury/accident
- Bowel Toxicity
- Insulin resistance
- Increasing age
- Genetic predisposition
- History of inflammatory disease
- Congenital bone and joint disorders
How can Naturopathy help a patient suffering from Osteoarthritis?
- Reduce the pain
- Weight loss program, if necessary, to take the load off the joints
- Repair the cartilage that’s wearing down and reverse some of those arthritic changes
- Eliminate inflammatory food by eating whole foods
- Test and eliminate allergens/ intolerances
- Reduce exposure to toxic load and consider detoxification
- Consider the integrity of the gut and digestive health
Case Study One
A 40-year-old woman who was in a horrific car accident 20 years ago who presented with constant pain and infection in her hip due to the injuries sustained in the accident. She also suffers from depression due to the trauma associated with the accident. She presented with the main concern being her low energy and inability to lose weight due to her hip pain and also wanting to stop further infections.
We did a full screening which concluded she was carrying 15kg over her ideal weight. Her diet was poor due to her lack of motivation and she didn’t exercise, apart from looking after her children and general housework.
Osteoarthritis Treatment – We put her on an anti-inflammatory diet and worked on getting her energy up whilst supporting her immune system with herbal medicine to stop the recurrent infection.
Her mood was improving and she felt positive about the treatment, but her focus turned to “why aren’t I losing weight as I am eating so well?”.
So, we placed her on an anti-inflammatory weight loss program and addressed not only the immune system but also increased the anti-inflammatory herbs in her herbal medicine formula to assist with getting the body more alkaline, less inflammation and promoting healthy weight loss.
Feeling good about herself and having lost 6kg, she began to exercise more as her energy and motivation increased. The infection was no longer present, although she went to the hospital with severe pain, feeling like it must be another infection. The Doctor assured her the area had no infection and it was just the osteoarthritis flaring up. We encouraged her to do water-based exercise and started more rigorous treatment to bring down the inflammation and pain. We placed her on a combination of nutrients including a therapeutic dose of glucosamine to provide long term protection against joint degeneration and natural anti-inflammatory formula which is gentle on the gastrointestinal tract and provides a safe long-term alternative to NSAIDs.
Inflammation and pain have reduced and steady weight loss is occurring.
Osteoarthritis Treatment is to be continued and regular appointments are scheduled to check her weight on the Bioimpedance analysis, her inflammation through our in-house screening tools and check her general wellbeing and offer to counsel should it be necessary to help her stay motivated and positive.
Case Study Two
Lady in her late 60’s presenting with osteoarthritis in her hands. Wanting treatment for the pain she gets in the morning which stops her from doing her cross-stitch. She also suffers from a “funny tummy”- IBS symptoms and has a history of breast cancer.
We did a full health screen including a Food Intolerance Test. From this we found she was quite sensitive to several foods, her digestion was presenting with dysbiosis – leaky gut, which would be contributing to the IBS symptoms. And she was deficient in several nutrients.
Osteoarthritis Treatment -Work on her digestion. I used a nutrient blend to manage the impact of gut micro-organisms and reduce the inflammation of the intestinal mucosa to protect and heal the digestive tract. The diet was based around avoiding the foods that she is intolerant to and decreasing inflammatory substances such as her nightly wine.
Outcome – this had a great effect not only on her digestion but the inflammation through her body in particular her hands. The swelling and stiffness had reduced dramatically.
Continue to address the digestion with healing nutrients and focus on diminishing the IBS symptoms and add some combination nutrients that assist with the inflammation and pain and will also provide long term protection against joint degeneration. Supplementation of deficient nutrients was also a part of the protocol.
Reduce digestive nutrients as the IBS symptoms have been regulated with the diet and nutrients, use a daily specific probiotic to help maintain the good gut flora.
Continue on treatment on the combination nutrients that reduce the inflammation, pain and help protect the joints against degeneration.
Osteoarthritis Treatment continues to be monitored taking into consideration her symptoms. Performing in house tests such as a urinary indican test to look at gut dysbiosis and our in-house screening tools to assess inflammation, oxidative stress, nutrient deficiencies and also doing routine pathology testing.