Diet and Osteoarthritis

Suffering from osteoarthritis? Don't blame your poor diet or expect to be cured by a "magical" food. Experts say the two aren't related.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no special diet for osteoarthritis. This degenerative joint disease is caused by the constant wear and tear of the joints brought about by aging, an injury to the joint lining or hormonal factors. This is common in people with overworked joints like athletes, dancers, and manual workers.

"Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your body, though it most commonly affects joints in your hands, hips, knees and spine. Osteoarthritis typically affects just one joint, though in some cases, such as with finger arthritis, several joints can be affected," according to the Mayo Clinic.

A balanced diet is required since obesity puts an extra burden on the joints and may increase the risk of osteoarthritis. There is no need to avoid legumes or purine-rich foods unl ess you are suffering from gout, the inflammation of the joints caused by uric-acid crystals.

"There is no cure for arthritis or any special diet that totally relieves the symptoms. There is hardly a food item that has not been promoted at one time or another as a cure for arthritis. Medical research has found only one form of arthritis (gout) for which symptoms are partially related to the type of food eaten. Diets based on raw foods, foods without chemical additives, and other supposedly 'natural' nutrition items are being hustled by the health-food industry. 'Natural' faddists overlook the fact that prehistoric man, who certainly ate no additives, also suffered from arthritis," explained Drs. Stephen Barrett and Victor Herbert in "Vitamins and 'Health' Foods: The Great American Hustle."

Hydrotherapy, the use of water to treat certain diseases, is also widely employed for arthritis. Although it makes sense to drink at least six glasses of wa ter a day to replace the amount lost by the body in the urine and sweat, you can relieve the pain of arthritis by taking medicated hot baths instead of simply drinking water.

"Both heat and cold can relieve pain in your joint. Heat also relieves stiffness and cold can relieve muscle spasms. Soothe your painful joint with heat using a heating pad, hot water bottle or warm bath. Heat should be warm, not hot. Apply heat for 20 minutes several times a day. Cool the pain in your joint with cold treatments, such as with ice packs. You can use cold treatments several times a day, but don't use cold treatments if you have poor circulation or numbness," explained the Mayo Clinic.

If the pain persists despite the above measures, your doctor may prescribe acetaminophen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Follow instructions carefully since these medications have a lot of side effects.

"NSAIDs have risks of side effects t hat increase when used at high dosages for long-term treatment. Side effects may include ringing in your ears, gastric ulcers, cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal bleeding, and liver and kidney damage. Consuming alcohol or taking corticosteroids while using NSAIDs also increases your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding," the Mayo Clinic warned.

One product that can help is Phosoplex. This natural supplement lubricates and soothes painful joints, and helps rebuild healthy cartilage so you can regain your active lifestyle. For details, check out