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Natural therapies for osteoarthritis.

Should your doctor prescribe natural therapies to avoid joint pain?

Knee osteoarthritis remains a common degenerative condition among the adult and aging population for which effective treatment strategies are needed.

As mild to moderate osteoarthritis becomes more and more prevalent in adults, the search for alternative treatments is of great interest. Currently, osteoarthritis is treated with analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but these treatments response may be inconsistent or of short-duration and have been associated with gastrointestinal, renal, and cardiovascular side effects, especially if used for an extended period of time. This has given rise the interest in oral herbal medications which may prove effective, though randomized controlled trials which have investigated the efficacy of such substances are limited.
(for their anti-inflammatory, anti-catabolic, and antioxidant properties):

In the management of knee osteoarthritis, 6 weeks of topical flaxseed oil administration was associated with a significantly greater improvement in patient-reported pain and function (Patients were prescribed topical linseed oil to be applied every 8 hours for 6 weeks).

Daily oral Boswellia serrata extract may be more effective than oral placebo for addressing symptomatic pain and functional limitation in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

In patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis, daily supplementation with curcuminoids for 6 weeks was associated with significant improvement in pain and function when compared to patients treated with daily placebo. Additionally, NSAID usage among those who received curcuminoid supplementation was significantly lower than those receiving placebo.
Thus, curcuminoid supplementation appears to be a safe treatment option in patients with knee osteoarthritis, providing significant pain relief and improvement in function.

The results of these studies suggest that topical flaxseed oil application and oral supplementation with Boxwellia serrata and Curcumin may possess greater effect than placebo for improvement of symptoms associated with knee osteoarthritis.
Further studies are needed to understand how long these benefits last.

Bibliography:

-Efficacy of topical Linum usitatissimum L. (flaxseed) oil in knee osteoarthritis: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:302-307

-A pilot, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a novel Boswellia serrata extract in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee
Phytother Res. 2019 May;33(5):1457-1468. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6338

-Curcuminoid treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial
Phytother Res. 2014 Nov;28(11):1625-31

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