The Obesity and Osteoarthritis Relationship

The relationship between obesity and osteoarthritis is impossible to ignore. One can feed the other and vice versa, and a vicious circle develops.

57 is the average age of diagnosis, but now 1 in 5 people, who are being diagnosed, are under 45 years of age.

Osteoarthritis is the 4th most frequent predicted cause of health problems in women worldwide.

The following infographic from Apos Therapy paints a fuller picture.


The Obesity and Osteoarthritis Relationship


Arthritis Statistics

This infographic displays the far-reaching impact that arthritis has on society and was produced by the Arthritis Foundation.

Arthritis Statistics


Natural Treatments for Osteoarthritis


Meditation for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis has a long history of causing chronic pain, discomfort, and joint stiffness that can often be paralyzing and detrimental. This lack of fluidity in motion combined with chronic pain can also be mentally daunting. The physical and emotional effects of Osteoarthritis are what make it one of the most troubling diseases and most difficult to treat. While mainstream methods like medication and physical therapy are the primary care plan for Osteoarthritis, more alternative forms of medication are starting to take form. One alternative treatment that can help Osteoarthritis sufferers both physically and mentally is meditation.

Meditation is an ancient form of therapy that allows you to focus on your senses and use your thought processes to address whatever it is that needs addressing. In the case of Osteoarthritis, this can come in the form of addressing pain and symptom management of the disease. By using medication to treat Osteoarthritis, sufferers are given the opportunity to confront the pain and characterize it – sharp and shooting, dull and achy, where exactly it is located, and how it transpires.

Being able to hone in on the specifics of the pain, allow a person to focus or meditate intensely on the specifics of the symptoms. Under the principles of meditation, this extreme focus allows you to concentrate on the origin of the pain, confront it, and ultimately lessen the intensity of it with sheer mental will. The theory of pain management from meditation draws from the idea that pain is a brain response to injury or disease, that it physically only exists within our mental reaction.

Meditation takes time to master, but simple breathing techniques and localized meditation can provide – at minimum – a calming environment that may help with the emotional effects that osteoarthritis has on a person. With some patience, it may even help provide a coping measure for the physical pain associated with the disease.


Flower Essences

Flower essences were first created by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1920’s and 1930’s and are considered a part of vibrational medicine, very similar to homeopathy. The collection that Dr. Bach created consists of 38 essences from plants and flowers as well as a blend called Rescue Remedy. Being a deeply spiritual man attuned to his intuition, Dr. Bach had the belief that it was due to a negative state of mind that was at the core of all illness. He left his very successful medical practice to pursue the healing properties of the flowers.

How They Work

These remedies work on an energetic level as emotional catalysts in restoring the balance in the whole body system. They will subtly restore peace, sense of well being and transforming the negative states associated with the essence into positive states. One takes the chosen remedy as designated by the Flower Essence practitioner or by personal choice after reading and associating the negative qualities associated with each essence. To administer the appropriate remedy you can do any of the following:

  • Mix 4 drops of chosen essence in glass of water, and each sip of water will be a dose. 
  • Place in a spray bottle of pure filtered water and mist over body or sleeping area.
  • Place drops along the spine where there are many acupressure points. 
  • Place on area of injury, such as a strain, bruise, ect. (commonly used with Rescue Remedy).
  • Place 4 drops under the tongue. 


The benefits of using flower essences are many. They are safe, non toxic, and simple to use in any life situation. They can also be used with pets and plants!


If there is sensitivity to alcohol, the essences may cause a problem as organic brandy is used as a preservative. If one chooses to make a blend of essences, it is best to use no more than 6 essences in the blend.


Flower essences are wonderful tools that will subtly and gently assist in restoring balance, peace and a sense of emotional well being. They are quite simple to use and naturally complement any other therapy. Since Dr. Bach’s creation of the original 38 essences there have since been many other essences created that are also extremely useful in restoring emotional harmony.


  • The Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz:
  • Vibrational Medicine by Dr. Richard Gerber
  • Advanced Bach Flower Therapy by Dr. Gotz Blome

Osteoarthritis Natural Treatments

Written by Sandy Cho, MD and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a slowly progressive degenerative joint disease that commonly affects the middle-aged and elderly population. It is often referred to as “wear and tear” of the joints.

Osteoarthritis tends to affect commonly used joints such as the hands and spine, and the weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees.

Osteoarthritis natural treatments involve reducing inflammation and providing nutrition to bones and joints. Reducing total body acidity is a must as acidosis can worsen bone health.


What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a slowly progressive degenerative joint disease that commonly affects the middle-aged and elderly population. Be aware that young people can also be affected by this condition. It is often referred to as “wear and tear” of the joints. It is characterized by breakdown of the cartilage (the tissue that cushions the ends of the bones between joints), bony changes of the joints, deterioration of tendons and ligaments, and various degrees of inflammation of the synovium (joint lining).

About 27 million Americans are living with osteoarthritis, the most common form of joint disease. It is a main cause of disability in older people. Osteoarthritis tends to affect commonly used joints such as the hands and spine, and the weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness in the morning or after a period of inactivity
  • Limited range of motion or decreased function of the joint
  • Swelling may be present
  • Cracking noise with joint movement may be present
  • Very advanced cases of osteoarthritis can cause significant pain and difficulty walking, especially OA of the hips and knees

What causes osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis occurs when the joint cartilage breaks down often because of mechanical stress or biochemical alterations. There is also a component of free radical damage, oxidative stress, and worsening inflammation that also significantly contributes to worsening damage to the joint. Specific risk factors include the following:

  • Age: People age 65 or older are at greatly increased risk
  • Obesity: The excess weight the person needs to bear on his/her joints adds extra stress on them
  • Excessive Joint loading: Manual labor, athletes, etc. In many cases, a person’s occupation or athletic activities require repetitive motions (such as repeated knee bending) that predispose the person to degenerative joint disease in later years
  • Trauma: Fractures, ligament injuries
  • Altered joint anatomy: Developmental hip dysplasia, dislocation due to trauma, unequal leg length, bowlegs, rheumatoid arthritis, gout
  • Deposition diseases: These can cause the cartilage to be stiffer and include hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, Gaucher’s disease
  • Genetic disposition or family history of osteoarthritis
  • Acidic, high-inflammatory diet

What are conventional treatments for osteoarthritis?

Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are initially prescribed for the treatment of OA. Gastrointestinal bleeding is a concern with long-term use of NSAIDs. If an NSAID is to be used, safety is an important issue, especially in the elderly. The risk of NSAID-induced kidney and liver damage is increased in older patients and in patients with preexisting renal or hepatic insufficiency. Thus, it is important to monitor renal and liver function.

Another common class of medications prescribed for the treatment of OA includes narcotics or narcotic-like medications. These medications have the potential to cause significant side effects, including constipation, lethargy and confusion, and depression of the respiratory drive. They are not good long-term solutions for the treatment of pain due to OA.

Topical drugs may be applied directly on the skin over the affected joints. These medicines include capsaicin cream, lidocaine and diclofenac gel.

Intra-articular injections of corticosteroids can be helpful, but more than three to four injections per year is not recommended.

Surgery becomes an option for severe cases in which the joint has serious damage, or when medical treatment fails to relieve pain and you have major loss of function. Surgery may involve arthroscopy. If the joint damage cannot be repaired, you may need a joint replacement.


Juicing for Fibromyalgia

Part of a holistic treatment plan for OA includes a diet that is anti-inflammatory and alkaline in nature, as well supplementation with key nutrients and minerals for building your bones and promoting joint health.

Alkaline Diet: A typical modern American diet is high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3 oils which increases the body’s inflammatory load. Increased inflammation is a significant contributor to the development of OA. Animal protein, in particular can be very inflammatory; the animal protein is processed by the body into hydrogen ions. The greater the number of hydrogen ions, the greater the total body acidity. The bone is a buffer for the continued acid load, in addition to the buffers in the blood and in the cells. Alkaline mineral salts, such as magnesium and calcium, are drawn from your bones into the bloodstream to buffer the excess acid that is built up on a daily basis. This weakens the bone over time and increases the risk of developing arthritis and other bone conditions such as osteoporosis.

An alkaline-based diet is rich in fruits and vegetables. An alkaline-based diet consists of foods high in antioxidant value that not only counter inflammation, oxidative stress, and acidosis but also provide significant nutrients that most of us are lacking.

Supplements for Fibromyalgia

Many over-the-counter nutrition supplements have been used for treatment of osteoarthritis. Among the most widely used are glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate, calcium and vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. To ensure safety and avoid drug interactions, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these supplements. This is especially true when you are combining these supplements with prescribed drugs. Adding the right supplements to your treatment plan is important for not only providing nutrition to your joints (yes, your joints need nourishment as well) but also reducing inflammation that can help reduce pain and restore function.

Supplements That Provide Nutritional Support to the Bone and Joints

Vitamin D

Being deficient in Vitamin D is associated with the development of worsening hip and knee pain. Given that millions of people are deficient in this important vitamin, supplementation is vital. The usual recommended dose is 1000 units of Vitamin D3 taken with food to enhance absorption. Remember that your healthcare provider can measure levels of Vitamin D3 and adjust the amount you need to take.

Vitamins for Fibromyalgia

Vitamin C

Remember that Vitamin C is an antioxidant; in terms of cellular health, because it is an electron donor, it helps to reduce oxidative stress and keep the cells in a reduced or natural state. In one study, it was felt that Vitamin C may have a role in preventing osteoarthritis of the knee.

    • The ester form of Vitamin C is better absorbed than other formulations.
    • Vitamin C at a dose of 2000 mg a day is a good starting dose.

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is very beneficial for bone health. It helps in maintaining the integrity of the bones and joints. It is integral in preventing calcium loss from the bone. It also helps to maintain the health of the blood vessels by preventing calcium influx into the blood. It also is very likely to be helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis. One study demonstrated that joints that were affected with advanced OA were associated with lower levels of Vitamin K2.

Trace Minerals

Be aware that in addition to Vitamins C, D and Vitamin K2, that trace minerals are also important for bone health. These include Boron, Selenium, Zinc, Manganese, and Magnesium.There are several good supplements out there that are good for bone health.

Supplements that Reduce Inflammation and Lessen Pain

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

A large clinical trial called the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) that examined whether or not Glucosamine/Chondroitin together were effective in treating the pain associated with knee arthritis and if they could be used to treat the structural damage associated with OA was conducted. The authors concluded that these supplements were as effective as NSAIDS in treating pain. They also found that that they provided benefit for those experiencing moderate to severe pain. Another study concluded that chondroitin and glucosamine also helped reduce joint knee swelling. Glucosamine and chondroitin can also reduce total body inflammation, including lowering C-reactive protein levels.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

The use of this supplement, especially when used in combination with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, has been shown in studies to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis as well as help restore clinical functioning. In one clinical trial, the effects of 3 grams of MSM taken twice a day compared to placebo demonstrated a significant improvement in pain and clinical functioning.

Arnica Montana

Arnica montana may be especially effective for the treatment of knee and hand osteoarthritis. It has been demonstrated for reducing inflammation of the joints. The application of Arnica topically to the hands or knees can be very effective in reducing pain and inflammation.

Avocado-Soybean Unsaponifiable (ASU)

Several clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of ASU for the treatment of OA, especially hip OA which can be especially debilitating. In one study, approximately 400 patients were randomized to be given either 300 mg of ASU or placebo and followed over a three-year period. The authors felt that the ASU helped to reduce the joint space narrowing in the hip, meaning that it helped to reduce the degree of structural damage when compared to the placebo group.


The main ingredient of the commonly used spice turmeric, this antioxidant can help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with OA. It helps to reduce inflammation by reducing certain cellular pathways of inflammation, including Nf-KappaB. Another inflammatory pathway that Curcumin can inhibit is the cyclooxygenase enzyme, which is the same enzyme that is inhibited by NSAIDS. Curcumin also has other potential effects including improving heart health and has anti-cancer properties as well.


The use of antioxidants are important in reducing inflammation and combating the free radical load and oxidative stress that can accompany osteoarthritis. Consider adding a supplement high in antioxidant value to your daily regimen.

Devil’s Claw

This herb has also demonstrated effectiveness for the treatment of OA. In one study examining Devils’ Claw in the treatment of hip and knee OA, the authors noted the effectiveness in reducing pain and improving joint mobility.

Omega-3Omega 3 fish oil

Supplementation with Omega 3 fish oil can decrease the inflammation and reduce the pain associated with OA. In one study, the use of Omega 3 fish oil and glucosamine together markedly showed a decrease in stiffness and pain compared to those who just received glucosamine.

  • A good anti-inflammatory dose is at least 3-4 grams a day to start and slowly increase to a maximum of 7-8 grams.
  • As this supplement can thin the blood, if you are on any blood thinners, you may wish to start at a lower dose and increase upwards.

Morinda citrifolia (Noni)

This is a tropical plant from East Asia that has been used for many years. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the treatment of pain due to osteoarthritis.

  • Noni can come in capsule or juice form. If you take the juice form, consider beginning at 1 oz twice a day and increase slowly to 4-6 oz a day.
  • Some forms of Noni can have a high potassium content so if you have kidney disease you need to be mindful of this.
  • Extremely high doses of this may have an adverse effect on the liver, although this is controversial. The several ounces a day that we mention here is very low dosage of this supplement.

Boswellia extract

This is an herb that has anti-inflammatory properties, especially in the treatment of arthritis. It can help maintain the structural health of the joint cartilage.


Ginger may provide significant pain relief for osteoarthritis. Its effects appear to be attributable to inhibition of the pain pathway involving cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. Effective doses range from 170 mg ginger extract 3 times per day to 250 mg 4 times per day.

Note that there are many formulations that combine many of these important supplements that can reduce pain and inflammation. There are also wonderful bone and mineral formulations that can provide the nutrients to the bones that are so desperately needed in OA.

In addition to proper nutrition and supplementation discussed above, exercise in its different forms provide much benefit to those struggling with osteoarthritis. Furthermore, proper devices, fittings, and adjustments to one’s needs provide a wealth of support and ease.


Weight loss and exercise are very beneficial in osteoarthritis. There is a longitudinal association between obesity and osteoarthritis of the knee in men and women, although obesity is a greater risk factor in women. Excess weight puts stress on your knee joints and hips and lower back. For every 10 pounds of weight you lose over 10 years, you can reduce the chance of developing knee osteoarthritis by up to 50%. The goals of an exercise program are to maintain range of motion, muscle strength and general health. For instance, those with osteoarthritis of the knee should be taught quadriceps-strengthening exercises and should be encouraged to perform them every day.

You can further manage how osteoarthritis affects your lifestyle by making small modifications each day. These include the following:

  • Properly position and support your neck and back while sitting or sleeping.
  • Adjust furniture, such as raising a chair or toilet seat.
  • Avoid repeated motions of the joint, especially frequent bending.


Participating in a water-based exercise program can be very beneficial if you have OA. Exercising in the water is not only rejuvenating, but as it reduces the wear, tear, and constant pounding on the joints, it is an ideal choice, especially if you are suffering from arthritis or have difficulty walking. If you have a pool at home, just walking in the water for five minutes a day can help improve strength and mobility in your muscles and joints. Going to your local YMCA or YWCA or using the pool at your local gym may be an option. Check to see if there is an aquatic-based exercise program in your area. It is not difficult to develop on your own.

Assistive Devices

Many people with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee are more comfortable wearing shoes with good shock-absorbing properties or orthoses. Others also find the support of assistive devices such as braces or a walking cane helpful as they can help with performing daily activities.

You might want to work with a physical therapist or occupational therapist to learn the best exercises and to choose arthritis assistive devices. An occupational therapist can determine whether the patient needs assistive devices such as a raised toilet seat. In addition, special splints can be designed to stabilize or reduce inflammation of particular joints, such as the first carpometacarpal joint or the base of the thumb.


Other beneficial therapies include spa (hot tub), massage, acupuncture, osteopathic and chiropractic manipulation which can help to relieve pain, improve mobility, and keep your body in alignment. These therapies can help to improve total body flexibility. Remember OA can alter how you move and walk. Perhaps you favor one hip or one knee over the other. Over time this can completely disrupt your back and hip mechanics and cause your body to go out of alignment. These therapies can be invaluable in that regard.

Updated: March 2019


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Vitamins are wonderful adjuncts to complement your natural lifestyle. They can fill any nutritional deficiencies that you may not be fully obtaining from your diet resulting in greater energy and feelings of well being.

How it Works

Vitamins work by replenishing deficient nutrients in the body that one may not be getting from nutrition.


Vitamin deficiencies can cause great disruption in the body. For instance, a deficiency of just vitamin B6 and Zinc can cause a condition called pyroluria which interferes with protein metabolism, dreaming, mental balance and much more. All that caused by just simple deficiencies of only 2 vitamins!


Consuming too much of any vitamin can also be just as harmful as having a deficiency. It is wise to consult with someone trained in nutritional response testing, who may be able to assist you in which nutrients would be most beneficial for your body. We are all unique, and should be treated as such. What the label states or what the recommended daily allowance recommends may not be correct for you.


Vitamins are a wonderful tool to add to your holistic wellness plan. Much should be taken into consideration when choosing which vitamins to take, and this challenge can be greatly lessened by obtaining the assistance of a professional nutritionist.


  • Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch
  • Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone by Abram Hoffer and Andrew Saul


We all know how important a varied diet is to our overall health but sometimes even good eating habits can use a little boost. Fortunately that’s where supplements come in.

Supplements exist in a variety of shapes and sizes from pills and powders to beverages and bars. Contents run the gamut from vitamins and minerals to herbs and enzymes to fish oils, probiotics and more.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, use of dietary supplements increased by over ten percent from 42 percent in the late 1980s to mid 1990s to 53 percent by 2003-2006.

How It Works

Different supplements provide different benefits. Folic acid, for example, is important for pregnant women to take as it can lessen the chance of birth defects while calcium and vitamin D can help encourage bone health. Multivitamins which contain at least three vitamins are the most commonly taken supplement though many vitamins and minerals can also be purchased individually.

Supplements are not strictly limited to vitamins and minerals, however. Echinacea is an herb many swear by to help lessen cold symptoms and duration of illness. Fish oil can usually be found in a softgel tablet and may help with heart health. Probiotics may assist in improving digestive issues.


Benefits of supplements vary depending on the type and its designated purpose. It is important to note that the best way to meet daily nutritional needs is through a healthy diet featuring a variety of foods. When eating habits fall short, however, supplements can provide a useful nutritional edge.


Just because supplements can be purchased over the counter doesn’t mean buyers shouldn’t do their homework. Some can interfere with medications or increase the chance of bleeding.

Many are water soluble with extra amounts simply being excreted but a few exist that are not and can build up in the body to dangerously high levels. In addition, some foods like cereals and breads are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals so beware how much is being ingested through the daily diet before beginning supplementation.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the same way over-the-counter medications are and are not intended to actually prevent or treat diseases. To ensure the supplement contains what it says it contains (and not harmful contaminants), look for the seals of approval from U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International or

If in doubt be sure to discuss use of supplements with a medical professional.


While there is no substitute for a healthy diet, supplements can be useful for a variety of purposes including providing a nutritional benefit and addressing a specific issue like building stronger bones or fighting a cold.


  • Dietary Supplements: What you Need to Know from the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
  • Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know from the FDA

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a highly right brained activity that is similar to meditation, but can incorporate the use of all the senses to create a wonderful healing experience that improves with each session. The body can and usually will accept as true what is being held in the mind, and through guided imagery we can use this to our benefit.

How it Works

It is the use of words, visualization and music to create some images in one’s mind for the benefit of relaxation and healing. Unlike meditation, the person using guided imagery is being guided into a creative experience usually through a recording or an instructor. This modality gives the mind a break, and instead tunes into the more creative right brain.


Guided imagery has the wonderful ability to restore peace and calm and with some dedication to this practice one can have wonderful results with healing as well.


There are no precautions to consider for this modality.


Guided imagery is a non-invasive technique that is highly beneficial for providing relaxation and healing from a variety of conditions. It has been found to be helpful for reducing stress and easing emotional tension. Our minds are powerful and we can augment this energy by utilizing guided imagery to modify our belief programs and install new, healthy creative ones instead!


  • Guided Imagery for Self Healing: by Dr. Martin Rossman
  • Staying Well With Guided Imagery by Belleruth Naparstek
  • Your Sixth Sense Unlocking the Power of Intuition by Bellruth Naparstek


Chiropractic care is a therapy that addresses the muscular-skeletal system and nervous system.  It is a combination of spinal manipulation and muscle relaxation used to restore joint mobility.   With a hands-on approach, Chiropractors manipulate the spine to align vertabrae properly thus reducing pressure on the nerves within the spinal cord.  This reduction of pressure allows the signals from the spinal cord to travel properly through the brain and reduces the brain's chemical reaction of pain.

How It Works

During a Chiropractic session, a chiropractor will use massage to loosen  the muscles in the affected  area to loosen some of the tension around the bone or joint.  With either an actuator gun (a gun that uses small pulses of pressure) or with their hands and body strength, Chiropractors will adjust or manipulate the spine and joints to a position that will relieve pressure to the area.


Chiropractic care does not just benefit those with injury or chronic pain conditions.  It can be utilized to help maintain proper joint health and spinal cord wellness.  It can also be used to help increase flexibility and fluidity of joints for athletes or the health-minded.   

Chiropractic therapy has been used to treat many disorders and diseases including Osteoarthritis, migraines, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatiod arthritis, indigestion, pain during pregnancy, and of course bone and joint injury.

It is natural therapy that does not require medication but instead proper alignment of the spine.  This ensures that the correct messages travel to brain, helping to create perfect chemical balance.  

There are rarely any instances of pain associated with chiropractic therapy other than some mild muscle soreness that may result from an adjustment, therefore it is a non-invasive physical therapy for proper joint and spine health.


Any manipulation of the spine, specifically the neck area, needs to be completed by a licensed Chiropractor.  Any overextention of the joints could result in damage to the bones and nerves.

The spine should never be manipulated if there is any sign of neurological disorder such as leg tingling, lightheadedness, black-outs or seizures.

Treatment of Scoliosis should only be performed under the supervision of a physician and should not consider chiropractic therapy as the only treatment solution.


Chiropractic care can be used to treat many different types of discomforts and pain.  It can also be used in combination with an athletic or fitness routine to maintain proper joint and spinal health.  With some minor adjustments to the spine a person can achieve pain management, better joint mobility, and more flexibilty as well.


The American Chiropractic Association

How Chiropractic