Alternative medicine – Can herbal medicine reduce joint pain?

Last modified: December 11, 2019

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure available for osteoarthritis, but there is good treatment available. The basic treatment involves physical activity and, if the person affected is overweight, weight loss. Pain relievers can be taken in addition to this. Surgery is a last resort. But even in cases where surgery is appropriate, those affected should have received treatment through exercise. In addition to these forms of treatment, some people resort to take alternative medicine to treat their osteoarthritis.

Common herbal medicinal products used to treat osteoarthritis

As osteoarthritis has always been a common disease in society, there have always been different types of home remedies and herbal medicinal products available, considered as being able to relieve and slow down the disease. However, it should be remembered that there are no studies available capable of offering scientific proof confirming that these products provide any kind of benefit.

●     Ginger. Using ginger to treat osteoarthritis is said to be able to relieve the disease thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

●     Rose hip powder. People use rose hip powder for osteoarthritis as it is considered capable of improving mobility in the joints.

●     Turmeric. It is a common notion that turmeric can be used to treat osteoarthritis as it is said to ease joint pains. It is also an ingredient in several pain-relieving products as the plant has a certain anti-inflammatory property.

●     Green-lipped mussel. Taking green-lipped mussel for osteoarthritis (in powder form) is said to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

●     Glyc. There are people who take glyc (a dietary supplement produced in Sweden) to treat osteoarthritis as it contains green-lipped mussel powder. Glyc also contains collagen, zinc, and vitamin C. The last three substances mentioned are required for the joint cartilage’s natural function. These products are said to be able to help, when combined, to rebuild cartilage.

All alternative or herbal medicinal products comply with food legislation. This means that they have been tested and are safe to be consumed by people in the form in which they are sold. Therefore, there will be no risk involved experimenting with dietary supplements like rose hip powder for treating osteoarthritis. In the worst-case scenario, they haven’t had any effect and resulted in spending money unnecessarily. This is also the most likely thing that will happen as none of these substances have any scientifically proven effect.

Read more about using herbal medicinal products to treat osteoarthritis.

Do herbal medicinal products work for osteoarthritis?

Herbal medicinal products used for osteoarthritis contain several substances that theoretically sound ideal for treating the disease. However, the few studies that have been conducted on this type of product indicate that the effects and improvements that this type of medicine can provide are of the same magnitude as with a placebo.

The placebo effect is when an inactive medicine, such as sugar pills, produces a positive effect, even though it actually does not have any medicinal impact. However, the placebo effect should not be underestimated as it can be very strong – so strong, in fact, that people experience an actual improvement by taking a product that they hope will be able to lead to an improvement. But the placebo effect should be weighed up against the cost of the herbal medicinal product, which may be very high.

Why do doctors not recommend herbal medicinal products?

A large amount of the proof available about the role of herbal medicinal products as medicines for treating osteoarthritis is dubious and has been obtained for a small number of patients. This makes it hard to guarantee that they are effective. Therefore, professional care providers who offer evidence-based medicines that are scientifically proven and provide tried-and-tested experience do not recommend herbal medicinal products and dietary supplements, such as rose hip powder, for treating osteoarthritis. The proof of their effects has simply not been established yet on a sufficiently sound scientific basis. It is obviously up to every individual to decide what works best as part of their personal osteoarthritis treatment. As a result, anyone adhering to results from scientific studies and recommendations from the National Board of Health and Welfare will stick to properly tried-and-tested treatment for the disease.

Read more here about treating osteoarthritis.

Using pain relievers instead of alternative medicine

The medicines recommended for treating osteoarthritis are over-the-counter pain-relief tablets. The most common medicine used to treat osteoarthritis is paracetamol (most commonly under the brand Alvedon or Panodil). These products are fine as they do not have any side effects and are tolerated by most people. The other option is different types of NSAIDs (Non-Steroid Anti-inflammatory Drugs), which are just as effective. However, they can produce some side effects affecting the stomach. There are many products available here which can be slightly milder (the most common being Ibumetin and Ipren) or slightly more powerful (the most common being Naproxen).

However, pain relievers only offer temporary pain relief and should be taken with food. There is no medicine available that cures osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis should be viewed instead as a lifelong condition that those affected need to constantly maintain. Apart from exercise, which has proved to be the most effective form of treatment, many choose to seek alternative medicines.

Other alternatives to medicines are exercise carried out physically or online.

If you are looking for a clinically proven treatment plan for osteoarthritis, you have an obvious alternative in the form of exercise. Long-term, supervised exercise is the treatment recommended for osteoarthritis by the National Board of Health and Welfare and the one that has proven to be the most effective for the majority of those affected. There are several ways available of devising a personal exercise program. For instance, you can get in touch with a physiotherapist or doctor. If you are looking for a neat digital solution, the Joint Academy may offer you the right option. This is used to complement the traditional care provided. Those affected by osteoarthritis will gain access to a training program via their cell phone with exercises that can be carried out at home.

Read more about treating osteoarthritis with medication.