MidMichigan Health: Alternative treatments for osteoarthritis – Midland Daily News

Osteoarthritis is very common – in fact, most of us will experience it in some form at some point in our lives. It can range in severity and can affect any joint in your body, including your hips, knees and shoulders.

Q. What is osteoarthritis?

A. Osteoarthritis is a term that is traditionally called “wear and tear” arthritis, and is a degenerative process of the hyaline cartilage in the joints. What that means is as one ages, the joints are breaking down, which can cause pain when one is trying to get around.

Q. How common is osteoarthritis?

A. Most of us will experience some wear and tear on our joints, especially as we get older. There are different risk factors for osteoarthritis, ranging from genetics to obesity to prior injury or surgery on a joint or area. Overall, though, osteoarthritis is very common, mostly in knees, hips and shoulders, although it can affect any joint in your body.

Q. What are some treatment methods for osteoarthritis?

A. Because it’s so common and it’s difficult to prevent or completely solve, we use a multi-modal approach for treatment of osteoarthritis. We use anti-inflammatory medicine, like ibuprofen. There are some natural anti-inflammatories that we recommend, such as turmeric, avocado and soy.

We also do injections, both with steroids and viscosupplementation, which means we lubricate the joints, as well as bracing and physical therapy. After you’ve exhausted all of those options, you are likely to be referred to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss replacement surgery.

Q. What is a platelet-rich plasma injection?

A. This is an injection where we actually use your own blood plasma to signal to the body that an area is damaged and that it needs to be healed. It’s a fairly new procedure, but one point to emphasize is that this injection does not regenerate your cartilage. It’s an indicator to your body and helps to try and speed up the healing process. We have seen great results with it, and are starting to use it in muscles, tendons and even joints to help provide relief for patients.

Q. Do natural anti-inflammatories, like turmeric, really work?

A. My goal is to look at the evidence behind these natural products and see what’s been shown to actually be effective. Turmeric has been shown to be effective as a natural anti-inflammatory. If you take it twice a day, however, it may cause an upset stomach. Avocado, soy and other types of topical lotions have also been shown to be natural anti-inflammatories.

A.J. Pinney, D.O., is a family medicine physician with specialized fellowship training in non-surgical sports medicine at MidMichigan Health.

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