Osteoarthritis Pain: Effective Natural Treatments

Joint pain increases as we get older.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint pain in the world. Just in the U.S. it affects an estimated 42.7 million adults in the U.S. and over 20% of populations worldwide.

The name of this disease comes from osteo (bone) and arth (joint) and itis (inflammation). It happens when the cartilage between bones breaks down or wears away. Since cartilage normally reduces friction and cushions shock, when it’s not there the result is pain and limited range of motion.

In traditional Chinese medicine, arthritis falls in the category called, “Wind Cold Damp Painful Obstruction.” If you’ve ever known anyone with arthritis this will ring true to you since they will often feel worse when the weather is windy, cold and damp.

There are two considerations when reducing this type of joint pain. The first, as you might suspect, is to reduce the pain and increase range of motion. The second, less obvious approach is to pull the plug on whatever is creating the pain in the first place.

Relieving Symptoms

There are many Chinese herbal formulas used to reduce this type of pain. They all have qualities of warming the cold stiffness in the joints and reducing the occurrence of pain.

If you want to self-treat, this is a difficult way to go since each formula is fine-tuned to the overall health and symptom pattern unique to each person. To treat the symptoms this way you’ll need to seek out a qualified herbalist trained in Chinese medicine. I’m happy to work with you this way.

However there are other ways you can explore for joint pain relief.

One of these is capsicum, derived from hot cayenne peppers. The best way to use it is in the form of a topical preparation you rub directly on the affected joints.

From a traditional Chinese medicine point of view, the reason this works is that it drives the cold out of the joint. From a Western medicine point of view, the active ingredient, capsaicin, temporarily reduces a chemical in the nerves responsible for transmitting pain sensations. When the pain is gone, it’s easier to move.

Other good treatments to relieve symptoms include acupuncture, doing water aerobics, and alternating hot and cold compresses on the affected areas.

Deeper Relief

My view is that the body is naturally designed to work perfectly. With this in mind, any symptom is a signal that something is interfering with this perfect functioning.

In the case of joint pain, there are some obvious, and some not-so-obvious contributing factors. When you can identify those that apply to you and make the appropriate adjustments, it’s very common to see joint pain and other health issues disappear.

Here are the most relevant factors to consider:

  • Dietary Factors:
    • Concentrated Sugars
    • Processed, Refined Foods
    • Wrong Foods for Your Metabolic Type
    • Insufficient Basic Nutrient Intake, especially Vitamins C & D
  • History of Injury to the Area
  • Toxic Exposure:
    • Heavy Metals (lead, mercury, etc.)
    • Other Environmental Toxins
  • Chronic High Stress Level
  • Excessive Weight

Each of the above factors can be addressed naturally.

There are other ways to support the body and restore health once the conditions creating the pain are addressed. These include restoring adrenal health, improving digestion & detoxification and strengthening the body through exercise.

To your health,

Dr. Bruce



Arthritis Rheum 2008;58(1):26–35.

Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.

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