Every year, painful osteoarthritis affects over 32.5 million people in the United States. Osteoarthritis is caused by damage or the breakdown of joint cartilage between bones. It can naturally occur with age; however, some people are more likely to get it than others. These factors include gender, joint overuse, obesity, and genetics. Fortunately, there may be some help on the horizon. Studies show quite promising results for the use of fish oil for osteoarthritis pain.
Fish Oil Relieved Osteoarthritis Pain
In a recent study, 134 participants with knee, lower back, and shoulder pain from osteoarthritis (OA), aged 50 to 80, overweight or obese, and sedentary, took a placebo; 160 mg of curcumin alone; 2,000 mg of DHA plus 400 mg of EPA, or curcumin plus DHA/EPA together. Their outcomes were reviewed 16 weeks later.
As a result, those taking omega-3 fish oil had reduced OA-specific pain compared to placebo or curcumin. Flexibility and elasticity of the smallest vessels also improved, increasing blood flow. The fish oil group saw pain scores decrease 42 percent and improvements in the ability to exercise, climb stairs, and in joint strength and sleep quality. A better overall mood and sense of total health accompanied these physical improvements.
Doctors believe fish oil for osteoarthritis works by improving blood supply to oxygen-deprived tissues, restoring nutrients to affected joints, and reducing pain.
Stretches and Exercises for Osteoarthritis
Sometimes physical activity may seem like the last thing you’d want to do when suffering from osteoarthritis pain. However, there is much evidence to show that moving your body may be beneficial. Types of stretches and exercise to consider are:
- Range of motion and flexibility exercises
- Aerobic and endurance exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Aquatic (water) exercises.
Finally, stretching on a daily basis to avoid stiffness can be very helpful too. For instance, just doing a few light stretches before getting out of bed is great for flexibility and to get your blood flowing for the day.