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Consider herbal treatments over drugs for arthritis

Two major factors are contributing to the growing incidence of osteoarthritis: the aging population and obesity.

Both result in increased stress and wear-and-tear of joints over longer periods of time.

If you are a woman, you are at greater risk. If you have injured a joint or joints previously from trauma or due to sports, you are more at risk.

Genetics play a role but we do not have all we need to know in this area. The prevalence of osteoarthritis increases dramatically with increasing age. We are sophisticated machines and, like machines, we break down!

Osteoarthritis is chronic, progressive, and often debilitating. It effects not just the joint per se, but the tissues around the joint: ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Osteoarthritis can be very frustrating for patients because it can significantly interfere with an active lifestyle.

Ideally, non-drug therapies should be implemented first, when disease severity is mild. These therapies can include exercise and weight loss, physical therapy, braces and other orthopedic devices. Drug therapy should be considered for patients with moderate to severe symptoms.

I also want to mention boswellia, or Indian frankincense. Some pretty good clinical research shows that taking Indian frankincense extracts can reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.

In two clinical trials using both 100 mg daily or 250 mg daily doses, patients reported significantly improved pain and functionality scores in patients with osteoarthritis after 90 days of treatment. Pain scores were reduced by about 32 percent to 65 percent. Patients began to have significant improvement within seven days of treatment.

The extract used in this study was standardized and enriched to contain 30 percent of the boswellic acid — as I have said before, there is no standard for nutritional supplements so take careful note — 30 percent boswellic acid. It should be on the container.