Natural Treatments for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Health Tips / Natural Treatments for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

It’s important that you keep these two forms of painful arthritis separate in your mind. Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered ‘non-inflammatory’ and basically a ‘wear-and-tear’ phenomenon that occurs with passage of time. There are inflammatory components as ‘anti-inflammatory medications’, like aspirin, or the NSAIDs (Motrin, Aleve, etc.) will relieve pain, but so will Tylenol, which is not an anti-inflammatory med.


OA runs in families, so check your Mom’s hands or your Dad’s knees, appears with advancing age (yours?), and generally can be self-treated by the meds listed above. There are problems with these of course. Aspirin and the NSAIDs can irritate your stomach to the point of bleeding. NSAIDs can cause kidney damage. For OA, your best bet is prevention. Healthy diet, stretching, weight control, etc. The two supplements you have most likely heard of, glucosamine sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate, when started early and taken regularly have been clinically proven to prevent the wear and tear type of osteoarthritis as well as repair the osteoarthritic damage. A good combination is Xymogen SynovRX Recovery which contains both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is a different condition altogether. Generally you are thought to be genetically susceptible to having your immune system rebel against you and start attacking your joints. RA is one of the 115 ‘autoimmune diseases’ along with such conditions as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and many, many more. Nutritionally oriented practices, such as WholeHealth Chicago, stress dietary intervention and controversial diagnoses like ‘leaky gut’.

Conventional rheumatologists start your treatment of RA with anti-inflammatory meds like NSAIDS, then move to ‘disease modifying drugs’ like the antimalarial medication, Plaquenil, methotrexate, and the numerous ‘biologicals’ available. These undeniably alter the immune system to the extent that for most RA patients the days of deformed hands are over. This is an excellent summary from John Hopkins about the meds for RA but admittedly a bit hefty if you or a family member don’t actually have the disease.

Personally, despite being VERY heavily advertised, the ‘biologicals’ like Humira don’t always work, may have side effects (listen to the announcer read them like a tobacco auctioneer at the end of a TV commercial) and yes, can even kill you by going overboard suppressing your immune system.

If I personally had RA, I’d begin with Gut Rehab (always assume some degree of leaky gut is present), reduce gluten, start Celebrex (the mildest of the anti-inflammatories gut-wise), start low dose naltrexone and if I were going to use a Disease Modifying Drug, would use Hydroxychloraquine (Plaquenil) and/or Methotrexate. Both have been around for decades.

A final word to tell you about a movie actor most of you might not remember. James Coburn was a super cool dude of a star who made a series of totally forgettable movies in the late 20th century until his career came to a halt by RA. Here’s a picture of James with his hands. You could see with hands like those he couldn’t shoot or judo-chop anyone.

Then, in 1996, Coburn tried methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a sulfur compound available at a few health food stores. The result, he said, was nothing short of miraculous. “You take this stuff and it starts right away,” said Coburn. “Everyone I’ve given it to, has had a positive response.” Though the MSM did not cure Coburn’s arthritis, it did relieve his pain, allowing him to move more freely and resume his career.

Remember, these were days when nutritional supplements were not even considered possibilities as potentials for medicines. His ‘health guru’ told him about MSM, not his doctor.

Now, thirty years later, MSM has been clinically tested and definitely has been shown to reduce the painful inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. There is a small amount in the Xymogen product listed above but if you have active RA and are trying to avoid moving onto biologicals, you’ll need a higher dose. Order MSM Powder by Pure Encapsulations from our apothecary. Dose is 3 gms. daily.

Be well,

David Edelberg, MD

One thought on “Natural Treatments for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Please call me to make an appointment
    I have been there many times years ago Please contact me asap. My phone 872-339 9042 Thanks.

    Mary OConnor
    Posted April 4, 2024 at 10:04 pm

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