If you have been told that you have Osteoarthritis, OA or DJD of a joint you deserve a Functional Medicine, comprehensive approach to treating it. What most people want is less pain and swelling, more range of motion and a healthier joint. That cannot be obtained with medication alone, because medication does not get at what is happening to the cartilage inside the joint or is only one part of the pathophysiology. I have developed this approach in my practice as well as for a chapter in the book Metabolic Orthopedics, to be published in May 2018. Read below to learn why this approach may benefit you.
The usual approach is to tell a patient to take an NSAID drug like Aleve, Ibuprofen or Naprosyn and to do some physical therapy. One problem with that approach is that NSAIDs can have serious side effects in your kidneys or cause ulcers in your stomach and intestine. They also do not address a lot of the inflammatory and other mediators. OA involves a number of processes including:
- Decreased number of viable chondrocyte cells and poorer quality of matrix surrounding the chondrocyte cells
- Poorer quality synovial fluid that is less viscous
- Enzyme breakdown of cartilage cells by metalloproteinases
- Inflammation with interleukins and other mediators
- Possibly decreased range of motion
- Decreased anabolic signaling in the joint
- Calcification and spurring
All of these mechanisms need to be discussed and addressed, which can be accomplished with a look at your health history and complete physical exam. If you have x-rays, these would be evaluated for the extent of the OA. A Functional Medicine approach would include looking at diet, toxins, 3 foundational supplements, and exercise. You would receive options regarding modalities that may help, such as Frequency Specific Microcurrent and Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Treatment. You would have a discussion about exercise that may benefit your joints. Give Dr. Musnick 3 months and see if your arthritic joint or joints are significantly improving.