One of the most common human ailments, arthritis, comes from the Greek words artho and itis, which translates to “joint inflammation.” Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, which affects millions of people worldwide. Also referred to as a degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is caused by age, genetics, inflammation, stress, and overuse.

After years of research, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Standard treatment involves NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) combined with topical medications, braces, weight loss, and exercise. Side-effects of NSAIDs are well-documented and include stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal issues, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Due to these facts, patients have begun turning to alternatives for relief. Turmeric is one popular option.

A well-known spice, turmeric is native to Asia and is related to ginger root. It is yellowish-orange and widely used in Indian and Asian cuisine. Turmeric has an extensive history in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and traditional Eastern medicine practices for many centuries. Curcumin, one of the active components in turmeric root, is thought to have the biggest role in health. It has many anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDs. In excessive in vitro and in vivo studies, curcumin exhibits anticancer, antiviral, antiarthritic, anti-amyloid, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

A majority of these trials included 1,000 mg per day of curcumin, with adverse effects uncommon and mild but including nausea, acid reflux, and diarrhea. No serious side effects are listed in any studies. Caution should be used in patients who are on strong blood thinners such as Warfarin since turmeric can act as a mild blood thinner.

A new study suggested that curcumin is effective for combatting osteoarthritis. Researchers studied 139 people who exhibited moderately severe knee osteoarthritis and were prescribed NSAIDs. For one month, the participants were given either the NSAID or curcumin. Both treatments helped: 94 percent of those taking curcumin and 97 percent of those taking NSAIDs reported at least 50 percent improvement. None of the study subjects taking curcumin needed treatment for stomach trouble, compared to 28 percent of those who needed treatment after taking NSAIDs. Those taking curcumin lost nearly two percent of their total body weight in only four weeks. 

While the study was one of many, it’s important to consult with your doctor. A hand surgeon can assist in offering treatment options and develop a comprehensive care approach for osteoarthritis in the hand.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems:

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