Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, affects millions of individuals worldwide. This disease is caused by the wear-and-tear of the cartilage in joints, which serves as the cushion between bones that absorbs shock and reduces friction from rubbing of bones. When the cartilage degenerates, it causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joints. Osteoarthritis can also cause disability or reduced function of the joint, resulting in mobility problems. The most commonly affected joints are those of the hands, knees, and hips.
This disease typically progresses through 4 stages, each representing the severity and the impact they have on the function of the joint. In this article, we will discuss the stages of osteoarthritis and treatment options for each stage. So first, what are the stages of osteoarthritis?
Table of contents
- Symptoms of 4 stages of osteoarthritis
- Natural symptomatic relief options
- CANhaveTODAY’s products that can help in the 4 stages of osteoarthritis
Symptoms of 4 stages of osteoarthritis
Stage 1: Minor osteoarthritis
Stage 1 osteoarthritis, also known as minor OA, is marked by minute irregularities in the joint. At this stage, the cartilage have slight wear and tear, causing minor bone growth called bone spurs or osteophytes. The discomfort at this stage is mild and infrequent, and X-rays might not detect the condition
Although the changes in the joint might not be seen, it signifies the start of osteoarthritis. Early identification at this stage may slow further progression of the condition. Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, weight management, and a balanced diet can support joint health, while regular medical check-ups will track the condition’s progression. Physical therapy, preferably supervised, is also recommended.
Stage 2: Mild osteoarthritis
During the second stage of OA, you may start to experience stiffer joints after sitting for extended periods or when you wake up. The cartilage thinning becomes noticeable, and X-rays could show more bone spurs. You can also experience mild pain due to the bones coming closer together.
You may opt to use non-prescription medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage the pain. Continuation of exercising, physical therapy, and diet can help manage symptoms.
Stage 3: Moderate osteoarthritis
Stage 3 osteoarthritis is the moderate stage of the disease, a phase where the wearing of the cartilage significantly reduces the joint space. This causes the frequency and intensity of pain to increase, often following physical activities. In this stage, joint inflammation may occur, leading to swelling and increased discomfort.
Management at this stage may require prescription medicine for pain alleviation. Steroidal injections (glucocorticoid injections) could be administered, or over-the-counter pain medication may be recommended by your doctor. Physical therapy remains essential, but it might be modified to suit your discomfort.
Stage 4: Severe osteoarthritis
The final stage of osteoarthritis, severe osteoarthritis, is where the joint cartilage is largely eroded it is almost gone, making direct bone-to-bone contact possible. At this stage, joint pain and stiffness can be debilitating, and synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints, is significantly reduced.
For treating this stage, surgical interventions like knee replacement surgery or bone realignment surgery might be necessary since pain management becomes increasingly difficult with pharmacological treatments alone. Rehabilitation after surgery is important for restoring the joint’s function.
Natural symptomatic relief options
In addition to the mentioned treatments, there are natural options you can use as an adjunct to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. With the increasing interest in alternative remedies, essential oils have garnered popularity for their potential health benefits. These potent oils can help provide symptomatic relief for osteoarthritis by applying them topically:
Arnica essential oil
Arnica has pain relief potentialities for various conditions, like in a post-surgical setting, chronic low back pain, post-trauma ankle sprain, and osteoarthritis. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the swelling and stiffness of the affected joints.
Bergamot essential oil
Like arnica, bergamot essential oil possesses pain relief properties. This oil reduces pain perception by cannabinoid and opioid systems, as shown in this study.
Cinnamon essential oil
Traditional Chinese herbal medicine uses cinnamon for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA). This study shows that cinnamon can inhibit inflammation and suggests that it has the potential for the development of new agents that can treat OA.
Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil can help reduce the severity of the pain caused by osteoarthritis. In this study, the researchers found that lavender essential oil significantly reduced OA pain compared to the placebo (almond oil) and control (no oil). The lavender essential oil also has anti-inflammatory qualities that can help give relief to OA symptoms like swelling.
Frankincense essential oil and myrrh essential oil
Boswellic acid, the main component of frankincense oil, was shown to give pain relief to OA pain. This oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce OA swelling. Meanwhile, myrrh has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties shown in this research study. In fact, the combination of frankincense and myrrh is a potent anti-inflammatory and is used for the treatment of knee OA.
Although essential oils can be very helpful, you should have plenty of knowledge about them before you use them. You must do thorough research about their application, dosage, potential side effects, and contraindications. Consult with a doctor and understand that these natural remedies do not replace conventional treatments but can be supportive for symptomatic relief.
CANhaveTODAY’s products that can help in the 4 stages of osteoarthritis
If you’re thinking about using the essential oils we mentioned in this article as an adjunct therapy, you don’t have to look further and research the dilution ratios because CANhaveTODAY can help you. CANhaveTODAY uses not only one but multiple essential oils in combination with carrier oils and natural ingredients in the formulation of products.
Soothing Juggernaut: Pain-relieving Salve
CANhaveTODAY’s Soothing Juggernaut can help relieve the pain and inflammation brought about by osteoarthritis, thanks to its main ingredients arnica, frankincense, cypress essential oils. This salve, like all CANhaveTODAY salves, contain the powerful but gentle multitasker lavender essential oil. Not only is it great in soothing pains and aches, but it is also a salve that can help fight fungal infections and calm itches. To top it off, Soothing Juggernaut won the 2023 Canadian Business Award for Best Natural Pain Relief product.
As one might expect from its name, Healing Legends is a salve that has the qualities of legendary essential oils from myrrh, frankincense, and bergamot. The combination of myrrh and frankincense is already strong for osteoarthritis, and the addition of bergamot essential oil further strengthens the potential of this salve against the condition. Additionally, it has properties that potentially help in the healing of skin wounds.
Remember, these products are potentially helpful, but always perform a patch test to ensure you don’t have any adverse reaction to these products. You must also practice caution and read the packaging for these products’ ingredients to determine if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
Osteoarthritis has four stages: minor (stage 1), mild (stage 2), moderate (stage 3), and severe (stage 4).
We recommend the use of Soothing Juggernaut for symptomatic relief in the case of osteoarthritis. It contains powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties that can help alleviate the symptoms of this condition.