How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally In 8 Steps (+3 Extra)

How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally In 8 Steps (+3 Extra)

Are you dealing with osteoarthritis? Believe me, I totally know the feeling – I’ve been fighting this condition too. 

But I have some good news – there are plenty of solutions. And many of them are pretty natural.

So let me show you how to treat osteoarthritis naturally – in 8 steps. I followed these steps myself – and I could see a huge difference. So I’m mostly speaking from experience.

Now, this recipe won’t cure your OA – because it’s not a condition that can be cured.

But there are high chances that you feel up to 80% better. And that is a big change, if you ask me. So if you’re ready, let’s begin with #1!



Step #1 – Change Your Diet

It may sound weird, but the right foods can improve your OA alone. 

How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally In 8 Steps (+3 Extra)Now, that’s not a must-follow step – if you’re already eating lots of vegetables and fresh foods, you can move on to #2.

However, if you’re eating just random stuff, it’s time to make a change.

That’s because some foods can worsen OA symptoms all alone. And guess what? – they’re usually the most delicious things we know:

  • fast-foods
  • candies and cakes
  • sugary drinks and soda
  • white flour products
  • eggplants and dark vegetables

So what exactly should you replace them with? As I said before, you should mainly go for fresh foods and avoid processed products:

  • organic vegetables and fruits
  • whole grain cereals
  • fish and fresh meat
  • antioxidant foods

If you want to see the full list, I suggest you to check out this article – it’s focused on every food you should consume when you have OA.

Now – changing your diet won’t make any miracles overnight. In fact, it may not even make any miracles at all. But it all depends of what form of OA you have.

Because on the other hand, a simple change in your diet could help your OA tremendously.



Step #2 – Glucosamine Sulfate Supplements

In my opinion, that’s the most important step from this list. Why? Because glucosamine is the most effective remedy for OA. 

How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally In 8 Steps (+3 Extra)But when it comes to glucosamine, most people make one of these 2 mistakes:

  • either they skip glucosamine supplements completely
  • or they choose a random one

Now, here’s what you should do instead:

First of all, glucosamine is the best substance at rebuilding cartilages – which is the main cause of OA.

I should also tell you that we normally have glucosamine in our cartilages. But its level decreases with age – so you need glucosamine from another source. 

Secondly, most supplements use the wrong form of glucosamine – the HCl. Why?:

  • it’s cheaper
  • most people aren’t aware of the difference

However, it’s not as good as the other form of glucosamine – the sulfate. In fact, studies showed that the HCl doesn’t have any real benefits for OA.

That’s why I’m totally against supplements that use the HCl form. So keep this in mind and use only products with glucosamine sulfate – this one is my #1 recommendation:




Step #3 – Use Heating Pads

Though heating pads aren’t my personal favorite, they can help in OA – especially when it comes to pain. 

How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally In 8 Steps (+3 Extra)So what exactly can they do? Actually, it’s the heat that helps – not the pads themselves:

  • decreased the stiffness
  • increases joint lubrication
  • improves flexibility

On the other hand, heat doesn’t work for inflammation – that’s why it’s not recommended for swollen joints. But if you have OA, the swelling is quite minimal, so heat does help.

Now, using pads isn’t a must – but using heat is. So if you don’t own a heating pad (or if you simply don’t like it), there’s no point investing money into one. 

There are 2 other alternatives – both easier to use and cheaper:

  • Capsaicin patches – some patches with Cayenne pepper that you can apply in your skin
  • Hot bottles – just heat up a water bottle and hold it on your painful joint

As I said, heat isn’t a must-step follow either. But I say you should give it a try – you might be losing some of its possible benefits if you don’t.



Step #4 – Massage Oils

Massage can help any kind of pain, that’s for sure. But the question is – how much does it help? 

How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally In 8 Steps (+3 Extra)Because in most cases, it’s only a temporary solution. And it’s the same for OA as well. Massage does help, but not on the long term.

However, if you associate it with other remedies, its effect increases considerably. So how exactly does massage help OA? Judging after my experience, these are its top benefits:

  • loosen up the joints
  • increase lubrication fluids
  • decrease stiffness (on the long term)

Now, can you massage your joints yourself – or do you need a professional therapist?

To be honest, I always did it myself and it helped me on the long term. So in my opinion, there’s no point spending money on a good massage session.

You can do it yourself – especially if your leg joints are mostly affected. In case the painful area is in your hips, back  or shoulders – you can ask someone from your family to help out with massage.

Now – what oils should you use? 

In my opinion, you can as well use no oil. But specialists claim that oils also have some healing proprieties – so here are the top oils I know:



Step #5 – Rest Enough

How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally In 8 Steps (+3 Extra)What exactly does resting have to do with osteoarthritis? On the contrary, it may seem like physical activity should help this condition, not resting. 

Well, when I say “resting”, I don’t mean sleeping. Because OA can also appear if your body is over exhausted – but that’s pretty rare.

Let’s take the most common case instead. If you already have OA and you don’t rest enough, things could get worse.

So resting isn’t as important in treating OA, as it is in preventing and controlling it. Now you may be wondering – how exactly it can help?:

  • prevents flare-ups
  • doesn’t over-use the joints
  • relieves mental stress

The most obvious question you should ask me at this point is – So how long should I rest, so that my joints don’t suffer?

Well, here’s what I think:

  • You should sleep at least 6 hours at night
  • You shouldn’t perform any physical activity if you feel very tired
  • In case you feel like you need it, you can take a nap for about 1 hour (depending on your schedule)

So basically, resting doesn’t always mean sleeping. It means sitting down when you feel tried and not stressing all day long. Once you give up bad habits, your OA could slightly change – in the good way.



Step #6 – Move Around

This step could seem a bit ironic, if you put it next to step #5. But let me explain. 

It’s important to find a balance between resting and exercising. I personally don’t recommend intense exercising in OA – simply because your body isn’t strong enough for that. 

That’s why I called this step “moving around” instead of “exercising”. 

So what exactly you should do? Here’s the best physical activity for osteoarthritis – in my opinion:

  • night or morning walks
  • walking near your home (depending on your condition)
  • among exercises, I would choose yoga – it’s has different exercises and some of them are really easy

Now, if you’re talking a small walk on your street and you start feeling tired, don’t continue. There’s no point forcing yourself – find a bench and sit down for a couple of minutes.

That’s actually the balance between resting and exercising – so that’s what I was talking about.



Step #7 – Acupuncture

Even though I’m not a big fan of it, acupuncture can help osteoarthritis – especially the pain.

However, just like many of the previous steps – it only masks the pain, it doesn’t really treat it. After all, it’s just an alternative remedy.

So it’s not a treatment I would recommend – as long as you use it alone.

But if you combine acupuncture with the previous solutions from above, the result should be a great one.

So how exactly does this method help?:

  • decreases or even takes away the pain completely (but just for a few hours)
  • relaxes your body
  • relieves mechanic stress

As I said, acupuncture doesn’t help the joints in any form – it only decreases the pain, for a little while.

Its biggest downside is that you can’t do it alone. You have to visit a specialist – and most of the times, it can be pretty pricey. 

So if you can’t afford it, I allow you to skip this step. It’s not a major one, so you should get the same final result – with or without acupuncture.



Step #8 – Menthol Creams

The last step is surely going to help you cope with the pain.

How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally In 8 Steps (+3 Extra) Now, I’m not a big fan of creams and lotions for 1 reason – they only treat the pain, not the cause. However, that’s why you have step #2 – glucosamine supplements. 

The point is that glucosamine won’t work overnight – it needs a few weeks, in the best case. For this reason, menthol creams are a great way to control your pain in the meantime:

  • they decrease the pain within minutes (only mask it) 
  • joint stiffness also gets better

However, they don’t increase lubrication and flexibility. As I said, they don’t treat the joints – so that’s the actual reason.

Therefore, you can combine creams with glucosamine supplements and decrease your pain really fast.

But keep in mind that most creams are pretty useless – especially for OA. I recommend trying out this cream – it’s pretty cheap and it has a high quantity of menthol. So at this point, it’s the best one I’ve tried.



3 Extra Steps That Will Help You

#1 – Find An Activity

Sometimes taking your mind away from the pain is the best thing you can do. Yes, I know we have creams and supplements – but if you want the most natural way ever, you should try this. 

Here are a few examples:

  • take up a hobby: reading, knitting, painting, anything that could keep you busy
  • cook a healthy meal
  • spend time with your family

You could find a thousand other activities – it depends what you like to do most. It may sound absurd, but this thing could really help you – especially mentally.


#2 – Stay Positive

It’s pretty hard to smile when the pain is so bad, right? Well, I’ve been there too so I know exactly what you mean. 

But there’s something you can do – don’t worry about the future.

If you think it could get worse in the future, try to be optimistic. Things could get much better with the right remedy, so why harm yourself with negative thoughts?

Try to find a hope in the future and you will see that your pain feels a very little better than it used to be.


#3 – Lose Some Weight

I know that everybody tells this, so I didn’t add it as a mandatory step. That’s because many people with OA have no weight issues – I’m the best example actually.

So if your weight is normal, you can just skip this optional step.

But if it’s not, losing some weight could help. Now, the question is – how exactly could you do this?

I’m not an expert because I never had to lose any weight. But if I had to, I would try to do it in a natural way:

  • follow a very healthy diet (with fruits and vegetables only – but just for a while)
  • move around as much as my OA allows it
  • drink a lot of water – it also prevents dehydration

And last but not least – don’t stress too much on losing weight. Try to make it a natural thing, and your body will get used to the changes in diet much easier.




My Verdict – Can You Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally?

Short answer: Definitely. By “naturally” I mean without any real drugs – just supplements.

Judging from my experience, the right supplement can make miracles – unlike real drugs. 

So yes, you can treat OA naturally – you only have to use the right stuff. The 8 steps I presented above are based on my experience with osteoarthritis. 

As I said, some of them aren’t a must-follow. On the other hand, some are mandatory and they are the ones that make the big changes. 

If I had to choose only one step, it would probably be the #2 – glucosamine supplements. That’s because this substance rebuilds the cartilages – so it basically treats the real cause of OA. 

On the other hand, steps #1, #5 and #6 are also pretty important. 

So you can skip certain steps, but these 4 are a must – at least if you want real results. 

Heather Pharm.D.

Heather Tracy Foley is a Pharmacy graduate, Blogger and Author with a vast experience in health sciences. She has a particular interest in joint pain and rheumatology and spent several years studying health problems. You can find her on Pinterest or via email.

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12 Responses

  1. Rosa says:

    Hi Heather, my name is Rosa.
    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but I never left you any comment before. But I listened to your tips:
    I have Osteoarthritis in my right hip. I have tried everything, from glucosamine to every holistic remedy I could read about. Nothing helped.

    A few months ago, I found your website and I probably read everything that you wrote about osteoarthritis.
    You recommended paying attention at what glucosamine you buy. I never thought about that before, and I would normally buy the supplements with the highest dose.

    So I made my research and realized that most of the products I tried had glucosamine HCl.
    So…I thought about giving glucosamine a last chance. I ordered Projoint Plus, the supplement you recommend.

    I first have to say that I got a pretty good offer. Thanks for the coupon code. I kind of saved some money, compared to buying other stuff.

    And about my hip OA, well, I really feel better now. The pain is better and my hips don’t hurt so much every morning. So it’s the first time in my life when I feel a change because of some pills.

    Thanks for the review you wrote, it really convinced me to give it a try and I’m glad I did. I looked at its ingredients and it really has natural substances. Thanks again for your recommendation and the tips you offer on your website. You really rock!

  2. Heather - The Expert Authority You Can Trust says:

    Hello Rosa, thanks a lot for your kind words. It’s great to hear that my experience helps other people as well.

    Yeah, I definitely agree that you can treat OA naturally – that’s why I try to promote products that have natural and pure ingredients.

    ProJoint Plus remains my #1 recommendation for OA even after 8-9 months since I wrote that review. I tried a lot of stuff in the meantime, but I didn’t find anything better. So I stick to it, and you probably should do the same. If it helps you, there’s no point trying something else – especially because most products are pretty bad right now.

    But as I said, glucosamine sulfate is extremely important. So no matter what product you choose, make sure it contains this form, not the other one. That will make the difference, believe me.

    Thanks again for your kind words. Heather

  3. Priscilla MacKenzie says:

    My mom has Osteoarthritis and she is been doing everything she can to treat it. Anti-inflammatory, resting, massage, she even tried acupuncture because a friend advise her to. But with little good results. Your article is really helpful. Some of these suggestions you give are completely new for us and I think it is going to cure my mom. 

    Thank you so much for pointing out the difference between the forms of glucosamine, I saw many products had the hydrochloride but I never thought it actually mattered. I will make sure my mom chooses a product with the sulfate, as you recommend.

    And also, thanks for pointing out which are the most essential out of these 9 steps. My mom is probably not going to be able to follow all (she tried losing weight so many times but it’s always a failure), but I will have her follow those 3 top ones. Once again thanks for all these tips you have given us!

  4. Heather says:

    Hi Priscilla, it’s great to hear you liked these tips. I’m pretty sure they’re effective, since they really helped me. So I focused more on my experience rather than mentioning things you can find all over the Internet.

    Yeah, choosing a product with glucosamine sulfate is a lot more important than it seems. I never had amazing results from the HCl form, but many products with the sulfate really helped me – here’s the full list.

    Now, losing weight isn’t really a must for OA. I know many doctors and websites recommend it, and I agree. But I just don’t see it as a must. There are so many overweight people who have no joint problems. 

    So I just don’t think that a high weight is the real cause behind arthritis. It’s a risk factor indeed – but not a real cause.

    That’s why I think your mom should focus on other things that are more important, in my opinion – like eating healthy. This could also help her lose weight, in an indirect manner. Moving around also would – so by following these steps she could also solve her weight problem.

    The only thing she needs is AMBITION. 

    I know so many people who tried to follow one or more of these steps (eating healthy, massage, etc.) and they gave up after a few weeks – because they saw no improvement.

    The thing is – as it’s a natural “method”, it’s not going to work too fast. It takes time and persistence. But if you do that, you will see the results sooner or later. 

    That’s what you should let your mom know.

    Hope this helps 🙂

  5. Mandy says:

    Krill oil massage helps me very much. Are you familiar with it? I saw it’s not one of the oils you recommend, but for me it does wonders. I have knee osteoarthritis and my doctor recommended massage and acupuncture, aside from the treatment he prescribed. I tried many oils but the one from Krill works wonders for me. Taking the pills doesn’t help as much as putting it on my skin.

    Thanks for the tips you offered here, I will try improving my diet and choosing a healthier path and also a special glucosamine supplement. Thanks again.

  6. Heather says:

    Hey Mandy, I know Krill oil and I did try it, but just as pills. It didn’t impress me, but I have a good opinion about it as a general health product. As a joint product, not really

    But you’re the first person I hear that used it topically. Where did you get it from? On Amazon I saw it mostly as pills, I couldn’t fine the oil alone. Did you apply the oil from the pills?

    Thanks for letting me know your opinion. If it helps you so much, you should definitely continue to use it. Just make sure you also take something for your osteoarthritis (a glucosamine supplement) – since topical products only treat the symptoms, not the cause.

    I will probably try it in the future as well – though I’m not a fan of topical products, you seem to have a great opinion about it, so I’m curious to see what it can do.

  7. Kris M. says:

    Hi Heather. People that don’t live with chronic pain don’t understand how much it impacts your daily life. It’s hard and depressing. I particularly find it helpful to keep moving, that is important for our brain health as well. Do you know if studies have been conducted that show the impacts of long term use of glucosamine sulfates and supplements? Do they impact our internal organs at all?

  8. Heather says:

    Hey Kris, movement helps a lot – but unfortunately, many people dealing with pain can’t make too many steps a day, because of their condition. I’ve been there, so I totally understand.

    Regarding your question, I found many studies on glucosamine and chondroitin with positive results. But none of them focused on what happens on the long term.

    I can only tell you my experience. I tried various glucosamine supplements throughout the last 10 years let’s say. And I didn’t experience any big problems that could be caused by them so far.

    You know, the most common part of our body that is affected by drugs is our liver. That’s because most of them are metabolized (or decomposed) there, so the liver actually decides what’s useful and what’s not from those substances.

    So I didn’t have any liver problems up to this point. 

    Plus, glucosamine supplements are pretty natural – since they contain substances that normally exist in your body (glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM). It’s only that their production can decrease with age – that’s why we have to take them from the outside. 

    So I can’t possibly see glucosamine supplements doing any harm.

    Now, I actually don’t recommend taking lots of pills. One or 2 supplements should do, in my opinion. But glucosamine is totally safe, if you ask me.

  9. Gemma Roy says:

    Thanks Heather for this guide, I’m following many of these steps for a while just because I like having a natural lifestyle. The tips I will apply are glucosamine pills and hot bottles, they seem to really help.

    It’s not the first time I hear about acupuncture and how it can heal osteoarthritis, but I’m still a bit reserved about it for hygienic reasons. I just don’t want to end up with additional germs and infections into my already-worn out body. 

    Do you think I could get the same good results without it? I saw you didn’t mention it as a compulsory step…

  10. Heather says:

    Hi Gemma – I used to have the same opinion about acupuncture as you, and I’m still not very confident about it.

    I simply happened to find a great therapist who is a professional and works in a really hygienic manner. 

    I still have my fears, so I’m not a huge fan of acupuncture for the same reasons as you. But finding the right therapist does help letting go those fears.

    As I said in my articles, I also didn’t get amazing results from acupuncture. It did help the pain, but just for a short while. So overall, it wasn’t worth the money (a session can be pretty expensive).

    But overall – acupuncture isn’t a necessity, especially in your case. You can simply skip this step and get the same results – as long as you follow the other steps correctly.

    So try to focus on them and just let acupuncture go.

  11. Loretta says:

    Hi! This information has been very helpful! I just visited orthopedic doctor and after x-ray saw my cartilage is no longer in right knee. Osteoarthritis is now what I have. Wondering if this supplement for joints would be helpful since I have no cartilage? I’m a little confused!
    Thank you for your help.

  12. Heather Pharm.D. says:

    Hey Loretta, sorry to hear about your affection. If there is no cartilage in your knee, the pain and discomfort should be pretty major so it’s surely not easy to go through that…

    Getting to your question, I personally recommend glucosamine & chondroitin supplements for OA, since these are the only compounds that can re-build cartilage. But obviously, things are a lot more complicated if you have no cartilage left. Normally, supplements can’t really re-build cartilages from scratch and in this case, the most common solution is replacement surgery.

    However, I had lots of questions and experiences from my readers throughout the time. And some of them would do anything to avoid surgery, so they tried glucosamine and chondroitin. And according to some of them, the supplements really worked and re-built their cartilage partially. So supplements can help even if there is no cartilage left, but only in some cases. Because on the other hand, I had some people telling me the supplements didn’t work and that they had to go for the surgery in the end.

    So it totally depends and it’s somehow a matter of luck. On paper, supplements cannot re-build cartilages from scratch. But in reality, I had some users telling me they actually did. For this reason, it’s totally up to you. You can give them a try but I cannot guarantee they are going to work. If you do decide to try supplements, here are my top recommended products for OA.

    In case you have any questions, just let me know. I really hope this helps you.

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