Osteoarthritis (OA) or Degenerative Disc Disease of the spine (DDD) is the most common form of arthritis. It is characterized by loss of cartilage (or cushion) in our joint space and can be easily diagnosed through an x-ray.

X-ray of knee for osteoarthritis

Typically, the pain we experience from these conditions is worse with activity and better at rest, while the stiffness after sitting for prolonged periods resolves quickly once we start moving. There are several underlying causes for OA such as genetics, trauma to a joint, overuse of a joint, and underlying inflammatory arthritis such as Rheumatoid.

x-ray of knee

What can I do for my Osteoarthritis?

As of yet, we don’t have any medications or treatment approaches that can correct the damage that has already occurred. So although there are many supplements that suggest benefit, nothing at this time has been confirmed through repeated trials. Subsequently, just like in other matters of health and contentment, the choices we make matter . . . greatly.

It’s hard to be happy if we are hurting, and the more unhappy we become, typically, the more we hurt. But, how is that relevant to arthritis? Well, just so happens that many of the choices that we make when we are hurting or unhappy, such as high-sugar diet and comfort food, lack of physical activity, alcohol, and nicotine can also accelerate the cartilage loss in our joints. Therefore, we need to make better choices.

Daily choices that matter the most if we have or want to minimize Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Disc Disease include:

  • What we eat and drink—this affects our blood sugar and overall degree of inflammation
  • Our level of activity—impacts our muscle tone and strength but also our blood sugar and weight
  • Watching our weight—for every pound we gain, we add four pounds of pressure to our knee joints and six pounds of pressure to our hips joints.
  • Alcohol and Nicotine consumption—conflicting reports but the consensus is that excessive use of either is damaging to the cartilage.
  • The level of stress we put on our joints—stretching, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, tai chi, walking, ellipticals, and biking will all be safer on our joints than running or other high-impact activities.


But, chances are, if you are like me and most of the other 7,577,130,400 people in the world and aren’t already making the better choice on a daily basis, it’s going to take some time to get there . . . and that’s okay. Learning how to #LiveYourValue is a process.

So, as with other medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, until our choices consistently align with our values, we might need some help. A bridge, if you will, to help get us from point A to point B. Until you have made it to the other side, please do talk with your health care provider about the best available treatment options for you: treatment options that might help reduce the pain you are experiencing so that you can start making those better choices that matter the most for your Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Disc Disease.

Here are some of the most common treatment options.

Typical traditional treatment options for Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Disc Disease include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Physical Therapy
  • Anti-Inflammatories
  • Acetaminophen
  • Narcotic analgesics
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Neuromodulators (Gabapentin, Lyrica, Cymbalta)
  • Joint injections (steroid or hyaluronic acid-gel shots)

Typical complimentary/alternative treatment options for Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Disc Disease include:

  • Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Omega-3 fatty acids/fish oil
  • Curcumin
  • Turmeric
  • Devil’s claw
  • Willow bark
  • Boswellia
  • Bromelain
  • CBD oil

In time, as you make more and more #LiveYourValue choices, your need for these meds and supplements will diminish.

Remember, today and every day, live your value one choice at a time.

-Dr. D