What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative arthritis, is a disease of the entire joint involving the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and underlying bone. The breakdown of these tissues eventually leads to pain and joint stiffness. The joints most commonly affected are the knees, hips, and those in the hands and spine. The specific causes of OA are unknown, but are believed to be a result of both mechanical and molecular events in the affected joint. Disease onset is gradual and usually begins after the age of 40. There is currently no cure for OA. Treatment for OA focuses on relieving symptoms and improving function, and can include a combination of patient education, physical therapy, weight control, use of medications, and eventually total joint replacement.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that results in a chronic, systemic (whole body) inflammatory disorder which manifests itself in multiple joints of the body. RA causes premature mortality, disability and compromised quality of life in the industrialized and developing world. The inflammatory process primarily affects the lining of the joints (synovial membrane), but can also affect other organs. The inflamed synovium leads to erosions of the cartilage and bone and sometimes joint deformity. Pain, swelling, and redness are common joint manifestations. Although the causes are unknown, RA is believed to be the result of a faulty immune response. RA can begin at any age and is associated with fatigue and prolonged stiffness after rest. There is no cure for RA but medications and surgery, good self-management, including exercise, are known to reduce pain and disability.
The use of essential oils is becoming more and more prevalent for various health conditions and can be used in many ways to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. Massage, aromatherapy, baths and compresses are the choice vehicles for the use of essential oils.
Essential oils for pain would be eucalyptus, rosemary and clove bud for chronic arthritis sufferers.
Essential oils for inflammation reduction and relieving fluid retention would be juniper berry, cypress, grapefruit and lemon.
Essential oils for pain and essential oils for sleep would be lavender and Roman chamomile.
New research is revealing the benefits of using certain essential oils for arthritis. These oils include ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and certain varieties of frankincense (boswellia carterii and boswellia serrata).