Treatments intended to repair joints naturally are targeting the repair and nourishment of damaged cartilage because they are no longer capable of adequately cushioning adjoining joint bones. Disorders that slowly break down cartilage and bone, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, are routinely treated with pain medications, inflammatory reducers and muscle relaxers. When joints degenerate completely and are no longer functional, surgery may be needed to replace crumbling joints with artificial joints made with polyethylene and metal or oxidized zirconium.
Currently, the latest research in joint repair concerns stem cells and their ability to develop into replacement cartilage outside the body. So far, this technique has had limited success but scientists are hopeful that this procedure will one day eliminate the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. In the meantime, many patients with joint diseases are exploring optional treatments that repair joints with natural substances instead of synthetic medications.
Osteoarthritis commonly affects knee joints and makes walking painful. Intra-articular injections of a collagen component called hyaluronic acid seem to increase the ability of synovial fluid to lubricate cartilage. Synovial fluid is responsible for hydrating joints and nourishing cartilage so that the joints remain supple and bones do not rub together when flexed or bent. This “viscosupplementation” is a recent option for people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee and represents a beneficial way to repair joints naturally without resorting to strong medications or surge