Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear to the joints over a period of time. My first symptom appeared when I was 32 and after I had been doing a lot of machine sewing. My feet swelled up like balloons and my toes looked like cows udders and it was very painful to walk. My GP sent me for an X-ray and I was told that I had osteoarthritis and that the bones in my joints were "crumbling". I was prescribed Voltarol (Diclofenac) which is a Non-Steroid Anti-Inflamatory (NSAID) for the pain. The condition rapidly spread to my hips, shoulders and elbows and I was in constant pain.
So I sent off for some leaflets distributed by the ARC (Arthritis and Rhuematism Council) hoping that they would help me understand the condition and perhaps give tips on how to cope with the pain. But they made very depressing reading, as they basically said that you just had to learn to live with the pain! This depressed me so much that I cried at the thought that I might have to put up with that level of pain for the rest of my life.
But I wasn't prepared to just give up and learn to live with the pain. So I went to the library and got all the books I could find on the subject and proceeded to read them all. They made very interesting reading, as quite a few of them recommended adopting a vegetarian diet to reduce the progress of the condition and to alleviate the pain associated with it. One book also suggested taking a mixture of Red Wine Vinegar (I think), honey and hot water with every meal.
So I cut out all meat except for chicken once a week and started making a lot of vegetarian soups, which were mostly made with vegetables and pulses such as beans, chick peas and lentils. I also made all sorts of other vegetarian dishes and always ate a side dish of green salad with them - and took the Vinegar and Honey mixture, which surprisingly enough I quite enjoyed! And within a month or so, I started to feel much better. Not only did my arthritis stop causing me pain but I felt fitter than I had ever felt!
Since then, whenever anyone has complained of suffering painful arthritis, I have heartily recommended that they also try a vegetarian diet and cut out all red meat. But unfortunately no-one has ever bothered to take that advice: instead they just keep taking more and more anti-inflamatories, which can and do prove fatal sometimes, by causing internal bleeding of the stomach!
I am now 58 and can say with absolute honesty that I very rarely suffer any arthritic pain whatsoever nowadays, even though I stopped sticking to a strict vegetarian diet many years ago, when I went back to full time employment! I no longer take anti-inflamatories and all I do instead is avoid eating large portions of red meat; avoid eating meat at all more than about two or three times a week at the most; avoid eating tomatoes or meals made with a lot of tomato and avoid eating oranges or drinking orange fruit juices. But if I have ever allowed myself to eat more meat than stated or have foolishly eaten a lot of tomatoey foods, I always notice the effects in the next day or so, when my joints start feeling stiff and slightly painful again.
So if anyone has osteo-arthritis, I strongly urge them to try a vegatrian diet! But do study up on it a bit first, rather than just cutting out red meat, as you have to know a bit about eating the proper combination of foods to ensure that you get the full set of amino acids that are naturally found in red meat and a good overall level of nutrition, including all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs on a daily basis. But it is not that difficult to understand and to learn how to make good balanced vegetarian meals - and I can assure you that the benefits far outweigh any extra thought you may have to put in to preparing your meals! So please, do yourselves and your joints a HUGE favour and try it!