Expert GP provides hope for those with arthritis whose lives are left on hold
While the NHS typically aims to provide elective surgeries – such as joint replacements – within 18 weeks (Versus Rehab 2022), the added strain of Covid-19 on NHS services has caused considerable delays.
Recent NHS England figures show that more than 5.3 million people are waiting for a routine operation, the highest number since records began in 2007 (NHS England 2021). This includes an estimated 100,000 patients with arthritis who are awaiting joint replacement or resurfacing surgeries (The Lancet 2021).
The GP’s view
Alastair Dickson, a GP with a special interest in rheumatology, said: ‘As a GP, I am often responsible for referring patients to an orthopaedic surgeon if it is suspected that a joint replacement or resurfacing surgery will be of benefit to them. This may be the case if, having tried lifestyle changes and self-management, their pain affects their mobility or ability to lead a normal lifestyle.’
While timely access to joint replacement surgery is important to help improve the quality of life for those with severe osteoarthritis (OA), steps can be taken in the meantime to help relieve symptoms – while also improving prospective surgery outcomes, Dr Dickson noted.
‘Taking a supplement, alongside increased exercise can help to alleviate pain symptoms. Effective pain management is important in helping patients remain active while awaiting surgery.’
And he added: ‘Analysis of NHS data (Lohan C et al. 2021) showed that patients awaiting surgery on average have much higher needs for effective pain relief and this leads to increased GP and hospital consultations for these patients than those with less severe OA.’
Richard, aged 53 and from Hertfordshire, first noticed worrying symptoms following an apparently minor injury. He said: ‘Since breaking a finger five years ago, I started to notice pain and stiffness in my right hand, which would worsen during the winter months as the cold weather set in. More recently, the joints in both of my hands have been affected causing uncomfortable aches that would be particularly bad during the mornings.
‘I’m an avid off-road cyclist, so rely on my hands for the safe handling of my bike and found these pains concerning as I’m not ready to slow down yet! Glucosamine supplements did not have any benefit, and, although ibuprofen would help with the symptoms, I was keen to find a long-term solution to help preserve my active lifestyle.
‘A family member recommended I try the new GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger, and within just three weeks I noticed a remarkable improvement. The ache was gone and the general movement of my hands much smoother and pain free, particularly in the mornings where before they were stiff and uncomfortable.'
Richard added: ‘I am relieved to have put a stop to something that I’d worried would only get worse. My hands are feeling better than ever and I’d recommend this supplement to anyone looking for to improve their joint health without relying on painkillers.’
About GOPO® Joint Health Plus Ginger
It is the first supplement available in the UK to contain the double anti-inflammatory combination of ginger extracts with GOPO® – a galactolipid extracted from the seeds and husks of the rosa-canina plant.
Various robust clinical studies support the benefits of these compounds in reducing joint pain, stiffness and inflammation (Christensen et al. 2008, Schwager et al. 2008, Willich et al. 2010, Winther et al. 2005).
One of these studies, a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial was carried out in Denmark. It showed that taking GOPO® reduced pain in 90 per cent of participants with hand osteoarthritis during everyday manual activities. This resulted in a 33 percent reduction in the use of conventional painkillers.
Lead researcher Kaj Winther, a biochemist, said: ‘GOPO® has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and joint protective properties, even at low concentrations. The lessening of hand pain and stiffness observed in this study suggests that GOPO® may play a key role in the natural management of osteoarthritis in the hand, providing sufferers with improved pain relief and mobility.’
Ginger has also been shown to activate anti-inflammatory proteins which reduce morning joint stiffness, as well as relieving pain and improving mobility in arthritis sufferers (Altman and Marcussen 2001; Black et al. 2010, Zakeri et al. 2011). The dual-action benefits of both compounds make this new combination a formidable force in the future of joint health improvement and preservation, while reducing the need for painkillers.
Altman RD and Marcussen K C (2001). Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 44(11), pp.2531–2538. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11710709/
Black, CD et al. (2010). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused by Eccentric Exercise. The Journal of Pain, 11(9), pp.894–903. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20418184/
Christensen R et al. (2008). Does the hip powder of Rose canina (rosehip) reduce pain in osteoarthritis patients? – a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2008.03.001
Lohan C et al. (2021). Quantifying healthcare resource utilisation for the management of moderate-to-severe chronic pain among patients with osteoarthritis in England: a retrospective analysis of linked primary and secondary care data. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2021.02.498
NHS England website. See: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/rtt-waiting-times/rtt-data-2021-22/ [accessed 4 May 2022]
SchwagerJ et al. (2008). Anti-inflammatory and chondro-protective effects of rose hip powder and its constituent galactolipids GOPO. Poster presentation at the World Congress of Osteoarthritis, Rome, 8-21 September
The Lancet Rheumatology (editorial) (2021). Too long to wait: the impact of COVID-19 on elective surgery. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2665-9913(21)00001-1
Versus Rehab website. See: https://www.versusarthritis.org/policy/our-policy-positions/waiting-times-for-surgery [accessed 4 May 2022]
Willich SN et al. (2010). Rose hip herbal remedy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis – a randomised controlled trial. Phytomedicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19818588/
Winther K et al. (2009). A powder made from seeds and shells of a rose-hip subspecies (Rosa canina) reduces symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. https://doi.org/10.1080/03009740510018624
Zakeri Z et al. (2011). Role of Medicinal Plants in Wound Healing. Research Journal of Medicinal Plants. 5(4), pp.392–405. https://academicjournals.org/article/article1380629850_Zakeri%20et%20al.pdf