For osteoarthritis, the world’s most common cause of joint pain, people are increasingly turning to alternative medicine. (This is helped by major drugs being yanked from the shelf for safety reasons.) Many herbs have the ability to relieve pain and build cartilage in joints. One that has surfaced of late is called ethylsulfonylmethane, or MSM for short.
Studies have shown that there is much promise to be found. MSM has been found to significantly reduce pain and improve the joint function in people who have osteoarthritis of the knee. One study involved 50 patients, half of whom received six grams of MSM every day for three months (a high dose). The others got placebo.
When we speak of improved pain and better function, we speak in percentages. Figures unearthed in this study hint at MSM’s underlying healing power. The patients on MSM supplements had 12% less pain and 14% more knee function than those on placebo. They also experienced less stiffness in their knees. Based on this and a few other reports, MSM may be considered useful for short-term relief in osteoarthritis.
MSM is a natural substance that contains sulfur. It’s found in some vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and meat. It is also found in small amounts within our blood. When people have low levels of MSM, they might experience joint and muscle pain. And that’s because of what it does in your body: it’s a natural pain-reliever. MSM stops the transmission of pain impulses that flow along your nerves. When you combine this with its anti-inflammatory abilities, it’s easy to see why MSM could battle conditions such as osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia.
MSM may also ease muscle spasms, increase blood flow, and strengthen cartilage. Cartilage is the substance within joints that cushions everything, preventing injury. A final link between MSM and our joints is that the level of sulfur is lower in arthritic areas than in healthy joints. Since MSM is a sulfur compound, it could be delivering much-needed sulfur to the joints.
You can find MSM easily now in the form of a tablet, cream or gel. Oral doses start at about one gram per day. On the shelves of most pharmacies these days, MSM promises to help relieve pain, swelling, and the burning sensation that comes with arthritic points. The best evidence so far exists for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. In fact, since the early 1990s, MSM has been available for this treatment. If pain is afflicting your knee, or other joints, and you are still looking for relief, MSM seems worth a shot.