Believe it or not, a standard non-invasive arthritis treatment rests in roosters. Yes, those crowing animals from the farm.
The sugar molecule hyaluronan is a naturally occurring substance found in humans’ joint fluid, eyes, connective tissue, and umbilical cords. However, hyaluronan is also found in rooster combs — the red flap of skin on a rooster’s head. The molecule is extracted from the combs due to its therapeutic nature, which is why hyaluronan treatment is sometimes called rooster comb therapy.
Hyaluronan has several current uses in the medical field; it protects the eyes during surgery, helps prevent post-surgery scarring, and provides joints with a lubricant to create better cushioning and relieve pain (like greasing gears to improve movement and reduce grinding).
Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the elderly. When someone is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it means the hyaluronic acid in their joint fluid is breaking down, which can cause stiffness and discomfort. By using hyaluronic acid injections, or viscosupplementation, you are merely “greasing the gears.”
Hyaluronic acid injections are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating osteoarthritis of the knee, but some doctors use the therapy on other creaky joints, too. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the success of viscosupplementation may depend on whom you ask:
“While studies of hyaluronic acid injections have occasionally yielded disappointing results, many doctors who treat osteoarthritis say that the weight of scientific evidence – and their own clinical experience – suggests that a shot in the knee can produce significant relief for some patients.”
Although the treatment has displayed different levels of success in helping ease joint pain, lab and clinical research suggests that hyaluronic acid may also reduce the production of inflammatory compounds, and assist in the preservation of cartilage.
The National Institutes of Health is calling for further study, but also pointed out success in using the treatment of osteoarthritis. We offer “rooster comb” therapy at the MD Health and Aesthetic Clinic because we have seen it help many people. Contact us to learn more about our pain management services.