DMSO: A miracle substance for arthritis?

DMSO has a grand reputation for anti-inflammatory use. Photo: public doman

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2013 — DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) has been used to treat arthritis, general inflammation, skin conditions, eye problems, bunions, fungus issues, calluses, keloid scars, facial tics, scleroderma, shingles, herpes, high blood pressure, bladder infections ― and the list goes on. The anti-inflammatory properties of DMSO have long made it a go-to product for professional athletes, and it has been used extensively for animals, particularly horses.

Those who use it for arthritis swear to the benefits of DMSO. The late actor James Coburn, who was sidelined from acting for years by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), claims he tried every available prescription drug, but cured his RA on his own by using DMSO.


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So why do we not hear more about DMSO from our doctors? As one doctor candidly admitted, “It is inexpensive and there is no money in it.” The doctor went on to say he had a patient with headaches that traditional medications did not help, so on the sly, he prescribed DMSO and it worked.

What is this universally efficacious product? Actually, it is a by-product of the process of converting trees to pulp. DMSO is available in three grades; industrial grade, which is used as a solvent; veterinary grade for use on animals; and medical grade for human usage. DMSO is available by prescription and over-the-counter since it is not controlled by the Food and Drug Administration. Only medical grade is acceptable for human usage.

Many folks apply DMSO topically on joints affected by arthritis. However, extreme caution must be applied to the simple procedure of topical application. DMSO penetrates the skin to go directly to the blood stream, and as a solvent, it takes other chemicals with it. That means that whatever is on the skin when DMSO is applied will be carried directly into the blood stream. Some savvy street drug users have learned to use DMSO as a delivery system for illicit drug use instead of injecting them via a needle. 

The area of application must be cleaned well prior to use. Online research can help establish safe and proper dosage. Interestingly, a prescription anti-inflammatory drug called Pennsaid combines liquid anti-inflammatory agents in a base of alcohol and DMSO and is applied directly to joints affected by arthritis, especially the knees.

One patient, Bob, had been experiencing such bad osteoarthritis in his fingers that he had to stop playing his beloved guitar after 45 years of fun and challenge. His fingers would not comply to his demands.

After trying almost every prescription drug for arthritic inflammation, he agreed to try DMSO for 30 days. Upon the completion of the 30 day trial, Bob reports he can now make a fist, which he was unable to do prior to DMSO therapy, and feels in time, he may return to producing mellifluous sounds from his guitar once again.

However, Bob added a twist. He used the well know anti-inflammatory properties of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), also applied topically, directly after applying the DMSO. Bob is aware the DMSO would drive the EVOO directly into his joint with DMSO as the delivery system.

Bob’s grip is renewed and he claims strong enough that no one could pry his bottle of DMSO or EVOO from his fingers.

 

Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.


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