A popular lubricant developed in 1953 is making waves as an arthritis "treatment" even though there is no scientific evidence behind this claim.
Thousands of people around the world swear that WD-40 (short for water displacement - 40th attempt), a rust-prevention product created by chemist Norm Larsen, has helped them cope with arthritis pain and stiffness. Users claim the household lubricant works miracles if sprayed on stiff knees, hips, and wrists.
Golfer Eric McKaig is one of them. The 70-year-old retired sales manager and former professional football player said the product has put an end to years of suffering. He got arthritis seven years ago and has tried a lot of painkillers and supplements for quick relief but to no avail.
His 78-year-old friend Ron Andrew told McKaig about his secret. Since then, the two claim they have found instant relief.
"It's been an absolute godsend for me. WD-40 has given me a hell of a lot of relief. A few weeks ago, I was even running around the garden with my grandson. I haven't been able to do that for about three years," McKaig said.
"There was a slope at my local golf course that used to really hurt my knees. But within a few days of spraying WD-40 it didn't hurt nearly as much. I only sprayed it three or four times and I've been fine since. It was unbelievable," Andrew added.
Although WD-40 has thousands of uses such as protecting tools from rust, silencing squeaky hinges, and removing crayon marks from most surfaces, the manufacturer stressed that it is a household product not a miracle cure for arthritis. In response to queries from users, it issued this statement:
"WD-40 is not a medical product. We would never recommend to people that they spray WD-40 onto the skin. Our recommendation is to see your GP (general practitioner) for expert advice on alleviating arthritis."
Doctors say the reason why people think WD-40 works is because of the placebo effect - meaning if you sincerely believe something will work, sometimes it does but only temporarily. That positive effect may be reinforced by the cooling effect of WD-40 that is similar to other topical painkillers or due to improved blood circulation when users massage the product into their skin.
Arthritis expert Professor Robert Moots from Liverpool University said a lubricant similar to WD-40 is used to treat stiff joints. Unlike WD-40, however, the treatment is injected into the joints not merely sprayed.
"By spraying the outside of the knee with WD-40 I doubt if any would actually get into the joint. I've no doubt people who use it do feel better but it's probably only a simple placebo effect," Moots explained.
To top it off, arthritis is characterized by flare-ups and remissions. A remission is the absence of symptoms that occur for no known reason in 30 percent of arthritis patients. Thus, people who feel better after using WD-40 may actually be experiencing a remission.
"To date, no credible scientific studies have shown any benefit from the use of WD-40 for arthritis. In fact, there may be cumulative harmful effects. The manufacturer's warning indicates that contact with skin and vapors should be avoided. WD-40 contains petroleum distillates, as do gasoline and oil. Problems ranging from mild skin rash to severe allergic reactions have been reported. Prolonged exposure can cause cancer and other serious health problems," warned Dr. Katherine Poelhmann, author of "Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection."
If you have arthritis, don't waste time on questionable remedies. While there is no cure for the disease, painful symptoms can be controlled with the right medication. One popular product is Flexcerin that helps soothe inflamed joints, relieves swelling, and restores flexibility and mobility. Check out http://www.flexcerin.com for details.