Complementary and Alternative Therapy Beneficial for Arthritis
Complementary and alternative therapy (CAT) consisting of exercise, massage, acupuncture, and dietary supplements has been used to relieve the symptoms of patients suffering from arthritis. In a study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, researchers show that about a quarter of patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis benefit from CAT in addition to conventional therapy consisting of drugs.
Lead author Professor Nada Alaaeddine, Head of the Regenerative and Inflammation Lab in the Faculty of Medicine, University of St Joseph, in Beirut, Lebanon states that it is important for health providers to be aware of the potential benefits of alternative treatments for patients with arthritis. On the other hand, she also believes that patients using CAT must inform their doctors about their using these treatments to make sure that there is no conflict in their current therapy.
The results of their study indicate that about 2/3 of patients using CAT reported improvements in pain intensity, activity levels and sleep patterns. Most of the patients who used CAT were significantly younger than those who did not use them, and that most of them suffered from osteoarthritis.
The most common alternative treatment used was herbal therapy (83%). Others used exercise, massage, acupuncture, yoga and meditation, and dietary supplements. However, more than half of the patients did not inform their healthcare provider about their use. Few minor side effects were reported, including gastrointestinal and skin problems.