Alternative and Complementary Therapies

acupuncture can ease osteoarthritisSometimes the term “alternative” treatment can mean different things to different people. Alternative treatment typically means anything that might be beyond the normal academic realm of medicine. Many people seek various benefits from alternative or complementary treatments. In fact, “about 60% of those who have arthritis have used, or are using, some form of complementary medicine.”

Supplements are a form of alternative therapy that many turn to. There are about numerous natural supplements that can help with inflammation and joint pain.

  • One herbal remedy is Chondroitin Sulfate, which is a substance that is found naturally in cartilage and bone. Chondroitin sulfate is known to decrease inflammation and pain, as well as improve joint function.
  • Glucosamine is another natural remedy. It is reputed for slowing down cartilage deterioration as well as relieving joint pain. Glucosamine is a by-product of the shells of lobsters and crabs.
  • Supplements that have been extracted from avocado and soybean oils have also been known to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture is another form of alternative therapy. It is an eastern tradition that has become popular in the west. Acupuncture works by pinpointing (literally) the areas of pain and stimulating other areas of the body to reduce that pain. There is not a lot of evidence for the validity of acupuncture; however, that may be because it has taken so long for physicians to recognize its benefits.

Another type of therapy that has been gaining attention for treating osteoarthritis is pool therapy. Most sufferers of osteoarthritis already know that a warm bath can be beneficial in relieving the pain of osteoarthritis. In pool therapy, patients submerge themselves (often up to the neck) and perform exercises without the usual amount of pain. These exercises are often easier to do in the warm water because the water provides buoyancy which relieves the joints of the weight of the body. Pool therapy, or “floating retraction,” allows the joints to loosen and extend in ways that would not be possible on a floor or mat. In the water, most patients stretch out, perform water aerobics, and even do Tai Chi. These are just a few alternative therapies for treating osteoarthritis. There are many other alternative or complementary options. Some include eating specific foods that have been known to reduce inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.