Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Many people use alternative remedies for arthritis, but there is little reliable evidence to support the use of many of these products. The most promising alternative remedies for arthritis include:

  • Acupuncture. This therapy uses fine needles inserted at specific points on the skin to reduce many types of pain, including that caused by some types of arthritis.
  • Glucosamine. Although study results have been mixed, it now appears that glucosamine works no better than placebo. However, glucosamine and the placebo both relieved arthritis pain better than taking nothing, particularly in people who have moderate to severe pain.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Using a small device that produces mild electrical pulses, TENS therapy stimulates nerves near the aching joint and may interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
  • Yoga or tai chi. The slow, stretching movements associated with yoga and tai chi may help improve joint flexibility and range of motion in people with some types of arthritis.
Jan. 22, 2013