Some common complementary and alternative treatments that have shown promise for rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Plant oils. The seeds of evening primrose, borage and black currant contain a type of fatty acid that may help with rheumatoid arthritis pain and morning stiffness. Side effects may include nausea, diarrhea and gas. Some plant oils can cause liver damage or interfere with medications, so check with your doctor first.
- Fish oil. Some preliminary studies have found that fish oil supplements may reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain and stiffness. Side effects can include nausea, belching and a fishy taste in the mouth. Fish oil can interfere with medications, so check with your doctor first.
- Tai chi. This movement therapy involves gentle exercises and stretches combined with deep breathing. Many people use tai chi to relieve stress in their lives. Small studies have found that tai chi may reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain. When led by a knowledgeable instructor, tai chi is safe. But don't do any moves that cause pain.
Research on other supplements, such as ginger, green tea and turmeric, are still in the early stages, but preliminary studies show they may be beneficial in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Oct. 29, 2014
- Rheumatoid arthritis. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/rheumatoid_arthritis/. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Handout on health: Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Rheumatic_Disease/default.asp. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/conditions-treatments/disease-center/rheumatoid-arthritis/. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Living with arthritis. American Occupational Therapy Association. https://www.aota.org/en/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/Adults/Arthritis.aspx. Accessed Sept. 4, 2014.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and complementary health approaches. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/RA/getthefacts.htm?lang=en. Accessed Sept. 4, 2014.
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