Natural Cures for Arthritis

Why People Consider Natural Cures

Complementary and alternative medicine represent a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered part of conventional medicine. People turn to alternative therapies for relief of a number of conditions, including arthritis. There are various reasons why some people consider using alternative therapies to treat arthritis:
  • Conventional treatment is not working as well as they would like
  • A wish for greater relief of symptoms and/or disability
  • Issues with side effects of arthritis medications
  • A desire to reduce some of the stress that comes from living with a chronic illness and to cope better
  • A belief that alternative therapies are safer and more "natural"
  • Widespread advertising and attractive claims for many alternative therapy products, such as claims that these products are a natural remedy for arthritis.

Suggestions When Looking for Natural Remedies for Arthritis

There are a number of things to think about if you are considering any alternative arthritis treatments:
  • Make sure you have been diagnosed with arthritis by a healthcare provider who has substantial conventional medical training and experience with this condition. Arthritis can be hard to diagnose, since there is no single test for it and its symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions.
  • Proven conventional treatments for arthritis should not be replaced with natural treatment that is unproven. For some types of arthritis, this is especially important. For example, during the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis, people need to be treated with conventional medicine. Rheumatoid arthritis research scientists believe that these early stages are the time when the most damage to joints and bones occurs.
  • Tell your healthcare provider(s) about any supplements or medications (prescription or over-the-counter) that you are using or considering. Prescribed medicines may need to be adjusted if you are also using an alternative therapy. Supplements can interact with medications (whether prescription or over-the-counter) and can affect how the body responds to them. Pharmacists can also be a helpful source of information about dietary supplements, though their advice is not a substitute for that of your healthcare provider.
  • If you decide to use supplements, what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some botanical supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or prescription drugs, and some have been found to have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing, or people who are thinking of using an alternative therapy to treat a child, should use extra caution and be sure to consult their healthcare providers.
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