If you are suffering from what medicine calls 'arthritis', you could have any one of a hundred different kinds of illness, including everything from the most common - osteoarthritis and the crippling rheumatoid arthritis - to gout and fibromyalgia. While organisations such as the Arthritis Foundation pooh-pooh all but the most widely used conventional treatments, the sheer pandemic proportions of arthritis - one in three in America and one in five in Britain - and the wide variety of different kinds of arthritis make it clear that considering other solutions is necessary and desirable.
Front-line drug therapy, which includes the use of aspirin and NSAIDs, used to reduce inflammation in the joints, can produce side-effects such as bleeding in the stomach. Likewise, second-line treatment in the form of slow-acting antirheumatic drugs (SAARDs) such as gold, methotrexate and sulphasalazine, traditionally prescribed to advanced rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to slow the progress of the disease, bring with them a host of side-effects, including ulcers and life-threatening gastrointestinal problems.
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