Herbal medicine is the most common alternative therapy, which is used by up to 83 per cent of arthritis sufferers, followed by exercise, massage, acupuncture, yoga and meditation, and dietary supplements.
Two-thirds of people said the alternative therapies were beneficial, and helped reduce pain and improved sleep and activity. Around 43 per cent said they felt no pain after they started to use an alternative therapy, while 66 per cent said they were able to sleep all night.
Researchers discovered the high take-up of alternative therapies when they interviewed 250 patients, who were suffering from rheumatoid or osteo arthritis. The level was a surprise, because 59 per cent admitted they hadn't told their doctor they were using an alternative approach.
(Source: Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2012; 21: 3198-204).