Other types of treatment that may
help you control some of the symptoms of
rheumatoid arthritis include:
Complementary and alternative medicine therapies
Although not proved in scientific studies, complementary therapies are
used by many people to relieve symptoms and
improve their quality of life. These therapies include:
- Acupuncture. This treatment is used to
relieve pain and treat certain health conditions. It is done by inserting very
thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body.
- Massage. It can help relieve stress and reduce
pain. But don't massage swollen or painful joints.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
This therapy uses electrical current delivered through electrodes to
the skin for pain relief.
- Herbs and dietary supplements. If you decide to
use herbs or dietary supplements, be sure to tell your doctor.
- Herbs such as the oil of evening primrose, borage seed, or blackcurrant seed may help relieve symptoms and improve function without significant side effects. Another herb called Tripterygium wilfordii (thunder god vine) also seems to relieve symptoms but may have side effects such as increased infection.7
- Essential fatty acids (such as fish oil) may provide some
relief of symptoms.8
- The dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin are sometimes used to
try to relieve joint pain. But there is not evidence that they are effective for rheumatoid arthritis.4
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
June 4, 2012
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