The November, 2012 issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing published an article by researchers in Beirut, Lebanon that discusses the widespread use of complementary and alternative therapies among men and women with arthritis.
Professor Nada Alaaeddine, who is the Head of the Regenerative and Inflammation Lab in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of St Joseph, and colleagues assessed the use of alternative and complementary therapies among 250 Lebanese adults aged 20 to 90 with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. Questionnaires completed by the participants provided information on type of therapies used and disease status, including pain intensity, sleeping pattern and activity level, before and after treatment.
Fifty-eight subjects reported the use of complementary or alternative arthritis therapies in addition to conventional medicine. Those who used complementary therapies tended to be younger than nonusers, and were likelier to have osteoarthritis than rheumatoid arthritis. Therapies reported included herbs, exercise, massage, acupuncture, meditation, yoga and dietary supplements. Among participants who reported using herbs, the majority found them to be helpful. Overall, complementary and alternative therapies reduced pain, increased sleep and improved the ability to engage in daily activities. Side effects, which were reported in a minority of subjects, were not considered serious and were reversible.
"Our study underlines the importance of healthcare professionals being knowledgeable about the potential use of CAT when providing medical care to patients with arthritis" Dr Alaaeddine commented. "Complementary and alternative therapy use is increasing and this study shows that it provided self-reported benefits for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis."
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