Research: SOEKEN,

Listed in Issue 106

Abstract

SOEKEN, Complementary Medicine Program, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Kernan Hospital Mansion, 2200 Kernan Drive, Baltimore, MD 21207, USA, ksoeken@compmed.umm.edu, has reviewed (24 references) the evidence for the efficacy of selected complementary and alternative therapies in arthritis-related pain.

Background

The aim of the study was to examine what is known about the efficacy of selected CAM therapies against pain related to arthritic conditions.

Methodology

Results specifically related to pain were retrieved from review articles on acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal remedies, and selected nutritional supplements.

Results

There is evidence to support the pain-relieving effect of acupuncture; Devil's Claw, avocado and soybean fats, Phytodolor and capsaicin; and the supplements chondroitin, glucosamine, and SAMe. All these were effective against pain from osteoarthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis it has been shown that supplementation with gamma-linolenic acid is effective as pain relief.

Conclusion

Research shows support for some of the most popular CAM therapies for the relief of pain related to arthritis. Additional high-quality research is still needed for other therapies, especially some herbal remedies and homeopathy.

References

Soeken KL. Selected CAM therapies for arthritis-related pain: the evidence from systematic reviews. The Clinical Journal of Pain 20 (1): 13-18, Jan-Feb 2004.

Comment

Arthritis is a terribly painful and debilitating condition, which may severely impart upon patients' quality of life. Research regarding non-drug pain-relief approaches, including herbal and nutritional medicine, as well as acupuncture and homeopathy is encouraging. It is to be hoped that these clinical results will be made available to suffering patients at the earliest.

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