What do I need to know about alternative and complementary arthritis therapies?

The terms alternative medicine and complementary medicine refer to therapies that are not considered mainstream. This means that they are not yet common medical practice or that they haven't met testing guidelines required by the US Food and Drug Administration.

There are so many types of therapies that you need to be careful before you use one. Many are gimmicky and fraudulent - a waste of your money and potentially damaging to your health. More than any other condition, arthritis is a target for unusual approaches. Many are not approved in the US and doctors advise against them, including copper bracelets and magnet therapy. On the other hand, some have worked effectively in treating osteoarthritis. The safest approach is to keep every member of your treatment team, from your doctor to your pharmacist, informed of any alternative and complementary treatments you are thinking about using before you give them a try.

See some of the complementary and alternative therapies in the list below to learn more about how they may work to help osteoarthritis.

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