In the News
Vitamins & Minerals
By Kimberly Beauchamp, ND
With limited options for arthritis pain relief, many people are turning to nondrug alternatives. But how well do they work? A study out of Italy shows that a spa therapy combination of mud packs and mineral water baths might do the trick.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, leading to pain and disability that can interfere with everyday life. Drug therapies aimed to relieve arthritis symptoms like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin) and COX-2 inhibitors (celecoxib) don’t come without a price: NSAIDs can cause serious gastrointestinal side effects and some COX-2 inhibitors may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Analgesics like acetaminophen can also be used for mild to moderate arthritis pain, but taking higher amounts long-term can cause liver damage.
People in the spa therapy group reported significant improvements on all measures of pain and functionality which lasted throughout the entire study period, whereas no significant improvements were seen in the usual care group. Pain reliever intake was significantly reduced until the sixth month after treatment in the spa group only. Almost 90% of the people rated the spa treatment as “good to excellent,” and only a few experienced minor, short-lived side effects. “Spa therapy can represent a useful backup to pharmacologic treatment of knee osteoarthritis or a valid alternative for patients who do not tolerate pharmacologic treatments,” concluded the study’s authors.
Why it works
(Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2010;89:125–32)
Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She cofounded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, and now sees patients in East Greenwich and Wakefield. Inspired by her passion for healthful eating and her own young daughters, Dr. Beauchamp is currently writing a book about optimizing children’s health through better nutrition.
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