A pair of studies in the same journal (Arthritis and Rheumatism) suggest that acupuncture and an extract of turmeric (a spice found in curry) may both offer significant pain relief to arthritis patients.
A German research team found that a combination of acupuncture and conventional medicine can increase the quality of life of osteoarthritis patients.
Meanwhile, American researchers found that a special turmeric extract, composed largely of chemicals called curcuminoids, can prevent both acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis.
In experiments on rats, the turmeric extract appeared to block inflammatory pathways associated with rheumatoid arthritis. As for acupuncture, the study of some 3,500 subjects showed that chronic osteoarthritis patients who received it in addition to their more traditional care showed marked improvement, with only 5 percent experiencing minor side effects.
Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the United States, is a progressive degeneration of bone cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an immunological disorder leading to painful inflammation of the lining of the joints.
Nearly one in five Americans, a total of 46 million, suffers from some form of arthritis. Another 23 million have undiagnosed chronic joint pain. Some 40 percent of arthritis patients in the United States have turned to alternative medicine to help them with their pain.