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The Times: Dr Mark Porter. Acupuncture is best alternative therapy for Osteoarthritis

Dr Mark Porter

The Times's medical correspondent, Dr Mark Porter MBE, looks at the best alternative arthritis remedies.

- 6 million people in the UK have painful osteoarthritis (OA) in one or both knees. - Around 2 million show signs of it in their hip and 8 million have OA of the spine. - Many more suffer in the small joints of the hand, particularly the thumb.

Numbers are likely to double in the next 20 years because of the combination of an ageing population and our spreading waistlines.

Whilst there has been medical advancement in joint replacement, there hasn't been a big advance in drug treatment.  Patients are likely to be offered the same type of painkillers or anti-inflammatories as 20 years ago.

Many patients turn to alternative remedies to ease their pain, but which are the best to try?

Arthritis Research UK recently undertook a large study to ascertain their effectiveness and rated them accordingly.  Here are the results:

- Aromatherapy, reflexology, craniosacral therapy - no stars - Fish oil, glucosamine - 1* star - Chondroitin, copper bracelets, magnets, yoga - 2** stars - T'ai Chi - 4**** stars - Acupuncture - 5***** stars

Acupuncture was the clear winner with a full 5 stars.

Acupuncture has now been approved by NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) as a treatment that should be available on the NHS.

If you are suffering from the aches and pains of osteoarthritis ask your GP to refer you for a course of acupuncture.

If you would like to find out more about how acupuncture could help you please get in touch: or 07794 621027.

Subscribers to The Times can see the full article here:


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