Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Complementary Medicine for Arthritis

Complementary Medicine for Arthritis

Overview

A lot of people use some form of complementary medicine to treat osteoarthritis. These treatments are often used along with standard care to help relieve their arthritis symptoms.

Some of these treatments may help you move more easily and deal with the stress and pain of arthritis. But in some cases, not much is known about how safe they are or how well they may work.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any complementary treatments you use or want to use. The doctor can tell you about the possible benefits and side effects of these treatments and whether these treatments may interfere with your standard care. For example, some diet supplements and herbal medicines may cause problems if you take them with another medicine.

Complementary treatments

Acupuncture and massage.

Some people find treatments like acupuncture and massage helpful for their knee arthritis. But they may not help any more than a placebo (fake treatment) does.

Mind-body practices.

Mind-body practices, such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, can help reduce stress and relax your mind and muscles. Stress can make pain worse. So learning to control stress and relax may help with pain.

Taping of the knee.

Taping uses tape that sticks to the knee to help keep the kneecap in place and relieve pain. You can do taping at home. But first have your doctor or physical therapist show you the right way to put it on.

Braces for the knee.

Braces can help shift weight off the part of your knee that hurts. It's not clear how well these work, but there isn't a lot of risk in trying them.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

TENS uses a mild electrical current to reduce pain.

Dietary supplements.

Many dietary supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, have been tried. But there is not evidence that they help much with arthritis pain or stiffness. Turmeric is a supplement that is being studied and may have some benefit.

How safe is complementary medicine?

One of the risks of using complementary medicine is that you might use this kind of treatment instead of going to your regular doctor. Complementary medicine should be in addition to treatment from your doctor. Otherwise you may miss important treatment that could help you feel better or keep your condition from getting worse.

Some natural products may be safe when you take them on their own. But they may not be safe if you have other medical problems. And they could be dangerous when combined with another medicine you take. To be safe, always check with your doctor before you use any new natural products or supplements.

Natural products also can vary widely in how strong they are. And they may contain harmful things not listed on the label. Your doctor or practitioner may be able to recommend a brand you can trust.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Types of Complementary Medicine

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

The Cigna Group Information

About Cigna Healthcare Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers The Cigna Group Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap Cookie Settings

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details