James S. Grober, MD

Cigna Behavioral Health

2 Penn Plaza

11th Floor




Osteoarthritis: Complementary Therapies Reviewed

February 01, 2003

ABSTRACT: Many patients with osteoarthritis (OA) try such complementary therapies as special diets, nutritional and herbal supplements, yoga, t'ai chi, magnets, and acupuncture-but only 40% of these patients tell their physicians. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can produce at least symptomatic relief; in addition, glucosamine (1500 mg/d) may increase or stabilize cartilage in osteoarthritic knees. Alert patients to the potential toxicities of many herbal remedies, as well as the risks of harmful drug interactions and possible contaminants and impurities. Yoga postures may have a beneficial effect on knee OA; t'ai chi may reduce joint pain and swelling and increase mobility. Small studies have shown that applied pulsed electromagnetic fields can reduce pain and improve function in patients with chronic knee OA. Acupuncture has also been shown, in small studies, to alleviate the pain of OA. Autologous chondrocyte transplantation was recently approved for treatment of knee OA. The efficacy and safety of various types of gene therapy are currently being evaluated.

Osteoarthritis: Practical Nondrug Steps to Successful Therapy

January 01, 2003

The diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) is primarily clinical. Key historical clues to idiopathic OA include patient age greater than 45 years, joint pain that increases with activity and is relieved with rest, morning stiffness of 30 minutes duration or less, and involvement of one or more of the following: hips, knees, cervical or lumbar spine, basilar thumb joints, interphalangeal joints of the hands, midfoot joints, and first metatarsophalangeal joints.

Osteoarthritis: How to Make Optimal Use of Medications

January 01, 2003

ABSTRACT: Topical agents can provide temporary relief from osteoarthritis symptoms with little or no risk. Acetaminophen is first-line oral therapy. Be alert for risk factors for NSAID-induced GI toxicity, such as concurrent use of prescription and OTC agents. Tramadol, narcotic analgesics, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants are options when NSAIDs are ineffective or contraindicated. Intra-articular injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronan are appropriate for patients who have a single joint exacerbation. Total knee and total hip arthroplasty are considered the most effective surgical interventions.