Australians with osteoarthritis; the use of and beliefs about complementary and alternative medicines

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Nov;20(4):237-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.08.002. Epub 2014 Aug 20.


Objectives: To investigate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use amongst a cohort of osteoarthritis (OA) sufferers and to explore reasons for use.

Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess CAM use and its relationship with self-rated health status, patient knowledge of OA and attitudes towards OA management.

Results: Sixty-nine percent of respondents (95% CI, 64%-73%) reported that they had tried CAM, with little difference between age groups and genders. Patients who had a better knowledge of their condition and excellent self-rated health were more likely to use CAM. An aversion to the side effects of conventional medicine, failure to engage in exercise, and a belief in the efficacy of CAM were the principal factors underlying use.

Conclusion: As CAM use is a key component of the self-management strategies for a substantial proportion of Australians with OA, users need to be more fully informed about evidence of efficacy.

Keywords: Attitudes; Complementary and alternative medicine; Osteoarthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Complementary Therapies / psychology*
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis / psychology*
  • Osteoarthritis / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires