Context: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of chronic low-back pain (CLBP) and can be managed with drug therapy and physiotherapy. Homeopathic remedies may assist managing OA; however, research that supports their effectiveness is limited.
Objectives: The study aimed to investigate the efficacy of a homeopathic complex in combination with physiotherapy in treating CLBP due to OA.
Design: The study was a 6-wk, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot.
Setting: The study took place in a private physiotherapy practice in Gauteng, South Africa.
Participants: The participants were 30 males and females, aged 45-75 y, who were receiving physiotherapy treatment for OA of the lumbar spine from a therapist in private practice.
Interventions: The intervention and control groups both received standard physiotherapy treatment-massage, thermal therapy, and joint mobilization-every 2 wk. In addition, the treatment group received a homeopathic complex-6cH each of Arnica montana, Bryonia alba, Causticum, Kalmia latifolia, Rhus toxicodendron, and Calcarea fluorica. The control group a received a placebo.
Outcome measures: The primary measure was a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain. Secondary outcome measures included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), an evaluation of each patient's range of motion (ROM) of the lumbar spine, and a determination of each patient's need for pain medication.
Results: Intergroup analysis revealed that the treatment group significantly outperformed the control group with regard to pain, daily functioning, and ROM. No difference existed between the groups, however, in the need for conventional pain medication.
Conclusions: The study was too small to be conclusive, but results suggest the homeopathic complex, together with physiotherapy, can significantly improve symptoms associated with CLBP due to OA.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02207998.