Movement and manual therapy for adults with arthritis: 2012 National Health Interview Survey

Complement Ther Med. 2018 Apr;37:96-102. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.02.007. Epub 2018 Mar 2.


Background: The use of manual therapies (chiropractic manipulation, massage) and movement therapies (yoga, tai chi) by people with arthritis may relate to their personal characteristics, and the reported emotional and physical health outcomes may differ by type of therapy.

Objectives: To describe personal characteristics and predictors of manual and movement therapy use for people with arthritis, and to compare the use of manual versus movement therapy to improve physical and emotional health outcomes for people with arthritis.

Methodology: CAM respondents with arthritis were identified from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (n = 8229). Data were analyzed to determine the overall percentages of CAM users, and to examine the associations between use/nonuse using multivariable linear regressions.

Results: White, well-educated, physically active females were more likely to use both types of therapy. Movement therapy users reported positive emotional health outcomes twice as much as manual therapy users and 10% more reported positive physical health outcomes.

Conclusion: While both movement and manual therapies can have positive effects on people with arthritis, it appears that active therapies are more beneficial than passive therapies.

Keywords: Arthritis; CAM; Chiropractic manipulation; Complementary and alternative medicine; Complementary medicine; Disability; Manual; Massage; Movement; NHIS; Pain; Tai chi; Therapy; U.S. Survey; Yoga.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis / therapy*
  • Complementary Therapies* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Yoga
  • Young Adult