Talking to Your Doctor about Alternative Therapies for Arthritis

Part of Arthritis For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

At least 40 per cent of people use alternative therapies for arthritis such as acupuncture or homeopathy, but an estimated three-quarters don’t tell their doctors what they’re doing. Talking to your doctor about alternative approaches can be difficult but here are some tips to help you:

  • Begin with the assumption that your doctor is supportive.

  • Ask what he or she knows about the therapy in which you’re interested.

  • If your doctor doesn’t approve of the therapy you’re interested in, ask for a detailed explanation why not.

  • If there’s no time to discuss your alternative therapy during this visit, ask for another appointment.

  • If your doctor does approve of the therapy, ask if the approach is available on the NHS. If you have private health insurance, see if they will cover the costs of your chosen complementary treatment.

  • If your physician refuses to discuss alternatives with you and/or refuses to work with you if you’re using a non-conventional approach, think about changing your doctor.