What Patients Say Works for Arthritis

CureTogether Arthritis Infographic

For the live-updated, fully-labelled, interactive version of this infographic, click here.

Just Hands
By Alexandra Carmichael, Co-Founder of CureTogether

More than 50 million Americans live with the pain and discomfort of Arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CureTogether, a free resource owned by 23andMe, asked 1,292 people who have Arthritis to share what treatments work best for them, and the results are fairly evenly split between medical and lifestyle-driven interventions.

People who participated in the survey reported that corticosteroids, heat, rest, and massage helped them feel better. They also said that the drug Low-Dose Naltrexone and having joint replacement surgery eased their discomfort. Treatment ideas that didn’t seem to help as much included glucosamine and aspirin.

Most Effective Rated Treatments for Patients with Arthritis
1. Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
2. Corticosteroids
3. Steroid injections
4. Joint replacement
5. Enbrel
6. Heat
7. Massage
8. Braces/splints
9. Rest
10. Pecans

These are all treatments suggested and reported by patients, so some redundancy in the terms used is to be expected. In addition, the term “treatment” in this study refers to anything patients describe using to help them feel better, whether it is an officially prescribed medical treatment or not.

Where did this data come from? This is the result of a four-year CureTogether study on Arthritis, in which 1,292 people shared information about their symptoms and what treatments worked best for them. We’d like to thank those who participated. And just as they shared their experience with treatments, we’re freely and openly sharing the results of the Arthritis study.

This is part of a regular series of CureTogether research findings. CureTogether’s research findings are different than those made by 23andMe, which look at genetic associations with illness, traits and drug response. But as we continue our work with the CureTogether community, 23andMe hopes to incorporate more of this kind of self-reported information into our own research. CureTogether present its findings just as they are — patient-reported data — to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Arthritis. Thank you!






  • Reggie Steres

    But what KIND of arthritis were these people talking about? OA or RA?? HUGE difference!

    • http://jpwhitehome.wordpress.com JP White

      A lot of RA sites mention it, as do Colitis and Chron’s disease sites. RA and these diseases are all similar in that they are immune system related.

  • turtlemom3

    Did this study differentiate between Rheumadoid disease and Osteoarthritis? These are two very different conditions/diseases. It looks as if the participants had both – yielding a very unreliable and invalid outcome of the study.

    • Ann Bradley

      This wasn’t a study. It was a questionnaire survey. The term validity is a statistical one used in experimental design which this was not. The results are not invalid, they are what they are: people’s responses to being asked, “What works for you?” There was no study done. Likewise, the word reliable is also a statistical term for experimental design research and therefore the results are not unreliable – they are observations from individuals of how they feel and respond to various treatments when they have arthritis – both or one, whichever the case may be.

      • zar kers

        Ann, that was well said!

  • pantleg

    I had the same question as the three comments below. I have RA and certainly the person who said corticosteroids probably referring to Prednisone.. The patient saying surgery probably
    had Osteoarthritis. many people confuse the two however a study should know better.

  • seachangeau

    well this is cute – pecans are as good as ibuprofen :) but sadly i notice sunshine vitamin and most nutritional interventions are not mentioned. is that because n one uses them? if so sad as it is both prevention and cure for osteoarthritis.

    • Lynne Forrette, NP

      Sorry, If you have OA that is worsening, nothing really works except to keep moving as much as possible. it is autoimmune and nothing so far turns of the regulators, unfortunately, not diet, not exerdcise, not meds, NOTHING. If only……..

  • pantleg

    Above you mentioned that Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is the most effective drug for Arthritis well its use for that purpose is very controversial. In fact, most say it does nothing for arthritis.
    It is approved by FDA for chronic treatment of opioid dependence and for drug detoxification.

    Even though this was a survey it probably should have been verified. Some people make take it as gospel,take it and be adversely affected.

  • Scott D Rozell W.C.

    I reversed arthritis and joint pain by just changing my diet. Food sensitivities (aka hidden food allergies) are devastating to our health but once you avoid them, good health returns.

  • zar kers

    Hope you fix the CureTogether website soon!

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