But there's good news, too, for alternative remedies. Glucosamine and chondroitin have almost taken on the status of urban myth as remedies for osteoarthritis - but do they actually work?
In a meta-analysis of 15 studies, which involved 1775 patients, both remedies had a 'pronounced effect' on symptoms, including mobility and inflammation. In all, it seemed to work well on 1 in 5 patients, or 20 per cent of everyone who took the supplements.
(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2003; 163: 1514-2).