Conversation with my doctor

Because I have arthritis in my fingers, I asked my doctor about glucosamine and chondroitin.  The doctor said that it helps some peoples.  I asked if studies showed it helped people.  It took a little pushing, but she finally admitted that no, as far as she knew, no studies found it effective.

I am aware that the placebo effect is huge for pain killers.  Yet I don’t want a placebo, I want something that works.  The only way I can have some idea that it works is that some study has shown it to work.  I can only conclude my doctor wanted to give me a placebo.

My son is a biological statistician and helps analyze the effectiveness of medical procedures.  My husband sent my son an email describing the situation, blaming him for influencing me in wanting a double blind study before I took medicine.  My son’s response was:

“One of the elements needed for a causal relationship is temporal ordering. I believe Mom’s generally data-driven and rational approach preceded me.

I don’t think you can blame this one on me.

(and bravo, Mom!)”

I won’t say the arthritis is worth it to hear such praise from my son, but it helps.

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3 Responses to “Conversation with my doctor”

  1. Arolem Says:

    Hi, Teresa!

    Yahoo for compliments from the son! But your rheumatologist (your doc is a rheumie, yes? if not, see one!) isn’t up on the literature. I have lupus, and a great set of docs, so I can share.

    Anecdotal: gluc/chon helps me, all joints, when I take it consistently (but again, not for arthritis).

    Double-blind, arthritis study (knees), 6-month term, NIH oversight. http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/gait/qa.htm

    So, brava for wanting science behind what you ingest; check out the review, and perhaps try it. Don’t know if there are hand-specific trials, as I didn’t look too hard.

    • teresamccullough Says:

      This is my primary care physician, and the arthritis has only been painful for a few months. Looking at the study, and ignoring the fact that it was not for hands, I still think it is not for me. I have mild pain and it doesn’t seem to work for that. I bought some arthritis gloves which I am wearing now, and they help. If this were Amazon, I would give a link.
      I am sorry you have lupus.

  2. Arolem Says:

    I’m pretty lucky; I haven’t had any of the scary involvements with heart, kidneys, etc. I’m glad the gloves help; I’ve taken to wearing stretchy knit ones with the tips dipped off. It’s a little Artful Dodgery, but the bit of extra heat and compression is nice and they’re fashionable in arts circles here.

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