Glucosamine sulfate is a popular natural health product for treating OA. Glucosamine sulfate helps to relieve joint pain associated with OA when doses of 1,500 mg daily (e.g., 500 mg 3 times a day) are taken for a minimum of 4 weeks. Glucosamine sulfate has not been associated with any drug interactions or significant side effects.

Chondroitin sulfate, another alternative therapy, helps relieve symptoms of bone and joint pain when used at doses of 800 mg to 1,200 mg per day. There is limited information on the side effects of this medication, and it should be used with caution by people who have bleeding disorders or are on medications such as warfarin, ASA, or clopidogrel, because it may increase the risk of bleeding.

Other alternative therapies include herbal products, diets, homeopathy, mind-body interventions, manual healing, electromagnetic therapy, and acupuncture. These treatments have not been well studied. Always talk with your health care professional about the risks and benefits before starting any treatment on your own.