Use of Complementary and Alternative Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis: Race and Gender Variations

Ernest R. Vina, Ada O. Youk, Cristian Quinones, C. Kent Kwoh, Said A. Ibrahim, Leslie R.M. Hausmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate race and gender variations in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use for knee osteoarthritis (OA) (unadjusted and adjusted for demographic and clinical factors). Methods: A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data was conducted. The sample included Veterans Affairs patients 50 years of age or older with symptomatic knee OA. Current use of various CAM therapies was assessed at baseline. Logistic regression models were used to compare race and gender differences in the use of specific CAMs. Results: The sample included 517 participants (52.2% identified as African American [AA]; 27.1% identified as female). After adjusting for demographic and clinical factors, AA participants, compared with white participants, were less likely to use joint supplements (odds ratio [OR]: 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.31-0.90]); yoga, tai chi, or pilates (OR: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.19-0.77); and chiropractic care (OR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.26-1.00). However, they were more likely to participate in spiritual activities (OR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.39-2.94). Women, compared with men, were more likely to use herbs (OR: 2.42; 95% CI: 1.41-4.14); yoga, tai chi, or pilates (OR: 2.09; 95% CI: 1.04-4.19); acupuncture, acupressure, or massage (OR: 2.45; 95% CI: 1.28-4.67); and spiritual activities (OR: 1.68; 95% CI: 1.09-2.60). The interactive effects of race and gender were significant in the use of herbs (P = 0.008); yoga, tai chi, or pilates (P = 0.011); acupuncture, acupressure or massage (P = 0.038); and spiritual activities (P < 0.001). Conclusion: There are race and gender differences in the use of various CAMs for OA. As benefits and limitations of CAM therapies vary, clinicians must be aware of these differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-667
Number of pages8
JournalACR Open Rheumatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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