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Senior Health Week: Arthritis
Health News You Can Use •

Arthritis News:

Leeches Help Reduce Muscle Pain of Arthritis

Scientists in Russia report that leeches are effective in treating a muscular condition associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The treatment, known as hirudotherapy, is used as a therapy for myofascial pain syndrome -- muscle pain occuring at various pressure or trigger points in the muscle tissue.

In a trial involving 105 patients, 54 with rheumatoid arthritis and 51 with osteoarthritis, leeches were applied to the painful trigger zones, with each patient receiving hirudotherapy one to five times.

Results of the study, presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology, showed that all patients improved significantly, experiencing an increase in both range of movement and functional activity, while the duration of early morning stiffness and muscle pain decreased or disappeared.

Additionally, blood tests showed a decrease in C-reactive protein -- an inflammation-related compound -- and a lengthened blood clotting time, with researchers noting no significant side effects from the treatment.

"The using of leeches for local therapy of myofascial pain syndrome are effective and safe in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis," the researchers concluded.

Source: Arthritis Week of June 23, 2002



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