in Russia report that leeches are effective in treating a
muscular condition associated with rheumatoid arthritis and
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
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.
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.
using of leeches for local therapy of myofascial pain syndrome
are effective and safe in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
and osteoarthritis," the researchers concluded.
of June 23, 2002