They hear or see "for arthritis," and that's all it takes to convince them that it's what you have been missing. They couldn't tell you how it works, or why it's any better than what you're being treated with already. They just know you need to try it. Of course, this isn't rational, but it happens a lot and it's a pet peeve of many people with arthritis.
The fact is, the product or treatment has likely been marketed heavily. That's why they have seen it. It's typically built around hype and hope, with little to no science behind it. It becomes weary for you because you are approached so many times with similar advice in an overzealous way -- and it becomes burdensome to have to explain repeatedly that you have no interest in the cure du jour. Your dilemma is how to tell them you are not interested, without hurting their feelings? Remember, most mean well.
Examples of Unsolicited Advice
I remember my mother was convinced I wasn't getting enough pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) so she felt I should take supplements. That's one of those "won't hurt you, but won't help you either" supplements. I believe she heard it on talk radio back in the 1970s. Still under her wing then, I took it and there's no happy ending to the story.
I also have a vivid memory of my husband encountering his friend's father who bought him bottle of DMSO. That was all the rage in the 1990s, if not before. My husband was polite, knowing he didn't have to see this man very often, but he was not tempted to try it without discussing it with his doctor. Nothing came of it. Another person wrote down "milk thistle" for my husband and promised him it would work. Nothing came of it.
We all have similar stories. So, how do you decline without offending? You just need a few sentences prepared so you're not caught off-guard. That takes the stress out of the situation rather than feeling like you don't know how to respond every time it occurs.
First, explain that you appreciate their concern. Further explain that you are under the care of a doctor. Any treatment being considered must first be discussed with your doctor. Make sure they understand that you already are receiving treatment so you would have to be certain that adding the new treatment would not cause an adverse interaction.
Share your feelings about the importance of recognizing products and treatments that are hyped, but lack any science to back them up. Briefly explain the difference between testimonials and clinical trials. Offer to provide them with more information about arthritis and the latest approved treatments -- so they can learn more about the disease and understand how treatments work.
Let them know that if you choose later to learn more about the product or treatment being pitched, you will go to authoritative sources to learn more, starting with your doctor. If you choose to pursue it, you will let them know.
Explain that arthritis is complex, with no cure. Solutions are not simple and not the same for every patient. If there appears to be a simple solution, it is likely oversimplified.
The Bottom Line
If none of the suggested responses take the attention off of the cure du jour, you will be forced to say "Thank you, but no thank you. I have no interest in pursuing your suggestion for the reasons already explained."