Perceived Benefit of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for Back Pain: A National Survey
 
   

Perceived Benefit of Complementary
and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
for Back Pain: A National Survey

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:
   Frankp@chiro.org
 
   

FROM: J American Board of Family Medicine 2010 (May);   23 (3):  35462 ~ FULL TEXT

Anup K. Kanodia, MD, MPH, Anna T. R. Legedza, ScD, Roger B. Davis, ScD,
David M. Eisenberg, MD and Russell S. Phillips, MD

Division for Research and Education in Complementary
and Integrative Medical Therapies,
Harvard Medical School Osher Research Center,
Boston (AKK, RBD, DME, RSP)


This new study reports on interviews with 31,044 individuals who had used CAM therapies for relief of low back pain. The results are quite fascinating:

  • The top 6 CAM therapies for LBP, starting with the most-used, are chiropractic, massage, herbal therapy, acupuncture, yoga/tai chi/qi gong, and relaxation techniques.

  • Chiropractic use (76% of respondents) was greater than all the other 5 therapies combined
    ( see Figure 1)

  • Chiropractic users scored their satisfaction (and benefits) the highest of all 6 approaches used
    (see Table 2). This reconfirms findings from an Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 2005 study, which reported that SMT provided the greatest pain relief [7.33], scoring higher than nerve blocks (6.75), Opioid analgesics (6.37), muscle relaxants (5.78), Acupuncture (5.29), or NSAIDs (5.22) . [2]

  • Of those who used CAM modalities for back pain, 69% of these respondents only used one CAM therapy

  • Of those who used CAM modalities for back pain, 27% used it because conventional medicine did not help, 53% used it in conjunction with medical care, and only 24% used it because their medical provider recommended it (see Table 3)

  • The researchers used Multivariable Analysis to determine the factors independently associated with the perception of a "great deal" of benefit in this group. Interestingly, the factor associated with the greatest benefit from care was in the group that said that "conventional medicine would not help". The least benefits were experienced by those referred by a conventional pratitioner.



Figure 1:   Use of the 6 most frequently used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities for back pain during the previous 12 months. These modalities are not mutually exclusive and are limited to respondents for whom back pain was one of the 3 most bothersome medical conditions..





Table 2:   Perceived Benefit of the 6 Most Frequently Used Complementary and Alternative Medicine Modalities for Back Pain

Modalities*
Those with Great Benefit from CAM
(Weighted %)
Chiropractic (n = 1,163)
66
Massage (n = 196)
56
Yoga, Tai chi, Qi Gong (n = 45)
56
Acupuncture (n = 89)
42
Herbal therapies (n = 78)
32
Relaxation techniques (n = 76)
28
* The modalities listed are not mutually exclusive




Table 3:   Reasons for Using the 6 Most Frequently Used Complementary and Alternative Medicine Modalities for Back Pain

Reasons for Use
CAM Users Who Reported Reasons for Use
(%) (n = 1,647)
Conventional medical treatment would not help
27
Conventional medical treatment was too expensive
13
Used conventional medicine and CAM together
53
Conventional medical practitioner suggested CAM
24
Interested in trying CAM
48




This studys findings are very similar to a vast collection of earlier studies exploring Patient Satisfaction With Chiropractic. You may enjoy reviewing this page.

References:

1. Perceived Benefit of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for Back Pain: A National Survey

Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 2010 (May); 23 (3): 354-362 ~ FULL TEXT

2. Chronic Pain in Persons With Neuromuscular Disease

Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 2005 (Jun); 86 (6): 11551163 ~ FULL TEXT



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