Perceived Benefit of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for Back Pain
A new article, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine  reports on interviews with 31,044 individuals who used CAM for low back pain. The results are quite fascinating:
- The top 6 CAM therapies for LBP, starting with the most-used approaches are: chiropractic, massage, herbal therapy, acupuncture, yoga/tai chi/qi gong, and relaxation techniques.
- Chiropractic use (76% of respondents) was larger than all the other 5 therapies combined (see Figure 1)
- Chiropractic users scored their satisfaction (and clinical benefits) the highest of all 6 approaches (see Table 2).
This reconfirms earlier findings from the Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 2005, 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) . 
- 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
|Chiropractic (n = 1,163)|
|Massage (n = 196)|
|Yoga, Tai chi, Qi Gong (n = 45)|
|Acupuncture (n = 89)|
|Herbal therapies (n = 78)|
|Relaxation techniques (n = 76)|
Table 3. Reasons for Using the 6 Most Frequently Used Complementary and Alternative Medicine Modalities for Back Pain
|Reasons for Use|
|Used conventional medicine and CAM together|
|Interested in trying CAM|
|Conventional medical treatment would not help|
|Conventional medical practitioner suggested CAM|
|Conventional medical treatment was too expensive|
There are many more articles like this @:
Patient Satisfaction With Chiropractic
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): 1155–1163 ~ FULL TEXT