ComplementaryW/Alternative Medicine Use Among Chronic Pain Clinic Patients

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Complementary and alternative therapies have enjoyed increasingly widespread use in recent years. Because of this trend, we were eager to obtain a better grasp on the actual number of people in our hospital's pain clinic who have used these modalities. In an effort to explore the use of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) by patients seen in an anesthesiology chronic pain clinic, we conducted a study using a questionnaire. This questionnaire contained two sections, one covering complementary/alternative modalities and the other dealing with herbals or nutraceuticals. More than 400 patients were surveyed, 41% of whom were male and 59% of whom were female. Comparing alternative therapies by gender revealed no statistical difference in males versus females. The most commonly chosen modalities overall were nutraceuticals, massage therapy, and acupuncture. In terms of age, we found that the patients surveyed who were older than 60 years of age preferred nutraceuticals, and that the younger age group preferred more interactive relaxation techniques, such as meditation and massage.

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