U.S. adults still using CAM for pain relief at high rates.
About 38% of adults and nearly 12% of children in the United States used some type of complementary or alternative medicine therapy in 2007, according to survey data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agency of the U.S. Public Health Service since 1973, with headquarters in Atlanta; it was established in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center. and the National Institutes of Health.
Adults primarily reported using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to help manage chronic pain such as back, neck, or joint pain, as well as arthritis. Among children, the most common reason for using CAM therapies was back or neck pain.
However, children had a greater variety of conditions being treated with CAM than did adults, including head and chest colds, anxiety and stress, insomnia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and musculoskeletal complaints.
"Although children and adults are using CAM at high rates, the types of therapies they use and the conditions for which they use these therapies vary between children and adults," Richard Nahin, Ph.D., acting director of the division of extramural extramural /ex·tra·mu·ral/ (-mur´il) situated or occurring outside the wall of an organ or structure.
situated or occurring outside the wall of an organ or structure. research at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of NIH "Not invented here." See digispeak.
NIH - The United States National Institutes of Health. , said at a press briefing to announce the survey results.
The survey data come from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey and include information on the use of CAM from more than 23,000 adults and 9,400 children. Officials at CDC See Control Data, century date change and Back Orifice.
CDC - Control Data Corporation , which administers the survey, first collected data on CAM use in adults in 2002. This is the first time that information was collected about use by children.
The percentage of adult Americans using CAM appears to be holding steady, said Dr. Nahin, who coauthored the report. In 2002, about 36% of U.S. adults reported using some type of CAM therapy, compared with about 38% in 2007.
The use of CAM in children seems to be much lower than in adults, but that likely reflects the fact that adults have more health care needs, said Dr. Nahin. Children were five times more likely to use CAM if a parent or another relative also used CAM.
For adults and children, natural products, including herbal medicines and dietary supplements, were the most commonly used CAM therapies. For adults, some of the most common natural products were fish oil, glucosamine, echinacea echinacea (ĕk'ənā`shēə), popular herbal remedy, or botanical, believed to benefit the immune system. It is used especially to alleviate common colds and the flu, but several controlled studies using it as a cold medicine have , flaxseed oil or pills, massage, and yoga.
For children, the most common natural product was echinacea, followed by fish oil, combination herb pills, and flaxseed oil or pills. Other common CAM therapies used by children included chiropractic manipulation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and homeopathic treatment.
MARY ELLEN SCHNEIDER
New York Bureau