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CAM use assessed in patients who have chronic pain.

ORLANDO, FLA. -- The use of complementary and alternative medicine is common among patients with chronic pain, Dr. Carmen R. Green of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, reported in a poster at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Dr. Green and her colleagues retrospectively analyzed data on 5,750 patients who had presented for initial assessment at the University of Michigan Pain Center between 1993 and 2000.

The study cohort was 91% white and 61% female. The subjects' mean pain severity was 27 on the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) scale.

The mean duration of pain at presentation was 52 months.

The investigators analyzed initial assessment data regarding the use of three types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM): acupuncture, biofeedback and/or relaxation training services, and manipulation.

Overall, 35% of the patients used at least one of the three types, with 25% using biofeedback and/or relaxation, 13% using manipulation therapies, and 8% using acupuncture.

On average, patients who used acupuncture were older than those who didn't (mean age 49.8 years vs. 46.1 years), and those who used biofeedback and/or relaxation were younger than those who didn't (mean age 43.2 years vs. 46.8 years), Dr. Green reported.

Women were significantly more likely than men to use biofeedback and/or relaxation.

Also, whites were significantly more likely than African Americans to use manipulation therapies as well as biofeedback and/or relaxation.

The use of all three therapies was significantly associated with higher levels of pain severity and longer pain duration. Those who used acupuncture reported pain for an average of 84.4 months, compared with 49.4 months for those who did not; for biofeedback and/or relaxation, pain duration was 86.6 months vs. 47.1 months; and for manipulation, 78.9 months vs. 42.7 months. The researchers attributed those findings to delayed access to a pain center.

Those using acupuncture had a mean MPQ score of 27.6, compared with 25.9 for those not using it; biofeedback and/or relaxation, 30.8 vs. 25.3; and manipulation, 27.5 vs. 25.6.
Whites More Likely to Use Selected CAMs Than African Americans

 Whites African Americans

Manipulation 26.3% 13.1%
Biofeedback and/or Relaxation Training 13.6% 6.8%
Acupuncture 8.6% 6%

Note: Based on a secondary analysis of the records of 5,750 chronic pain
patients presenting for initial assessment in 1993-2000.
Source: University of Michigan Pain Center

Note: Table made from bar graph.


BY STEVE PERLSTEIN

Midwest Bureau
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Title Annotation:Across Specialties; complementary and alternative medicine
Author:Perlstein, Steve
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Words:423
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