What's New In  |   September 2015
Complementary Medicine: Should It Be Integrated Into Pain Management?
Author Affiliations
  • Lucy Chen, M.D.
    Abstract Review Subcommittee on Chronic and Cancer Pain
Article Information
Pain Medicine / What's New In
What's New In   |   September 2015
Complementary Medicine: Should It Be Integrated Into Pain Management?
ASA Monitor 09 2015, Vol.79, 66-69.
ASA Monitor 09 2015, Vol.79, 66-69.
As pain physicians, we often face chronic pain patients who are unable to achieve adequate pain control with medications due to comorbidities, intolerable side effects or loss of efficacy, who no longer respond to interventional pain procedures, and who are also not surgical candidates. These patients continue to suffer from debilitating chronic pain, and their question is often simple but somewhat desperate: “Do I have other options?”
Recent data have shown that approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults and 12 percent of children use health care modalities that differ from conventional medicine for medical treatment or overall health maintenance. In general, these nonconventional health care modalities are described in three terms: 1) complementary medicine refers to using a nonconventional modality in combination with conventional medicine; 2) alternative medicine refers to using a nonconventional modality in substitution of conventional medicine; and 3) more recently, integrative medicine has been used to describe the combined use of both conventional medicine and nonconventional modalities supported by at least some evidence of their safety and effectiveness. Integrative medicine is now a course in many medical schools. Complementary and integrative medicine include a variety of practices, which can be divided into five major categories based on the information provided by the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health (Table 1).
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