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Alternative Medicine Use For Pain Increases With Age And Wealth

Posted Apr 29 2010 2:41pm

In a University of Michigan Health System study, 1 out of 3 patients with chronic pain reported using complementary and alternative medicine therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic visits for pain relief.

Socioeconomic factors – primarily race and age – played a large role in the use of alternative therapy in chronic pain patients, the study showed. Whites used alternative modalities more frequently than blacks and elderly adults had a higher frequency of using alternative therapies than younger adults.

According to the lead author, Carmen R. Green, M.D., U-M professor of anesthesiology and  obstetrics and gynecology and associate professor of health management and policy, this pattern may be due to alternative medicine therapies usually attracting individuals with higher education levels and income, or the pattern could be a result of differences in insurance coverage.

Also, as people age, there is a greater chance that they will deal with chronic pain, therefore as age increases, so does the likelihood that people will seek alternative therapies to deal with the pain.

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