The use of complementary and alternative medicine in chronic pain patients in Singapore: A single-centre study

Department of Anaesthesia and Surgical Intensive Care, Singapore General Hospital.
Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore (Impact Factor: 1.15). 03/2013; 42(3):133-7.
Source: PubMed


The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Singapore for a variety of conditions has been reported to be high. However in Asian chronic pain patients, there is no data on their use of CAM and its perceived benefits.

Materials and methods:
A cross-sectional survey of 210 patients was carried out in Pain Management Centre. Patients were interviewed directly on their use of CAM. The outcomes were prevalence of CAM use, the types of CAM used, the perceived efficacy and factors influencing its use.

The prevalence of CAM users in chronic pain is 84%. The most common class of CAM is traditional Chinese medicine (68%) the subset of which, acupuncture, was most frequently utilised (49% of patients using CAM). In univariate analyses, ethnicity was significantly linked to CAM use but not gender, age, education level and income (P = 0.027). Specifically for neck pain, it was significant that patients were more likely to see a chiropractor, to use massage, to take take vitamins and ginseng to alleviate their symptoms. With upper limb pain, it was the use of Tui na, massage and seeing a TCM practitioner. For abdominal pain, it was the use of herbal medicines. The majority felt that CAM helped with their pain (72%) although less expressed satisfaction with CAM (64%). Reasons for using CAM included: having more control over their pain; fewer side effects; safety and lower costs compared to conventional medicine.

The use of CAM in chronic pain patients is higher than the general population. Most felt that it improved their pain. As part of multimodal therapy, CAM may have a role in the management of chronic pain.

7 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of morbidity and mortality in Malaysia. There is evidence of high traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) use among population with cardiovascular risk and there have been anecdotal reports about substitution of conventional medicines with TCM. We investigated the prevalence of TCM use, treatment preference and substitution of conventional medicines in study population with cardiovascular risk factors in Pahang, Malaysia. A cross-sectional survey was conducted using an interviewer-administered questionnaire in five districts of Pahang. A total of 1250 households were chosen through proportionate and systematic sampling. Respondents aged 18 years and above were selected. The study population with cardiovascular risk factors who used TCM was higher than the general population (31.7% versus 25.9%). There were no clear preferences in using TCM by gender, age groups, educational level and income even though other bumiputeras showed a slight inclination towards TCM use. Among the study population with cardiovascular risk factors who consumed TCM, 20-30% of them were using TCM as a substitute for their conventional medications. Respondents from the younger age group (18-40 years) (57.1%), highest educational level (43.2%), other bumiputeras (38.4%) and highest income group (31.4%) preferred the combination of both conventional and traditional medicine. TCM use among population with cardiovascular risk factors is high. The high preference for combination therapy of TCM and conventional medications among young adults and the use of TCM to substitute conventional medications show that much research is needed to provide proven TCM therapies to avoid self-mismanagement of cardiovascular risk in Malaysia.
    The Medical journal of Malaysia 04/2015; 70(2):86-92.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: . Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely applied in the clinical practice of neck pain owing to cervical radiculopathy (CR). While many systematic reviews exist in CAM to improve CR, research is distributed across population, intervention, comparison, and setting. Objective . This overview aims to summarize the characteristics and evaluate critically the evidence from systematic reviews. Methods . A comprehensive literature search was performed in the six databases without language restrictions on February 24, 2015. We had identified relevant systematic reviews that examined the subjects with neck pain due to cervical radiculopathy undergoing CAM. Two authors independently appraised the methodological quality using the revised assessment of multiple systematic reviews instrument. Results . We had included eight systematic reviews. The effectiveness and safety of acupotomy, acupuncture, Jingfukang granule, manual therapies, and cervical spine manipulation were investigated. Based on available evidence, the systematic reviews supported various forms of CAM for CR. Nevertheless, the methodological quality for most of systematic reviews was low or moderate. In addition, adverse reactions of primary studies were infrequent. Conclusions . Current systematic reviews showed potential advantages to CAM for CR. Due to the frequently poor methodological quality of primary studies, the conclusions should be treated with caution for clinical practice.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 09/2015; 2015(4):793649. DOI:10.1155/2015/793649 · 1.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Complementary medicine (CM) is popular in Switzerland. Several CM methods (traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, neural therapy, and herbal medicine) are currently covered by the mandatory basic health insurance when performed by a certified physician. Treatments by non-medical therapists are partially covered by a supplemental and optional health insurance. In this study, we investigated the frequency of CM use including the evolvement over time, the most popular methods, and the user profile. Methods: Data of the Swiss Health Surveys 2007 and 2012 were used. In 2007 and 2012, a population of 14,432 and 18,357, respectively, aged 15 years or older answered the written questionnaire. A set of questions queried about the frequency of use of various CM methods within the last 12 months before the survey. Proportions of usage and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for these methods and CM in general. Users and non-users of CM were compared using logistic regression models. Results: The most popular methods in 2012 were homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture. The average number of treatments within the 12 months preceding the survey ranged from 3 for homeopathy to 6 for acupuncture. 25.0% of the population at the age of 15 and older had used at least one CM method in the previous 12 months. People with a chronic illness or a poor self-perceived health status were more likely to use CM. Similar to other countries, women, people of middle age, and those with higher education were more likely to use CM. 59.9% of the adult population had a supplemental health insurance that partly covered CM treatments. Conclusions: Usage of CM in Switzerland remained unchanged between 2007 and 2012. The user profile in Switzerland was similar to other countries, such as Germany, United Kingdom, United States or Australia.
    PLoS ONE 10/2015; 10(10):e0141985. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0141985 · 3.23 Impact Factor

Similar Publications