A new report looks at chiropractic and other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use for back pain.

The findings show that “approximately 6% of the US population used CAM to treat their back pain in 2002. Sixty percent of respondents who used CAM for back pain perceived a ‘great deal’ of benefit.” Subjects who reported that “conventional medical treatment would not help” were more likely to experience perceived benefit. Conversely, fair to poor self-reported health status and referral by a conventional medical practitioner were tied with less perceived benefit.

Using chiropractic as a reference, massage, relaxation techniques and herbal therapy were all associated with less perceived benefit. Yoga, tai chi, qi gong and acupuncture were associated with similar levels of perceived benefit as chiropractic.

Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine – May 2010;23:354-62.

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