Posted on Aug 12, 2013, 6 a.m.
Non-drug therapies reduce pain severity while improving mood and quality of life.
Chronic pain affects nearly 116 million American adults at an estimated cost of up to $635 billion annually. As the leading condition for which patients seek care at integrative medicine clinics, Donald I Abrams, from the University of California/San Francisco (UCSF; California, USA), and colleagues completed a six-month long study at nine clinical sites to assess the effectiveness of such therapies for chronic pain and its related issues. Of 409 participants, mean age 49.1 years and experiencing an average of 8.0 years of chronic pain, initially enrolled, 252 completed all follow-up visits during the 6 month evaluation. At baseline, 52% of patients reported symptoms consistent with depression. At 24 weeks after integrative therapies were engaged, significantly decreased pain severity (−23%) and interference (−28%) were seen. As well, significant improvements in mood, stress, quality of life, fatigue, sleep and well-being were observed. Interestingly, at week 12 after integrative therapies were started, mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels rose from 33.4 (17.05) ng/mL at baseline to 39.6 (16.68) ng/mL. The study authors conclude that: “Among participants completing an integrative medicine program for chronic pain, significant improvements were seen in pain as well as other relevant patient-reported outcome measures.”
Donald I Abrams, Rowena Dolor, Rhonda Roberts, Constance Pechura, Jeffery Dusek, Ruth Q Wolever, et al. “The BraveNet prospective observational study on integrative medicine treatment approaches for pain.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:146 (24 June 2013).