This new data review gives primary care providers — who frequently see patients with chronic pain — tools to inform decision-making on how to help manage pain.
Primary care providers have lacked a robust evidence base to guide recommendations on complementary approaches as practiced and available in the United States:
Data from a review of U.S.-based clinical trials published yesterday in Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggest that some of the most popular complementary health approaches—such as yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture—appear to be effective tools for helping to manage common pain conditions. The review was conducted by a group of scientists from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., NCCIH’s lead epidemiologist and lead author of the analysis:
For many Americans who suffer from chronic pain, medications may not completely relieve pain and can produce unwanted side effects. As a result, many people may turn to nondrug approaches to help manage their pain. Our goal for this study was to provide relevant, high-quality information for primary care providers and for patients who suffer from chronic pain.”
The review focused on U.S.-based trial results on seven approaches used for one or more of five painful conditions — back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine — and found promise in the following for safety and effectiveness in treating pain:
- Acupuncture and yoga for back pain
- Acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee
- Massage therapy for neck pain with adequate doses and for short-term benefit
- Relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine.
Read more about this report and find graphics at nccih.nih.gov/pain_review.
About the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH): NCCIH’s mission is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health approaches and their roles in improving health and health care.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.