Current Status of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Treatment of Rheumatic Disease Pain
Rheumatic disease pain is an important health concern that causes significant distress and functional impairment to many patients. While standard pharmacological treatments with analgesics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants can provide substantial relief, an increasing proportion of patients are seeking an integrated approach to pain management involving both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. Complementary and alternative medical (CAM) techniques, such as thermotherapy, cryotherapy, acupuncture, massage, and spinal manipulation, are commonly employed by patients with rheumatic disease pain. We review the evidence supporting the use of CAM in the treatment of rheumatic disease pain and address the major challenges hindering further proliferation of these techniques. Our analysis supports further investment into basic research and clinical studies on the mechanisms of action and clinical effectiveness of CAM. We also propose steps to incorporate CAM into the evidence-based framework of conventional medicine.
Keywords: Rheumatic disease pain, complementary and alternative medicine, challenges
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