Conventional and complementary health care approaches used by American adults reporting joint pain: Patterns from the national health interview survey 2012

Jeff A. Dennis, Yan Zhang, Samantha Curtis, Jean Michel Brismée, Phillip S. Sizer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To describe patterns of conventional health care (CH) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among U.S. adults reporting recent joint symptoms in a nationally representative sample. Design: This study uses the adult alternative medicine supplement from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Location: United States. Subjects: Nationally representative cross-sectional sample of non-institutionalized U.S. residents. Of 34,525 respondents who answered the alternative medicine supplement, approximately 30% (n = 10,964) reported recent pain symptoms (pain, aching, stiffness). Outcome measures: Among adults reporting joint symptoms, we examine reported use of CH, CAM, both CH and CAM, or neither specifically for joint symptoms or joint condition. Results: Among adults reporting joint symptoms in the past 30 days, 64% reported using only CH for their joint pain, whereas *10% reported using CAM. Among those using CAM for their joint symptoms, 83% also sought help from a CH practitioner. CAM-only users comprised only 1.6% of the sample of joint pain sufferers. Those who reported using both CH and CAM for joint pain were more likely to report a diagnosis of a joint condition compared with CAM-only users, but also reported higher comorbidities and worse self-reported health. Conclusion: Most U.S. adults reporting recent joint pain seek care only from a CH practitioner, although among the 10% who report CAM use for joint conditions, a strong majority also report seeking care from a CH practitioner. CH and CAM providers should consistently inquire about other forms of treatment their patients are using for specific symptoms to provide effective integrative health care management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1083
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume26
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Conventional health care
  • Health care seeking
  • Integrative health care
  • Joint pain

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