NCCIH Study Finds Marked Increase in Complementary Health Approaches Among US Adults, Including for Pain Management Interview with:
Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H
Lead Epidemiologist
National Center for Complementary and Integration Health
NCCIH What is the background for this study?

Response: Millions of US adults use complementary health approaches (CHAs) each year. CHAs are health approaches typically not part of conventional medical care or with origins outside of Western medicine that are used together with conventional medical practice.

Some of the most well-known complementary health approaches include meditation, acupuncture, and yoga. While the safety and efficacy of many of these approaches previously lacked rigorous clinical trials, the last two decades saw an increase in evidence supporting the use of select approaches to manage health and pain. What are the main findings?

Response: We examined trends in complementary health approaches use among US adults at 3 time points: 2002, 2012, and 2022. We found that general use of all examined approaches saw significant increases, with the most drastic increases in yoga practice, which tripled from 5% in 2002 to 15% in 2022. Notably, an increasing number of participants reported using CHA specifically for pain management, with these trends mirroring that of general utilization. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: As increasing evidence has supported use of selected approaches for pain management, such as yoga, corresponding increases in use have followed.

Furthermore, Complementary health approaches have increasingly been incorporated into best practice pain management guidelines, in part, as an alternative to use of opioid interventions What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response:  Are the observed increases over time are seen across demographic subpopulations?  For instance, do the  increases in use vary by race, education, sex or insurance status?

Disclosures: None of the authors had any conflicts of interest associated with this publication, with the work completely supported as part of their official work duties.

Citation: Nahin RL, Rhee A, Stussman B. Use of Complementary Health Approaches Overall and for Pain Management by US Adults. JAMA. Published online January 25, 2024. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.26775

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Last Updated on January 27, 2024 by