Integrative Therapies May Reduce The Need for Medications in Invidivuals with Chronic Back Pain

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A new study published in a letter to the editor in the most recent issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (52 (3), 256-157, concluded that high-touch Integrative Medicine (IM) therapies can help employees manage their back pain by using fewer medications. The study utilized assembly workers at Ford Motor Company diagnosed with low back pain. The subjects were divided into 2 groups and both groups received care at the onsite clinic. One group received conventional therapies including pain medication. The other group received integrative therapies including acupuncture, and relaxation/meditation CD’s to manage stress and pain. Both groups received treatment over 6 weeks with a 12 week follow up.

The sample size was too small for definitive conclusions but the researchers were encouraged because the group who used integrative therapies in conjunction with conventional medicine had the same outcomes as the conventional medicine group but they also had a 58% reduction in pain medication use.

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