Those Who Are Older and Have More Money Use More Alternative Treatments for Pain


A study appearing in Pain Medicine concluded that socioeconomic factors, mainly in the form of race and age, play a large role in the use of alternative treatments for chronic pain. In the study those who were white used alternative interventions more frequently than those who were black, and elderly individuals were more likely to use alternative interventions than younger people. The researchers say the differences may be due to alternative therapies attracting individuals with high education levels and income or may be a result of different insurance coverage.

Results were based upon the ethnic and racial disparities in treating chronic pain among 5,750 adults over a six year period. Using the Pain Assessment Inventory Narrative the researchers assessed the treatment methods used, pain-related symptoms, data on socioeconomic characteristics, medical history, and physical and social characteristics in the black and white adults. Alternative treatments considered in the study included manipulation therapy such as chiropractors or physical therapists, biofeedback, and acupuncture.
Thirty five percent reported using at least one form of complementary and alternative therapy with 25% using manipulation, 13% using biofeedback, and 8% using acupuncture.

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