"CAM holds special appeal for many people with pain for several reasons:

  • "deficits in the way that many physicians treat pain, using only single modalities without attempting to track their effectiveness for a particular person over time or to coordinate diverse approaches;
  • "the higher preponderance of pain in women (see Chapter 2), given that 'women are more likely than men to seek CAM treatments; (IOM, 2005, p. 10); and
  • "a welcoming, less reserved attitude toward people with pain on the part of CAM practitioners and an apparent willingness to listen to the story of a patient’s pain journey.

"Whatever the reasons, pain is a common complaint presented to CAM practitioners (NIH and NCCAM, 2010). In 2007, 44 percent of people with pain or neurologic conditions sought help from CAM practitioners (Wells et al., 2010).

"In 2002, three-fifths of people who turned to CAM for relief of back pain found a 'great deal' of benefit as a result (Kanodia et al., 2010). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s strategic plan, released in February 2011, supports the development of better strategies for managing back pain, in particular."


Institute of Medicine, "Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, 2011.