The relationship between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use and quality of life among individuals with chronic pain: results from a nationally representative sample

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Friesen, Elizabeth Louise
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Background: Chronic pain is a major public health concern in Canada, with an estimated annual cost of $6 billion in direct health care expenses. At the same time, Canadians are participating in an increased use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. Purpose: The purpose of this quantitative research study was to examine the relationship between the use of CAM and HRQOL for individuals living with chronic pain. Method: This study was a secondary data analysis of the nationally representative Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) Cycle 3.1 Subsample 1 collected by Statistics Canada in 2005 (n=32,133). Results: The prevalence of CAM use for the Canadian population was 20.9% whereas for the chronic pain subset, it was 30.8%. CAM users had 1.48 times increased odds of reporting a high HRQOL than non-CAM users (CI=1.16-1.88). Conclusion: These results demonstrate that a modest but significant positive association exists between CAM use and a high HRQOL.
chronic pain, alternative therapies, quality of life, CAM