Chronic pain can affect anyone—and use of complementary therapies, such as massage, are common across all racial and ethnic groups.

Researchers from Singapore General Hospital, in Singapore, and Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina, recruited 92 patients seeking treatment at the pain clinic and interviewed them using a questionnaire. Results, posted on www.pubmed.gov, showed the most common pain complaint was back pain (55.4 percent), and the mean pain duration for all chronic pain problems was 9.8 years.

About 81 percent of respondents were using or had used CAM before, with the types of techniques used most often being massage therapy, spiritual healing, and mineral and vitamin supplements.

The aim of our study was to identify differences in the characteristics of usage of CAM for chronic pain control among several ethnic groups; hHowever, there was no difference in the use of CAM among the different ethnic groups.

“Our study demonstrates that CAM is used very frequently in patients with chronic pain. However, it did not show any ethnic or racial differences in CAM utilization,” the researchers noted. The study results were published in a recent issue of Pain Physician.

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