Chronic pain is prevalent in the U.S., and massage and other types of complementary medicine (CAM) are used to combat it. But do race or ethnicity determine pain sufferers’ use of CAM?

According to recent research, they don’t.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that:

• The most common pain complaint was back pain (55.4 percent).

• The mean pain duration for all chronic pain problems was 9.8 years.

• Approximately 81 percent of respondents were using or have used CAM before, with most people using massage therapy, spiritual healing and mineral or vitamin supplements.

• Sixty-three percent of study participants were satisfied with CAM treatment compared to 56 percent who were satisfied with prescription therapy.

“Our study demonstrates that CAM is used very frequently in patients with chronic pain,” the researchers noted. “However, it did not show any ethnic or racial differences in CAM utilization.”

The study was published in the May/June 2009 edition of Pain Physician.

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