Most patients with spinal cord injury use complementary or integrative healthcare approaches

Eight in 10 people with a spinal cord injury use complementary or integrative healthcare approaches despite concerns of its safety and efficacy.

This recent study, therefore, suggests a worrying upwards trend of such approaches. The Kessler Foundation, which published the research, is currently exploring alternative treatments such as multivitamins, massage, and acupuncture.

Complementary and integrative treatments are healthcare approaches “outside of conventional medical care or traditional Western medical practices”. The most common treatments are multivitamins, massage, cannabis, vitamin D, cranberry extract, and vitamin C.

These people suffering from a spinal cord injury say they have used or use non-conventional treatments to relieve pain or improve mobility, strength, and flexibility. However, they are particularly at risk of further injury.

Commenting on the findings, the authors warned that the safety and efficacy of such approaches lacks research and urged rehabilitation clinicians to “initiate dialogues with patients about these therapies to ensure their health and safety”.

“Nearly 70 per cent of participants reported that they were currently using a form of complementary and integrative healthcare, whereas fewer than half reported using non-traditional therapies prior to their injury,” said author Dr Jennifer Coker.

“This tells us that people with spinal cord injury are eager for information about and access to alternative therapies, and we need to be able to provide rehabilitation clinicians with up to date and accurate information about what’s safe and effective and what’s not.”

The analysis was from a survey of 411 people with a spinal cord injury.

Click here to access the study.

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Posted in Spinal Injury.