Chronic pain

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Pain is one of the most common reasons for seeking medical care. The prevalence of chronic pain in the general population ranges from 10% to over 40%. Patients with chronic pain use health services up to five times more than patients without pain. The estimates for the total cost of chronic pain exceed $210 billion annually in US (Turk et al., 2011).

For chronic pain, pharmaco-therapeutic options include opioid derivatives,  acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory medications. In contrast, the trend toward use of CAM therapies is quite common in patients with chronic pain. The survey of patients with chronic pain disorders conducted in 12 primary care clinics in USA found that 52% reported using CAM therapies to assist with pain relief (Rosenberg et al., 2008).

Forty four % of primary care patients with chronic pain receiving opioid therapy had used CAM treatments in the last 12 months (Fleming et al., 2007). Other studies examining the use of CAM therapies for various chronic pain states report rates ranging from 35% to 63% (Lee et al., 2011).

The integration of non-pharmacologic interventions such as meditation, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy (acupuncture, massage, TENS) are recommended and provide a low-cost and minimal-risk option for patients to manage their diseases.