Document Detail

Use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients with chronic tension-type headache: results of a headache clinic survey.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16643557     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVES: This study was undertaken to evaluate the rates, pattern, and presence of predictors of complementary and alternative medicine use in a clinical population of patients with chronic tension-type headache. BACKGROUND: The use of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of headaches is a growing phenomenon about which little is known. METHODS: A total of 110 chronic tension-type headache patients attending a headache clinic participated in a physician-administered structured interview designed to gather information on complementary and alternative medicine use. RESULTS: Past use of complementary and alternative therapies was reported by 40% of the patients surveyed (22.7% in the previous year). Chronic tension-type headache patients prefer complementary and alternative practitioner-administered physical treatments to self-treatments, the most frequently used being chiropractic (21.9%), acupuncture (17.8%), and massage (17.8%). Only 41.1% of the patients perceived complementary and alternative therapies to be beneficial. The most common source of recommendation of complementary and alternative medicine was a friend or relative (41.1%). Most of the chronic tension-type headache patients used complementary and alternative treatment as a specific intervention for their headache (77.3%). Almost 60% of complementary and alternative medicine users had not informed their medical doctors of their use of complementary and alternative medicine. The most common reasons given for choosing to use a complementary or alternative therapy was the "potential improvement of headache" it offered (45.4%). The patients who had used more complementary and alternative treatments were found to be those recording a higher lifetime number of visits to conventional medical doctors, those with a comorbid psychiatric disorder, those enjoying a higher (household) income, and those who had never tried a preventive pharmacological treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that headache-clinic chronic tension-type headache patients, in their need of and quest for care, seek and explore both conventional and complementary and alternative therapies, even if only 41.1% of them perceived complementary treatments as effective. Physicians should be made aware of this patient-driven change in the medical climate in order to prevent misuse of health care resources and to be better equipped to meet patients' care requirements.
Paolo Rossi; Giorgio Di Lorenzo; Jessica Faroni; Maria G Malpezzi; Francesco Cesarino; Giuseppe Nappi
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Headache     Volume:  46     ISSN:  0017-8748     ISO Abbreviation:  Headache     Publication Date:  2006 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-04-28     Completed Date:  2006-09-01     Revised Date:  2009-02-02    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985091R     Medline TA:  Headache     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  622-31     Citation Subset:  IM    
Headache Clinic, INI Grottaferrata, Grottaferrata, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Chronic Disease
Complementary Therapies / utilization*
Health Care Surveys
Middle Aged
Pain Clinics / statistics & numerical data
Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
Tension-Type Headache / therapy*
Treatment Outcome

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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