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Medical News & Perspectives
December 13, 2016

As Opioid Epidemic Rages, Complementary Health Approaches to Pain Gain Traction

JAMA. 2016;316(22):2343-2344. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15029

A recent review of clinical evidence published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings by National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers suggests that complementary health techniques have a legitimate place in a physician’s pain relief toolkit—welcome news as health care professionals and agencies grapple with the crisis of opioid abuse.

Researchers led by Richard L. Nahin, PhD, MPH, lead epidemiologist at the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), examined efficacy and safety evidence in 105 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducted between January 1966 and March 2016. The review—geared toward primary care physicians as part of the journal’s Symposium on Pain Medicine—focused on popular complementary approaches to common pain conditions.

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