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Satisfaction with treatment of low back pain: Conventional vs. complementary medicine

Tammy Soffer, Avishay Goldberg, PhD, and Nadav Davidovitch, MD. Health Systems Management, Faculty for Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University, P.O. Box 653, Beer Sheva, 84105, Israel, 972-8-6477421, super@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

Background: Low back pain, a common ailment that affects 80% of the adult population at some time in their lives, carries with it broad economic and social impacts. In recent years complementary medicine has been mainstreamed into the operation of the four health funds that serve as healthcare-providers in the operation of Israelís Compulsory Health Insurance Law. Consequently, there is a need to examine the effectiveness of such treatments compared to conventional medical treatment. Objective: To evaluate treatment for low back pain in conventional medicine as compared to treatment in complementary medicine from the standpoint of patient satisfaction. Methodology: Questionnaires completed by 181 patients suffering from lower back pains. Results: Out of 181 patients, 45% chose only conventional treatment, 30% chose integrated conventional/complementary treatment, and 13.2% chose only complementary treatment. Satisfaction with complementary treatment was higher than conventional treatment in terms of waiting time and flexibility in appointment timing; personal care from administrative staff and professional treatment personnel and relief of pain (p<0.05). In comparison with conventional care, the respondents reported that complementary care was more expensive but also more effective in terms of pain reduction. In multivariate analysis the respondentís level of education and type of treatment received were found to be variables in the prediction of responses vis-a-vis the effectiveness of treatment. In light of the findings, it is recommended that complementary medical care be included as an integral component in the treatment of low back pain.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Health Service

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Managing Chronic Pain with Alternative and Complementary Health Practices

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA