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Use of alternative therapies in older people with pain 

Use of alternative therapies in older people with pain
Chapter:
Use of alternative therapies in older people with pain
Author(s):

Panos Barlas

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199212613.003.0011
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date: 20 April 2021

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used amongst older adults for the management of a range of painful conditions but its efficacy is largely undemonstrated.

The evidence for the efficacy of CAM is not in line with its perceived effectiveness perhaps because the under- lying mechanisms are unclear, raising the possibility of a non-specific (placebo) response.

Older adults who use CAM may also have mental health problems and other chronic conditions and it important not to raise unrealistic expectations.

There is however better evidence for some types of CAM such as acupuncture in the treatment specifically of pain.

Physicians and other health professionals dealing with older adults should be prepared to offer an unbiased view in terms of best evidence on the likely benefits of CAM for their patients.

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