Prim Care. 1997 Dec; 24(4): 743-58.
Establishing a research agenda for investigating alternative medical interventions for chronic pain.
Division of Complementary Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21207, USA.
This article describes the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Complementary Medicine Research approach to developing an agenda for investigating alternative medical treatments for chronic pain syndromes. This agenda includes conducting extensive literature searches and analyses to form a knowledge base for making clinical decisions on which chronic pain syndromes are in greatest need of better therapies, as well as which alternative medical therapies offer the greatest therapeutic promise for these specific chronic pain syndromes. To date, the Center has identified back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia as the chronic pain syndromes that contribute the greatest clinical and economic burden to overall chronic pain statistics. Not coincidentally, patients with these diagnoses are the greatest users of alternative therapies. The Center has identified acupuncture, homeopathy, manual/manipulative therapies, and mind-body therapies as the alternative medical therapies offering the greatest clinical potential for these three general chronic pain diagnoses. Preliminary data from the Center's ongoing clinical trials programs are presented.