Exploring the Use and Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Interventions for Managing Chronic Pain in Older Adults: A systematic review

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Ampicha Nawai
Sutthida Phongphanngam


         The aim of this study was to synthesize and critically appraise the existing literature examining the use and efficacy of CAM in community-dwelling older adults with chronic pain. The PRISMA model guided a literature review search method. A literature search was undertaken using MEDLINE, CINAHL, Ovid, ProQuest, and hand searching. The search included articles written in English published for the period of 2000-June 2018. The finding of the study showed that: A literature search yielded 20 experimental designs (13 for physical interventions and 7 for psychosocial interventions). Seventeen articles were randomized controlled trials, two articles were a pilot study, and one article was a quasi-experimental design. Twelve articles (60%) reported statistically significant differences (p<.05) between the CAM treatment intervention groups and the control groups in pain scores; the CAM treatment groups showed lower in pain intensity. Many CAM interventions in all of the studies reported improvement of chronic pain management among older adults. However, the limitations of the reviewed studies are small sample sizes and absence of randomization. More research is needed to investigate CAM interventions and its long-term effects and its efficacy with selected conditions such as chronic neck and back pain, arthritis, and post-surgical rehabilitation.



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