Americans Use Of Non-Medical Care Increases

According to a new nationwide US government survey, 38 percent of adults in the United States use some form of what the study called, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was released on December 10, 2008. In older adults ages 60 to 69 the percentage is slightly higher with 41% using some form of CAM procedure.

Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the NIH, defines CAM by saying, “CAM covers a wide range of therapies and practices not currently considered part of conventional medicine. Thus, its important to be well informed if you are considering using any.”

Of those non-medical procedures considered “CAM”, one of the most used and most accepted is chiropractic. Although not entirely accurate by chiropractic standards, the National Institutes of Health senior website explains chiropractic by saying, “The goal of chiropractic medicine is to help the body heal by correcting its alignment. Doctors of chiropractic, who are also called chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, use a type of hands-on therapy called manipulation, or adjustment, as their main type of procedure. Adjustments are done to increase the range and quality of motion in the area being treated.”

Dr. Robert Braile, a chiropractor in Georgia and past President and Chairman of the Board of the International Chiropractors Association notes that chiropractic usage continues to be on the increase. He states, “We are in an economy where times are tough, and nearly 50 million Americans are without health care insurance. Certainly many of these people are going to look for more affordable ways to deal with their health care concerns. Chiropractic has always represented an affordable and safe alternative to more expensive and risky forms of medical care.”

NCCAM Director Dr. Josephine Briggs noted the reasons why more Americans are turning to non medical forms of healthcare by saying, “The most common reason why people turn to complementary and alternative medicine in our survey results is chronic back pain – far and away, the leading reason to use complementary and alternative medicine,” she says. “Neck pain, joint pain, headache: All these other conditions are also given as common reasons. But chronic back pain is the leading reason, a very common and difficult condition to treat.”

In a December 12, 2009 release by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), they also noted that an increasing number of older Americans are turning to the Internet for health information. They noted that 68 percent of online seniors look for health and medical information when they go on the Web.