Researchers at the University Medical Centre Utrecht and De Hoogstraat, in The Netherlands surveyed the use of CAM in a large group of Dutch patients with spinal cord injury.

First, the details.

  • 575 people with spinal cord injury were surveyed by mail.
  • Questions covered current level of pain, past and current pain treatments, and perceived effectiveness of current pain treatments.

And, the results.

  • Most respondents with chronic spinal cord injury pain (63%) reported more than 1 pain type, of which neuropathic pain was most frequently reported (69%).
  • Of this group, 64% were using some kind of treatment, although high levels of pain were reported.
  • Most often used CAM:
    • Massage (therapy)/relaxation (training)
  • CAM most often perceived as effective:
    • Acupuncture/magnetizing
    • Cannabis/alcohol
    • Physiotherapy and exercise
    • Massage (therapy)/relaxation (training).
  • Least often perceived as effective was TENS/ultrasound.

The bottom line?

Interestingly, these patients considered even the least effect CAM (TENS) to be more effective than antidepressants.

8/12/10 20:15 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.