(HealthDay News) — Between 2002 and 2022, US adults significantly increased use of complementary health approaches (CHAs), including for pain management, according to a research letter published online Jan. 25 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Richard L. Nahin, PhD, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues used data from the 2002, 2012, and 2022 National Health Interview Survey to examine trends in CHA use (including acupuncture, chiropractic care, guided imagery and/or progressive muscle relaxation, massage, naturopathy and yoga) among US adults.

The researchers found that adults reporting use of any of the seven approaches increased significantly from 19.2% in 2002 to 36.7% in 2022. For each individual modality, trends were significant. The largest increase in use was seen for yoga (5.0% in 2002 to 15.8 percent in 2022). Meditation had the highest prevalence used by 17.3% of individuals in 2022. Acupuncture was increasingly covered by insurance, and use increased from 1.0% in 2002 to 2.2% in 2022. Among participants reporting use of any CHA, the percentage reporting use for pain management increased significantly for each modality and overall, from 42.3% in 2002 to 49.2% in 2022. Among modalities used for pain management, yoga showed the largest increase in use for pain management, while chiropractic care had the highest use.

“This shift in utilization coincides with increased pain prevalence nationally and may be attributable to several factors, including randomized clinical trials suggesting that some CHAs provide low to moderate levels of pain management, incorporation of CHAs into best practice pain management guidelines, and the need to mitigate unnecessary use of potentially harmful opioids through use of nonopioid interventions,” the authors write.

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