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Chiropractic Research Review

Half of Veterans Use CAM

Civilian use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is well-documented; CAM visits in the U.S. exceeded the number of visits to primary care physicians from 1990-1997. Little research describes CAM use among military veterans, however.

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark


To determine the prevalence of CAM usage by military veterans in the southwestern U.S., and the associations between CAM use and other lifestyle factors, 508 veterans from the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System were randomly selected and agreed to complete a phone interview. Each was asked a series of questions after identifying themselves as users of CAM, which was contextually defined as including "acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic, herbal remedies, or homeopathy."

Half (49.6%) of the subjects indicated previous or current CAM use. Subjects were significantly more likely to use CAM if they:

* were "non-Hispanic white";
* earned over $50,000 annually;
* had never been married;
* possessed over 12 years of education; or
* had high daily stress, a "perceived negative impact of military life on physical or mental health" or chronic illness.

Back pain was the most common ailment in CAM users (50.2% of users) diagnosed by a medical physician, followed by hay fever (43.1%), medication allergies (38.6%) and depression (34.9%). The authors note that the prevalence rates for CAM use in veterans fall at the high end of prevalence rates in civilian populations.

Baldwin CM, Long K, et al. A profile of military veterans in the southwestern United States who use complementary and alternative medicine: Implications for integrated care. Archives of Internal Medicine 2002:162, pp. 1697-1704.
http://archinte.ama-assn.org

Chiropractic Research Review

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