Finally another organization, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) is pointing out how ridiculous the CDC recommendations for alternative treatments are.
The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) is really stretching the word “medical” with some of their latest content.
Ms. Abbasi summarized and highlighted the findings of a large study published in September in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings that analyzed the use of complementary medicine for recurring pain that may become chronic or debilitating.
But, when you dig a bit deeper, the conclusion of the article is a stretch, at best.
To summarize, the article looked at complementary health approaches to pain management, focusing on acupuncture, manipulation, massage therapy, relaxation techniques including meditation, selected natural product supplements, tai chi and yoga.
It analyzed trials of these approaches by giving each a mark of “positive” meaning the technique was helpful or “negative” – not helpful. And, if there were more positive result than negative – the technique was deemed useful overall.
From this ridiculous rubric, they report the following to be helpful:
- acupuncture for back pain and osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee;
- massage therapy for neck and back pain;
- osteopathic manipulation for back pain;
- relaxation for headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia;
- spinal manipulation for back pain;
- Tai chai for osteoarthritis of the knee and fibromyalgia; and
- yoga for back pain.
The first problem in making these large, generalized statements is the limitation of the data presented in the paper.
I would argue that the first problem is that these methods do NOT work for most people.
While there may be an initial placebo response from the intense wish that these methods would work, serious pain has not be relieved in this way.
The two tables that are responsible for these conclusions are shown below.
People who suffer from chronic pain cannot be cured by a few chaturangas.
But if they can, they did not have pain – they had mild discomfort.
Even though the study is lacking, it is the fact that this study got picked up, written about, and highlighted in JAMA that is disturbing. In publishing their summary of the paper, they are bringing more attention to a study on complementary medicine that is incredibly flawed, perpetuating the ongoing movement of giving these techniques more credibility than they deserve.
If they are publishing articles highlighting approaches that are not backed by science, medicine is going down a very dangerous road. And, JAMA is leading the way
The AMA and JAMA have wholeheartedly jumped onto the anti-opioid bandwagon, and are now distancing themselves from the scientific principles of medicine.