Tell Your Doctor about Acupuncture
Source: NY Times
People with chronic back, neck or joint pain commonly seek acupuncture and chiropractic care for relief, but many don’t tell their doctors about it, a new study reports.
Researchers said they were surprised to find that of some 6,068 chronic pain patients who responded to a questionnaire, 47 percent reported using chiropractic care, 32 percent said they used acupuncture, and 21 percent used both. Only 42 percent said they used neither acupuncture nor chiropractic. All of the patients were members of Kaiser Permanente Northwest, a group model health maintenance organization based in Portland, Ore.
Many of the patients studied did not share information about alternative treatments with their regular doctors, and the information was not in their electronic medical records. About a third of acupuncture users and 42 percent of chiropractic care users did not tell their regular doctors about the care.
Some patients who paid for the care privately may have been eligible for insurance coverage, said Dr. Charles Elder of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, the paper’s first author. “Alternative treatments work for a lot of patients,” he said, but communicating with your doctor is important. “If I don’t know what my patients are doing, I can’t advise them.”
The study was published in The American Journal of Managed Care.