Author's Note: With the exception of the first 4 references which relate to specific articles, the references provided herein were used as general background and are not annotated. They do represent a useful summary of the background for the editorial and are therefore included forthose interested.
Headache Currents—Clinical Review
CAM in the Real World: You May Practice Evidence-Based Medicine, But Your Patients Don't
Article first published online: 25 APR 2014
© 2014 American Headache Society
Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain
Volume 54, Issue 6, pages 1097–1102, June 2014
How to Cite
Cowan, R. P. (2014), CAM in the Real World: You May Practice Evidence-Based Medicine, But Your Patients Don't. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 54: 1097–1102. doi: 10.1111/head.12364
Conflict of Interest: None.
- Issue published online: 10 JUN 2014
- Article first published online: 25 APR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 MAR 2014
- complementary and alternative medicine
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) approaches are widely used among individuals suffering from headache. The medical literature has focused on the evidence base for such use and has largely ignored the fact that these approaches are in wide use despite that evidence base.
This article focuses on the uses of CAM by patients and suggests strategies for understanding and addressing this use without referring back to the evidence base. The rationale for this discussion pivots on the observation that patients are already using these approaches, and for many there are anecdotal and historical bases for use which patients find persuasive in the absence of scientific evidence.
Until such time as the body of scientific literature adequately addresses non-conventional approaches, physicians must acknowledge and understand, as best as possible, CAM approaches which are in common use by patients. This is illustrated with a case study and examples from practice. This article does not review the evidence base for various CAM practices as this has been done well elsewhere.