Efficacy of selected complementary and alternative medicine interventions for chronic pain

Gabriel Tan, Michael H. Craine, Matthew J. Bair, M. Kay Garcia, James Giordano, Mark P. Jensen, Shelley M. McDonald, David Patterson, Richard A. Sherman, Wright Williams, Jennie C.I. Tsao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

36 Scopus citations


Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, therapies, and products that are not presently considered part of conventional medicine. This article provides an up-to-date review of the efficacy of selected CAM modalities in the management of chronic pain. Findings are presented according to the classification system developed by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (formerly Office of Alternative Medicine) and are grouped into four domains: biologically based medicine, energy medicine, manipulative and body-based medicine, and mind-body medicine. Homeopathy and acupuncture are discussed separately as "whole or professionalized CAM practices." Based on the guidelines of the Clinical Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, findings indicate that some CAM modalities have a solid track record of efficacy, whereas others are promising but require additional research. The article concludes with recommendations to pain practitioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-222
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Biologically based medicine
  • Chronic pain
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Efficacy
  • Energy medicine
  • Manipulative and body-based medicine
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Pain management
  • Rehabilitation
  • Whole or professionalized CAM practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation

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  • Cite this

    Tan, G., Craine, M. H., Bair, M. J., Garcia, M. K., Giordano, J., Jensen, M. P., McDonald, S. M., Patterson, D., Sherman, R. A., Williams, W., & Tsao, J. C. I. (2007). Efficacy of selected complementary and alternative medicine interventions for chronic pain. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 44(2), 195-222. https://doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2006.06.0063