Pain Control in Sickle Cell Disease Patients: Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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Chronic Pain, Complementary Alternative Methods, Coping with Pain, Sickle Cell Disease


Objective. To examine the factors associated with the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as reported by patients attending an adult sickle cell clinic at a tertiary institution. Design. Cross-sectional survey. Setting. This study was conducted in a university tertiary care adult sickle cell clinic. Subjects. Adult sickle cell patients. Method. Following Institutional Review Board approval, a questionnaire was administered to patients in a sickle cell clinic to examine their use of CAM for managing pain at home and while admitted to the hospital. Results. Of the 227 respondents who completed the questionnaire, 92% experienced pain lasting from 6 months to more than 2 years. Two hundred and eight (91.6%) indicated that they have used CAM within the last 6 months to control pain. The frequency of CAMs use was higher among females, singles, those with more education, and higher household income. Conclusions. This study shows that a substantial majority of sickle cell patients live with pain on a regular basis and that there is substantial CAM use in the adult Sickle cell disease population. Being female and having a high school or higher education were significantly correlated with the use of CAM in sickle cell patients. A variety of CAM therapies are used, with the most common being prayer.

Journal Title

Pain Medicine





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First Department

Public Health, Nutrition and Wellness