Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2004 Aug;18(4):539-56. Ernst E. Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT, UK.
Complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) is immensely popular for musculoskeletal conditions. It is, therefore, essential to define CAM's value for such indications. This chapter summarises the trial data for or against CAM as a symptomatic treatment for back pain, fibromyalgia, neck pain, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Collectively the evidence demonstrates that some CAM modalities show significant promise, e.g. acupuncture, diets, herbal medicine, homoeopathy, massage, supplements. None of the treatments in question is totally devoid of risks. By and large the data are not compelling, not least due to their paucity and methodological limitations. It is, therefore, concluded that our research efforts must be directed towards defining which form of CAM generates more good than harm for which condition. PMID: 15301985 [PubMed – in process]