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The epidemic of opiate use-related deaths has become a public health crisis and has highlighted the potentially lethal effects of opiates. Vermont has adopted new laws to address the prescription of opiates, which has reduced the number of prescriptions by 41% between 2013 and 2017. However, there has been sparse research how the decrease in prescriptions has influenced the use of non-pharmacologic and/or complementary methods of pain management, such as acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, yoga, massage, meditation, and psychotherapy. In October and November 2018, patients with musculoskeletal pain were surveyed about current methods of pain management, experience with complementary medicine, likelihood of using complementary methods in the future, and potential barriers to use. Interviews were conducted at the Community Health Centers of Burlington - Riverside. Nine patients completed the survey, 5 of 9 had chronic pain (>3 months). Most patients had used either medications or physical therapy for musculoskeletal pain in the past. Participants expressed most interest in using chiropractic manipulation, massage, and acupuncture for future pain management. Barriers included cost, lack of time and/or scheduling, and lack of knowledge about the benefits of complementary therapy. Future interventions should address these barriers, and should also focus on educating providers about the efficacy and local availability of complementary medical services.

Clinical Site

Community Health Centers of Burlington


Complementary medicine, chronic pain

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Medical Education | Primary Care

Attitudes towards Complementary Medicine in Patients with Musculoskeletal Pain