Use of traditional and complementary medicine for musculoskeletal diseases

Turk J Med Sci. 2019 Jun 18;49(3):809-814. doi: 10.3906/sag-1509-71.


Background/aim: We aimedto determine the prevalence of traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) use among patients with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and to examine the methods used, frequency, and experienced benefits of therapies; the reasons for using TCM; and the sources of information about therapies. We also compared demographic characteristics of users and nonusers of TCM.

Materials and methods: The descriptive study was conducted with 839 patients who attended the physical therapy and rehabilitation units of 3 public hospitals between September 2014 and March 2015. A self-administered questionnaire including demographic characteristics, medical history, and details of TCM use was applied.

Results: Of the 839 individuals in the study (592 female, 247 male; mean age 48.9 ± 13.0 years), 35.4% reported using TCM. There was no significant statistical difference between users and nonusers in terms of age, gender, body mass index, socioeconomic status, or educational level (P > 0.05). The disease duration of TCM users was significantly higher than that of nonusers (P < 0.05). The most commonly used TCM methods were balneotherapy (31%), herbal therapies (30%), wet cupping (22.2%), and massage-manipulation methods (21.2%). Of TCM users, 75.1% were satisfied.

Conclusion: The prevalence of TCM use and satisfaction levels are high in patients with MSDs. Physicians should be well informed about TCM methods and raise the awareness of patients to prevent improper use of TCM.

Keywords: Complementary medicine; traditional medicine; musculoskeletal diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy*
  • Turkey / epidemiology