Context: The drive for a quick return to sport after injury can be great. Athletes look to their sports medicine provider for guidance on a speedy and effective recovery. The sports medicine physician has a number of different treatment options to consider when they turn to their medical armamentarium. One of those treatment choices is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Unfortunately, there is limited evidence for many of the CAM modalities. Furthermore, CAM prescribing practices among sports medicine physicians is unknown. The aim of this study is to determine the prescribing practices of CAM among physicians for common sports medicine pathologies.
Methods: An online survey of the prescribing practices of CAM by physician members of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.
Results: A total of 257 physicians answered the question on prescribing CAM for a response rate of 11%. Of those who responded, 88% prescribed at least one type of CAM in the last one year. The responders identified 23 different CAM modalities they prescribed. Of those modalities prescribed, chiropractic/osteopathic manipulation was the most common followed by acupuncture/electroacupuncture and yoga. Less commonly prescribed CAM included omega-3 fatty acids, riboflavin, and meditation. Providers utilized CAM for common sports medicine pathologies including ligamentous, tendinous and muscle injury, concussion, and low back pain among others. The survey participants believed many of these CAM modalities to be effective.
Conclusions: Among responders, the prescribing prevalence of at least one CAM therapy was high. Sports medicine physicians utilized a number of different CAM modalities to treat common sports medicine pathologies.