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Factors influencing the use of complementary and alternative medicine for musculoskeletal disorders in the United Arab Emirates

Sharfaa Ahmed, Faryal Shaikh, Salihu M Lawal, Fredrick Ogugua, Khaleifah Al-Hafeiti, Saif Saeed Al-Hafri, Rizwana B Shaikh
Published in : HAMDAN MEDICAL JOURNAL ; Vol 8, No 1 (2015)
DOI : 10.7707/hmj.371


The objective was to estimate the prevalence of and reasons for using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for various musculoskeletal conditions and to determine the most common musculoskeletal problems for which CAM is used. A cross-sectional study was conducted using 305 subjects, which included the doctors and staff members of Gulf Medical University and Gulf Medical Hospital, 20 years of age and over. Data were analysed using the SPSS program. Of the subjects documented, 51.1% admitted that they used alternative medicine, of which 30.1% used it alongside conventional medicine. Most subjects interviewed used Ayurveda (34%) and the most common use of CAM was to relieve general aches and pains (46.8%). A total of 30.2% of CAM users stated that conventional medicine was not effective, 23% of them felt that CAM relieves stressand 22.6% felt that it could reduce the severity of the condition. Painkillers were the most common conventional medicine usedalongside alternative medicine (48.2%). No significant difference was found between the effectiveness of CAM alone and CAM with conventional medicine. More than half the participants were making increasing use of CAM. Hospitals can provide CAM alongside conventional medicine in the UAE.


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