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Veterans Salute Alternative Medicine

American civilians clearly love complementary and alternative medicine (CAM): Visits to CAM practitioners exceeded the number of visits to primary care physicians from 1990-1997. Do military veterans, who may be exposed to more injuries and ailments than the general public, similarly seek alternative health to heal themselves?

To determine the prevalence of CAM usage by military veterans in the southwestern U.S., over 500 veterans from the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System were randomly selected to complete a phone interview. "CAM" included chiropractic, acupuncture, herbal remedies and homeopathy in this study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Half (50%) of the veterans indicated previous or current CAM use, which is at the high end of the estimated 30-50% of other Americans using CAM. Back pain was the most common ailment in CAM users (50% of users), followed by hay fever (43%) and medication allergies (39%).

Why the interest in alternative medicine? Because in many cases, it's been proven more effective than traditional medicine. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about the many alternatives to conventional medical care, and the variety of conditions chiropractic is proven to treat.

Reference: Baldwin CM, Long K, et al. A profile of military veterans in the southwestern United States who use complementary and alternative medicine: Implications for integrated care. Archives of Internal Medicine 2002:162, pp. 1697-1704.

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