Dr. Madhu Singh Comments on Complementary Health Approaches to Pain

November 8, 2016

Dr. Madhu Singh, a physical medicine and rehabilitation orthopedic physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, contributed to an article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)entitled "As Opioid Epidemic Rages, Complementary Health Approaches to Pain Gain Traction."

The story focused on a recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings by National Institutes of Health (NIH). Researchers at the NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) examined efficacy and safety evidence for popular complementary approaches to common pain conditions. The authors suggest that complementary health techniques have a legitimate place in a physician's pain relief toolkit, which can be welcome news as health care professionals deal with the opioid abuse crisis.

Dr. Singh praised the NCCIH review as "an excellent overview of the more rigorous RCTs that have been performed" for several common complementary therapies. However, Singh—who emphasizes non-surgical spine management in her practice—pointed out that many of the approaches aren't feasible for patients because insurance companies by and large don't cover them. Because of this, "physicians are often backed into a corner when dealing with a patient's pain," she said, referring to the tendency to default to medications.

Read the entire article at jamanetwork.com.