An Assessment of Naturopathic Treatments, Health Concerns, and Common Comorbid Conditions in Fibromyalgia Patients: A Retrospective Medical Record Review
Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by chronic pain, with allodynia and hyperalgesia being the most common signs. Many patients with FM explore, express interest, and use complementary and alternative medicine to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. However, little is known about the clinical recommendations provided by naturopathic doctors (NDs).
To describe trends in assessment and treatment of patients with FM by NDs.
Retrospectively, medical records of 200 patients with the FM ICD-10 code were reviewed from the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. Of these records, 70 met inclusion criteria and were further analyzed. Comorbid conditions, health concerns, physical and psychological examinations, and treatment were recorded. Patients were excluded if informed consent for research was not signed. The project was approved by the Research Ethics Board of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Seventy patients met criteria and were included in the current analysis. Most patients identified as female (96%). Vitamin D (57%), magnesium (54%), omega-3 fish oil (53%), acupuncture by an acupuncturist (53%) or an ND (40%), B12 orally or by injection (40%), and probiotics (40%) were highly utilized treatments. A past/current medical history of digestive complaints (64%) and depression/mental illness (63%) were common comorbidities, alongside a history of arthritic conditions (53%) and anxiety (43%). A family history of arthritic conditions (47%) was also prevalent. The Widespread Pain Index and Symptom Severity tool (43%) was used to assess pain and other symptoms. No adverse effects of treatment were readily identifiable.
Findings from this study reveal elements of both consistency and variability in the treatment recommendations from NDs in a teaching clinic environment. Future research that assesses or compares treatment recommendations for FM in other settings may be informative to better understand health services, the nature of individualized care, and patient experiences.
DOI Link: https://doi.org/10.1089/jicm.2021.0231
Christilynn Guerin, Bisleen Attli, Kieran Cooley, Samah Hassan, Shadi Sarebanha, Paymon Sadrolsadot, and Christine Chung
Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine
Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine 2022 28:4, 363-372