Complementary alternative medicine practices and beliefs in spinal cord injury and non-spinal cord injured individuals

Renuka T. Rudra, Gary J. Farkas, Shahd Haidar, Kristin E. Slavoski, Nancy E. Lokey, Timothy R. Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Context/Objective: To compare the beliefs and practices of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI), their friends and family members (F&F SCI), and healthcare professionals (HCP) regarding complementary alternative medicine (CAM). Design: A questionnaire regarding CAM practices and beliefs was administered to participants on paper or online. Setting: An academic rehabilitation hospital. Participants: Ninety-six individuals voluntarily participated in the study. Participants included 28 patients with SCI, 36 F&F SCI, and 32 HCP. Interventions: Not applicable Outcome Measures: The questionnaire assessed participants’ prior or current use of 14 CAM modalities, their willingness to use CAM in the future or recommend its use, and their beliefs and opinions of CAM. Results: Participants with SCI and their family and friends, were more likely than HCP to have used CAM (P ≤ 0.01 and P ≤ 0.03, respectively) and recommend its use (P ≤ 0.04 and P ≤ 0.03, respectively). All three groups showed statistical significance in their willingness to ever use certain CAM modalities (P ≤ 0.03 for SCI, P ≤ 0.04 for F&F SCI, and P ≤ 0.02 for HCP). SCI, F&F SCI, and HCP groups had similar beliefs and opinions regarding CAM. Conclusion: Patients with SCI as well as their friends and family, have significantly more experience with CAM and are more likely to recommend its use than HCP, suggesting that they are interested and find benefit in alternative healthcare. This warrants further investigation of the integration of CAM into general health practices for those with SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-666
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Complementary alternative medicine
  • Healthcare
  • Medicine
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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