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J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Dec;12(10):995-1001.

Comprehensive, integrative management of pain for patients with sickle-cell disease.

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University of Florida College of Nursing, HPNP Complex, Gainesville, FL 32610-0187, USA.



The study was conducted to: (1) investigate both pharmacologic and complementary therapies used for pain management by caregivers of children with sickle cell disease (SCD), (2) investigate the prevalence and types of complementary therapies used for pain management by caregivers of children with SCD, and (3) explore caregivers' interests in using complementary therapies in the future.


A cross-sectional, descriptive design was used. Sixty-three caregivers of children with SCD were asked to complete a questionnaire while they visited a SCD clinic. Chi-square tests were performed to compare demographic variables, examine use of pharmacologic therapies for pain management between age groups, and compare use of pharmacologic and complementary therapies.


The most frequently used pain medications for children with SCD (mean age 9 years) were ibuprofen (37.5%), acetaminophen with codeine (32.1%), and acetaminophen with oxycodone (14.5%). More than 70% of 63 caregivers (mean age 33 years) were using some form of complementary therapies (3.67 +/- 2.95, range: 0-9) for their child. The most commonly used therapies were prayer, spiritual healing by others, massage, and relaxation. Complementary therapy use was significantly higher among caregivers of children who were taking two or more analgesics compared to children taking no analgesics or one analgesic (chi (2) = 3.954, p = 0.047). Although no difference was found in nonopioid analgesic use, there was significant difference in opioid analgesic use (chi (2) = 14.736, p = 0.002) and total medication use (chi (2) = 11.025, p = 0.012) between children < or = 12 years and > or =13 years.


Caregivers of children using greater numbers of conventional pain medications were more likely to be using complementary therapies as well. If offered in the future, many caregivers were willing to try various types of complementary therapies for pain management.

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