Complementary Alternative Medicine: A Culturally Centered Approach to Managing Chronic Pain from One American Indian Community

Author: Kellie Webb, Allyson Kelley, Diseree Restad, Kelley Milligan, Sadie Posey, Andrea Engavo; Eastern Shoshone Recovery Program Staff and Community
Conference/Journal: Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res
Date published: 2023 Aug 7
Other: Volume ID: 30 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 55-69 , Special Notes: doi: 10.5820/aian.3002.2023.55. , Word Count: 222

This evaluation explored the benefits of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) within a reservation-based, State-certified outpatient treatment provider. The three CAM strategies provided were massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic therapies. The evaluation team worked with a peer recovery support specialist and tribal evaluation intern to co-create a one-page, eight-question, fixed-response instrument based on previous work in the community. Surveys were collected by the peer support specialist post-session with individuals receiving CAM therapies. Surveys assessed self-reported impacts, reasons for attending CAM sessions, and mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health before and after CAM sessions. Paired t-tests were used to examine significant differences in mean scores before and after CAM sessions. A total of 40 participants completed the survey between March 2021 and March 2022. The evaluation found a significant increase in the mean scores for all measured self-reported health ratings: physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental. The greatest increase observed was for physical health (M = 5.32, SD = 2.53) and physical health after (M = 8.38, SD = 1.60) based on self-report data; t(78) = 6.46, p = .0001. CAM sessions positively influenced participants; 83% (n = 33) reported being more hopeful about their overall health and wellness. The holistic approach demonstrated promising results and potential benefits of CAM on overall wellness and belonging. Further research is needed to explore how CAM may be implemented as a culturally centered approach to managing chronic pain often associated with opioid use disorder.

PMID: 37523641 DOI: 10.5820/aian.3002.2023.55