Complimentary Medicine and Physical Disabilities

A U.S. national survey   researching the connection between the use of complimentary medicine and those that have a physical disability produced some interesting results.
Matthew J. Carlson, Ph.D. and Gloria Krahn of Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University
conducted the survey, the purpose of which was to estimate the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as used by the practitioner, assess the reasons for its use, and determine the symptoms for which CAM practitioners were consulted. This was conducted  in a national US sample of insured adults with physical disabilities.

The methods used were data  from a longitudinal survey  on a national sample of some 830 adults covered by health insurance who had one of the four disabling conditions: cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and spinal cord injury. Cross sectional analysis of the data produced estimates of annual prevalence and reasons and symptoms for which CAM practitioners were consulted.

The results showed that CAM practitioners were consulted by 19% of the sample, a rate similar to, or higher than the general population. The use of CAM was more prevalent among women than men (24 vs. 10%), in the Western US (30%) compared to the Midwest (20%) Northeast (14%), and South (10%). It was used by former devotees (62%) compared to non-users (8%).  Spinal cord injury reported the lowest use (14%). The most common symptoms treated were pain (80%), decreased functioning (43%), and lack of energy (24%). The common reasons for using CAM practitioners included a lifestyle choice (67%) and also because they are perceived to be more effective than conventional medicine (44%).

The conclusions of the  survey suggest that a significant proportion of people with physical disabilities consult CAM practitioners. Many of those who use CAM do so because it fits their lifestyle and because they perceive it to be more effective than conventional medicine for treating common symptoms including pain and decreased functioning.

Effective treatment of physical disability can also be achieved by obtaining and using the correct physical therapy product. Leading the pack is the TUTOR system. Consisting of the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR these recent innovations have been created to treat physical limb disabilities as a result of a stroke, brain or spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, MS, CP and other upper or lower limb disabilities.

The TUTOR system consists of motivating and challenging games that allow the patient to practice isolated and/or interjoint coordination exercises. The dedicated software allows the therapist to fully customize the exercises to the patient’s movement ability. Consisting of ergonomicaly designed gloves and braces the TUTORs optimize the patient’s motor, sensory and cognitive performance and allows him to better perform daily functional tasks and thereby improve his quality of life.

The TUTORs are currently in use in leading U.S. and European hospitals and clinics and are available at home through telerehabilitation. Fully certified by the FDA and CE the TUTORs can be used by adults as well as children from the age of 5 and up.

See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for further information.

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