JAMA Article on Complementary Approaches to Chronic Pain Blasted by American Council on Science and Health

JAMA Article on Complementary Approaches to Chronic Pain Blasted by American Council on Science and Health

An article in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) titled “As Opioid Epidemic Rages, Complementary Health Approaches to Pain Gain Traction” has the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) up in arms over “stretching the word ‘medical’” in their conclusions about the role of complementary medicine in treating chronic pain conditions.

ACSH emphasizes their opinion in a response published on their website entitled, “JAMA: Journal Of Alternative Medicine Atrocities.”

From the ACSH article by Julianna LeMieux:

The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) is really stretching the word “medical” with some of their latest content.

A recent article, “As Opioid Epidemic Rages, Complementary Health Approaches to Pain Gain Traction” written by Jennifer Abbasi, highlights the role of complementary medicine in pain management, while focusing on which techniques may be more useful for particular ailments. Ms. Abbasi summarized and highlighted the findings of a large study published in September in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings that analyzed the use of complementary medicine for recurring pain that may become chronic or debilitating.

But, when you dig a bit deeper, the conclusion of the article is a stretch, at best.

The original study was done by a group of five people at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. The authors have many varying degrees from distinct backgrounds ranging from a cardiologist to a naturopath. From a chiropractor to a PhD in neuroscience. The findings of the article were covered in depth by Dr. Kedist Tedla of ACSH in September, after the study was first published.

To summarize, the article looked at complementary health approaches to pain management, focusing on acupuncture, manipulation, massage therapy, relaxation techniques including meditation, selected natural product supplements, tai chi and yoga. It analyzed trials of these approaches by giving each a mark of “positive” meaning the technique was helpful or “negative” – not helpful. And, if there were more positive result than negative – the technique was deemed useful overall.

From this ridiculous rubric, they report the following to be helpful:  acupuncture for back pain and osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee; massage therapy for neck and back pain; osteopathic manipulation for back pain; relaxation for headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia; spinal manipulation for back pain; Tai chai for osteoarthritis of the knee and fibromyalgia; and yoga for back pain.

Read the rest of the article here, and after you do, give us your opinion on the JAMA article and the ACSH’s response.

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Tim Mason

On some articles (even the ones in NIH) you have to look at each tab. i.e. Diagnosis, symptoms, yada, yada,..if you try and go straight to the medication section they lock up.
Hope this helps.


There are laws governing them, it’s written clearly in the constitution but the apathy of Americans and people wanting everything done for them and given to them has allowed the government to get totally out of control. Greedy politicians are happy to take advantage of the situation.


SandraG, their insurance goes with their job. Politicians are not poor or everyday people. Even if they didn’t have insurance provided for them, they could afford the best money can buy.


Why does the senators have a great insurance ( that we pay for for their entire life along with their family ) we the people have nothing for insurance. Why don’t they pay for their own insurance. They do nothing for the American people but lie to us and grin.
I’m so tired of their lies. Then they pocket money and let the DEA, CDC an big Pharmaceutical companies run of the people of this country. They have no law to govern them. America we have to make our own change not with a politician we can’t trust them to take care of the people. I’m so sad about this country.

Tim Mason

Zyp, It does not sound like the periodical was peer reviewed. If it was, who were the peers.

Tim Mason

Sandra you could be right. I remember the night Ronald Reagan announced the war on drugs on National TV. He held up a bag of crack cocaine that would choke a horse. He made the statement that he had it purchased across the street from the White House just moments earlier. Also, according to Drug Incorporated a Netflix original, Wall Street if full of real junkies. Pain not included. (Just thought I would throw this tidbit in here)


SandraG, I totally agree with you. If those in power were affected like others, things would not have gotten as far as they have. Those in power see themselves as being above others. It is going to get worse.


Senators and other powers that be do not have to live or die under the same medical care as we peons do. They voted themselves OUT OF OBAMANATION CARE. While the general public fights for the ability to get halfway decent medical care for anything, not just pain, they continue with their specially designed insurance and doctors that don’t have to worry about their livelihood taken away.


You know Tim I think our senators do know about pain. Some of them are older an families older yet. I have a feeling their families do get pain medication. We would never know. No one would go after them because most of them support the DEA, CDC ect……
I have thought about this many times. They don’t stand on the same ground as we do.


Tim Mason

I have said this before and I must say it again. People, groups, senators, etc. that advocate alternate treatments to pain do know real pain, do not understand the concept of an enigma that can bring a person to not be able to do even the simplest tasks. They simply do not understand pain. They themselves have not yet “arrived” at that point in their life when joints and nerves begin to fail us.
These are the people that do not know that they do not know. They obviously are self-centered and caught up in their own lives for now that they have ignored their elderly parents and grandparents.
One day they will know their ignorance.

Sandy Miller

Connie, the same thing happened to me with ASCH. I subscribed twice, confirmed it and everything, so don’t know what the deal is there. But, here we all are, in such pain because we take a pill that helps us! I can’t take any of these exercises or yoga, etc. I can’t stand anyone touching me. My neurologist was in his mid 80’s when he retired last month. He only stayed on as long as he did for me. Nobody understands what a stroke in the thalamus can do to your body. It’s just nothing but pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and trust me I would much rather be doing things for my church, my grandkids, my family than beiing in this horrific pain I am in. My back is so bad, even afer having the Scoliosis surgery, it is better or I would be paralyzed by now, after having all those pain managment docs telling me they could give me injections for my back. My spinal surgeon couldn’t believe they were unable to see by x-rays how bad my back was, a complete letter “C”, I was bedridden, then with the pain fromthe stroke, which is a very rare condition, that is what I took an opioid for and I didn’t want too take it at first, but as the years went by, my pain was so bad I had no choice, I had to have something. THen we go thru all kinds of medications, some were just awful, trying to find the right meds that go together and work, and now the government takes our medications away. Yeah, whoever said Hitler would like this, is absolutely right. I never took a pain pill until I absolutely had to and mine wasn’t that strong, but it sure gave me a little relief so I could dust a few shelves, and put dishes away, only a few things a day, but no family reunions, I cannot take loud noises, and as much as my family that is left is getting old, I haven\t been able to go to any of their funerals because they live 3 hours or more from me. I cannot ride in a car that long. I just pray that maybe this new administration will have someone who understands us and believes us. We are not Hollywood people shooting up and taking pills at the same time, or taking one pill to do this and another for that. We strictly follow our doctors orders, but now you can’t find a doctor who will even talk to you. My PCP would not fill my Xanax refill from my other doctor, he said he would send me a list of psychiatrist. I couldn’t believe it, I have been taking these for so long, for panic attacks, I can’t stan being in an elevator, and I have to take one before I got to the dentist since my stroke. I can’t write my hands shake so… Read more »


ACSH seems to be having a problem. I want to read the rest of the article but they keep saying I have to subscribe which I have already done!
Taking medication away from those of us who need it is barbaric at best! Hitler would be proud of what our government is doing to people in pain!

Tim Mason

Sara, that Yoga thing is for a 25 to 30 something that does not have a spinal pathology. If you will notice the all the health mags use actors or models that are really healthy. They are not real pain patients.
Web MD is one of the worst for ill advice. “Run or jog for chronic back pain” or “A brisk morning walk will reduce your overall pain” image: 30 something with lulu lemons on and a pair of running shoes.

Melinda Roy

Unless we ban together,with Patient Advocate groups,write letters to our policy makers,elected and appointed official’s and be part of the solution,ranting and raving the same rhetoric,we are part of the problem.Some good came out of pain patients addressing the medical association in Montgomery,Al last month.The local news showed the consequences of limiting opioids to those who have a legitimate need for these medications,in order to function at all.It was worthwhile to note ,how properly channeling our Anger,effects change.

I was appalled that JAMA would publish such nonsense. The AMA has cravenly allowed the anti-opioid lobby to take over the field of pain treatment, ignoring the scientifically proven efficacy of opioids and promoting quackery instead. These are the very treatments the AMA once considered completely ineffective and warned patients away from.

The science hasn’t changed, only public opinion, and the AMA is promoting treatments that can be very damaging for pain patients whose bodies need meticulous and cautious care.

By example, for a person like myself with a connective tissue disorder, a “pain treatment” like yoga can cause permanent damage by pulling on joints that are already fragile and prone to dislocations. Yet, the AMA doesn’t even offer the slightest precautions against this or any other alternative treatments. They are either ignoring or unaware of the potential dangers of alternative medicine, and I believe this is criminal neglect of their patients.

Cowering in the face of all the noisy hype against opioids, the AMA has capitulated. I am furious that my doctor is forced to accept unreasonable and inappropriately generic restrictions on the only medicine that allows me to maintain some functionality.

I will never read another article in JAMA without serious doubts about its scientific rigor or veracity. Science no longer rules medicine and I am losing trust in the entire profession.


It sounds like things are being lined up to give more teeth to the National Pain Strategy.


This is typical Mayo! It took them years to admit fibromyalgia existed some Dr’s still have issues with it sadly. I don’t mean to sound negative but I speak from twenty years of experience with this facility. It has gotten better after finding a good Dr and advocating for myself strongly. We are fighters and we have to be!

Louis Ogden

Alternative medicine, in my opinion, does not help chronic pain. I am 66 years old and have had chronic pain since childhood. The ONLY THING that has helped me over these many years is opioid medication.

Sara B

Anyone in healthcare who suggests yoga for chronic pain should be shot. I just read an article by an actual yogi who said yoga should not be encouraged because of the many, many, many people who are being injured by it. Yes it’s great if you know what you are doing, have a certain amount of flexibility and use the right kind of yoga for your body, but to recommend it to the general chronic pain community like this? Criminal. As for the rest of it, what chronic pain patient can afford any of it anyway? I’ve tried most of what they recommend. Relaxation for my migraines? Don’t get me started. When I have level 7+ pain, it *may* keep me from pounding my head against a brick wall, killing my ex, or strangling all of my docs who now call me a drug seeker, but that’s about it….

The people saying these procedures work are the ones tryin to make money off it. Get a real chronic pain sufferer to do these procedures then see how many positives u get. The people that say they work have never had chronic pain 24/7.

Its hogwash. I tried everything they listed. I tried every non narcotic pain med, the lyrica, the ssri’s, trycylics, muscle relaxers, sleep meds and i did go to a natural doctor, lived at a chiropracter i was there every other day. The final straw before i gave up was opiates, was even on quite a few before the right one and dose was found. For 10 yrs i had a life. Then in may of 2016 when they cut my meds to a dose that provides minimal relief (they cdc knew the dose they picked would not be effective) and turned my life upside down. The surgeon screws me up and now i gotta suffer. I didnt ask for this.

Renee Mace


It’s very nice that these procedures are Helpful or beneficial for those who live in chronic pain, but I know for myself and many others that are in bad shape…we live on limited incomes of disability checks and can not afford these treatments, and most insurances and medicare do not cover these treatments and thus they do us absolutely no good!!!!….but yet we are all under attack and are having our pain medications taken from us and we are just left to suffer!!!!…there have been a couple suicides over these issues, and they (the DEA,FDA,our government) just don’t care!!! Because it isn’t them that have to live with all this pain!!!!!!!


They have been flooding the market for ten years gearing up for this. They have told the American people it’s only drug addicts that want pain medicine. They have been living on the edge of truth reporting the deaths to the public because of pain medicine. We did not see this coming. We have to educate the public put stories an faces in the picture. We have to tell the truth about the deaths. Make them back up their numbers. Also the Drug centers they have to back up how many people get an stay ( even for a short while) clean. They are lying to everyone. Get our stories on news in news papers on web.

scott michaels

opioid therapy is the only PROOVEN method of pain relief for chronic pain. They say there is no evidence. Arent the tens of thousands of patient comments ive read over the last 5 years evidence. arent the people that have commited suicide because they have no access to pain relief proof. isnt the fact that middle age people that were on opioid therapy are now searching the streets enough evidence. we have allowed the govt to basically take over the medicine business and the doctors let them. Too many hmos or too many insurance companies that are providers as well. i believe its all about the might buck. The snake oil salespeople are making out. Those so called therapists made my neck so bad thats one of the reasonsi take opioids.

Tim Mason

“As Opioid Epidemic Rages”
An epidemic refers to an infectious disease. Words like “outbreak” and vaccines come to mind. With this in mind, what is the rage?
I do not believe there is an opioid epidemic. I do not believe there is a opioid problem.
In a nutshell, I have read about people being dispatched from general doctors for pain treatment as they should. We have pain centers and pain specialists for that. I have also read about many pain patients being let go by the pain management facility due to many exit plans set in place to identify those that are addicted, those that come to get meds and sell on the street to pay bills, some to get meds the trade for heroin. I feel many of these so called clinics that are failing their patients is because they fail to implement the stragities to keep prescriptions out of the hands of 20 something’s that use them to get high. It is only logical that real pain patients are collateral damage in the effort to keep people honest.
The real problem is heroin usage. Diacetylmorphine was called “Heroin” because it was to save the opium addict. Todays modern version of Heroin is methadone and it does not seem to be working well either. There is an underworld of methadone users and methods they use to get high while passing the clinics test methods that determine if a patient is taking his or her meds.
I leave you with this. What is the average age of a methadone patient?


I get this writing.
But…I feel that once again… the medical arena is turning their heads away from the true subjects of chronic pain…US!
They each want to be the hero BUT WE ARE THE HEROES!! We are the suffering experts!
Let US speak and educate them. We are the pro’s on this issue. We have the answers for them.
Until the day that they decide to do these studies ‘strictly’ on US..
who have been through it all and know 120% what works and doesn’t work for US… we will continue to see these nonsense studies and articles.
Bottom line…we MUST go back to the days where we were treated ‘individually’, the days when our pain was in better control and when the government did not play with our lives.