A large study conducted in France showed that patients with chronic musculoskeletal disorders had a 50 percent reduced usage of conventional pain medication by being under the care of a physician who specializes in prescribing homeopathic medicines (Rossignol, Begaud, Engel, et al, 2012).

This study of 1,153 patients with musculoskeletal disorders* compared treatments from conventional physicians (CM), physicians who specialized in homeopathic medicine (Ho), and physicians who engaged in a mixed practice of conventional and natural treatments (Mx). Some of the musculoskeletal disorders of patients who were included in this study were: Osteoarthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, tendinitis, rotary cuff syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, intervertebral disc disorders, neck pain, torticollis, and spinal stenosis.

This study was approved by the French National Data-Protection Commission and the French National Council of Physicians. Prior to the start of the study, a higher percentage of patients who received care from a MD homeopath were found to have a “chronic” musculoskeletal disorder (61 percent), as compared with those going to conventional MDs (50 percent) or to MDs who practiced a mixed treatment (52 percent).

Despite the fact that the homeopathic patients were considered ill for a longer period of time, this study showed that the patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain had a 50 percent reduced use of conventional pain medication, while patients with acute musculoskeletal pain had a 38 percent reduced use. In addition to this significant reduction in the use of painkillers, the patients who received homeopathic treatment showed a similar clinical progression of their musculoskeletal disease as assessed by standardized functional scales.

The researchers acknowledged that musculoskeletal disorders are a leading reason for medical consultation in primary care. The researchers also noted that this nationwide observational study was conducted over one year and that long-term usage of conventional pain medications are known to have numerous minor and serious side effects, as distinct from homeopathic medicines which have a long-time history of safety. Because homeopathic medicine in France is only practiced by MDs, the researchers asserted that maintaining the present reimbursement schedule for homeopathic treatment keeps health care costs down.

The researchers of this study were a diverse and prestigious group of professors of epidemiology, biostatistics, and medicine from the University of Paris, the Pasteur Institute, University of Bordeaux, University of Pierre and Marie Curie, McGill University, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

At present, homeopathic medicine is the leading natural treatment offered by physicians in Europe, where approximately 40 percent of French physicians and 20 percent of German physician prescribe homeopathic medicines regularly (Ullman, 2007). Further, approximately 30 percent of the European population has used homeopathic medicines at some time.

Sources for this article include:

Glover, Scott; and Girion, Lisa. Deaths tied to painkillers rising in the U.S. Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2013, front page: Painkiller article

Rossignol M, Begaud B, Engel P, et al. Impact of physician preferences for homeopathic or conventional medicines on patients with musculoskeletal disorders: results from the EPI3-MSD cohort. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2012 Jul 11. doi: 10.1002/pds.3316. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22782803

Ullman, D. The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2007. www.homeopathic.com

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