If you are considering, or already using, a nonsurgical or alternative therapy, practice, or product, follow these steps as you explore your options and make a decision on what works best for you:
Talk with your doctor
Your doctor can help you determine if the treatment is safe and may be beneficial. Some complementary and alternative therapies or products may interfere with medications you are taking, or negatively affect other health conditions you may have.
Research the safety and effectiveness of the product or therapy
The benefits received from the treatment should outweigh the risks. To find out more about a product or therapy, you can search for scientific literature on the product or therapy at a public or college library, or on the Internet. In addition, you can request information from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 1-888-644-6226 or http://nccam.nih.gov.
Determine the expertise of the practitioner or salesperson
If you are considering working with a licensed practitioner, check with your local and state medical boards for information about the practitioner’s credentials and whether any complaints have been filed against the person. If you are considering purchasing a product, check with your local or state business bureau to find out whether any complaints have been filed against the company represented.
- Estimate the total cost of the treatment
- Because many complementary and alternative therapies are not covered by health insurance, is important to know exactly how much the treatment will cost.
- Do not substitute a proven treatment for unproven one.
If a medication or other treatments recommended by your doctor has helped your condition, they should not be replaced with alternative products, practices or therapies that have not been proven effective without your doctor’s consent.
Source: Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Dr. Richard A. Kube II, MD.