(HealthDay News) – Youth with headache frequently use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a study published online Oct. 14 in Pediatrics.

Christina Bethell, PhD, MBA, MPH, from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues used linked data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey and the 2008 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey to identify prevalence and patterns of CAM use among youth with recurrent headaches.

Greater than 10% of youth experienced headaches (10.6%). The researchers found that 29.6% of those who experienced headaches used CAM. For headache sufferers who also experienced difficulties with emotions, concentration, behavior, school attendance, or daily activities, the proportion using CAM increased to 41%. The most commonly used therapies were biologically-based products (16.2%) and mind-body therapies (13.3%), especially by the 86.4% of youth with headache who had one or more concurrent chronic health conditions. Youth with headache who used CAM had higher expenditures for and use of most types of conventional care, compared with non-CAM users.

“The study findings support for proactive efforts among pediatricians and pediatric specialists to ask patients about co-occurring health conditions, functioning, and CAM use and to integrate CAM into conventional care,” the authors write.

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