Rates, Patterns, and Predictors of Complementary Medicine Use Among Patients With Musculoskeletal Diseases

Fatima Alnaimat , Hamza Alduraidi, Laila Alhafez, Lujain Abu Raddad, Bassem I. Haddad, Mohammad Hamdan, Jihad Alajlouni, Fatma U. Afifi


To investigate the extent of complementary medicine (CM) use and the most common therapies utilized by Jordanian patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) diseases.


This study examines the prevalence, trends, and determinants of CM usage among patients with MSK illnesses. The questionnaire also seeks to determine the source of CM advice and whether patients have addressed their usage of CM with their physicians. No prior research has examined the prevalence of CM use among patients with these conditions in Jordan.

Materials and methods

A cross-sectional survey was performed of outpatients attending the orthopedic and rheumatology clinic at the Jordan University Hospital (JUH) in Amman, Jordan. The hospital is a teaching hospital and is a tertiary referral center that serves large areas of the country, with over 400,000 outpatient visits in 2020 [14].


Half of the patients (53.8%) reported using CM therapies to alleviate their disease’s symptoms, 14% to improve their overall health, and 16% to slow the progression of their condition, while 10.2% of the patients believed that complementary therapy would cure their illness and 6% thought that it would assist in reducing the side effects of their regular medications. Fifty-five percent of the patients believed that they obtained the sought result from complementary therapy, compared to 45% who did not. Only 9.5% of patients reported discussing their CM use with their treating physician.


Several studies [6, 26, 38] found a positive relationship between the use of CM and a higher education level. According to our findings, a higher level of education increases the likelihood of physical CM use but not nutritional CM. A previous study of Jordanian patients with chronic diseases also found no statistically significant correlation between education level and nutrional CM use [18].Our study’s finding of increased CM use with the advancement of a participant’s age is consistent with previous research, as those older than 64 are more likely to use CM [6, 25]. This, however, might not always hold. When stratified by BMI, normal/underweight persons 50 years and older were less likely to use CM than those younger than 35 years [25]


This study confirms a high prevalence of CM use among patients with musculoskeletal disorders in Jordan. The results indicate that women are more likely than men to use CM, and patients with a higher education level tend to use physical CM more frequently. Family and friends were the primary sources of nutritional and physical CM recommendations, whereas physicians recommended physical CM more often than nutritional CM. Almost all participants reported using CM in conjunction with their prescribed treatment. Still, it is important to note that some patients may conceal their non-adherence to standard therapy, which could jeopardize the quality of their medical care.

Consequently, these findings underscore the significance of physicians being aware of their patients’ CM practices and routinely inquiring about them to offer appropriate advice on CM’s potential benefits and drawbacks for their specific medical conditions. Given the high frequency of CM use demonstrated in this study, the question "Are you using any complementary medicine therapy?" should be a standard component of patients’ medical histories.


The authors would like to thank Dr. Sara Alhabees for her assistance with data collection and entry, and Drs. Yasmeen AlNsour and Lujain Dawod for their assistance with data collection and literature review.

Citation: Alnaimat F, Alduraidi H, Alhafez L, Abu Raddad L, Haddad BI, Hamdan M, et al. (2023) Rates, patterns, and predictors of complementary medicine use among patients with musculoskeletal diseases. PLoS ONE 18(6): e0287337.

Editor: Omar A. Almohammed, King Saud University, SAUDI ARABIA

Received: November 19, 2022; Rates, Patterns, and Predictors of Complementary Medicine Use Among Patients With Musculoskeletal Diseases: June 3, 2023; Published: June 23, 2023

Copyright: © 2023 Alnaimat et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: This project was funded by the deanship of scientific research at the university of Jordan to F.A, grant number 1371/2020/19. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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