The Risks and Benefits of Alternative Medicine

If you were suffering from pain from an accident or illness, what would you be willing to do to find relief? Would you try herbal supplements or go on a special diet? Would you be willing to undergo hypnosis or let someone poke you with small needles? These treatments might seem strange, unnecessary, or even dangerous. But for people who are still suffering after trying traditional methods, alternative medicine can help them find much-needed relief.

What is Alternative Medicine?

Mayo Clinic defines alternative medicine as “health care practices that traditionally have not been part of conventional medicine.” Some types of alternative medicine are disregarded by the mainstream medical community because they simply seem pointless. Others believe that alternative medicine is actually a risk to a patient’s health, as it may encourage them to ignore conventional treatments, like surgery. However, some types of alternative medicine have become more accepted within mainstream medicine, especially when used in conjunction with traditional practices. When a patient combines alternative and traditional medicine, like taking herbal supplements while undergoing chemotherapy, it is called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

About 38% of adults and 12% of children use CAM, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. It is especially prominent among people with cancer, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

Types of Alternative Medicine

Some examples of CAM include:

  • Acupuncture, a type of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting small needles into specific parts of the body
  • Chiropractic medicine
  • The use of dietary or herbal supplements
  • Electromagnetic therapy, which uses magnets and electric pulses to fix imbalances in the body
  • “Oriental medicine,” like qigong, tai chi, yoga, and meditation

Some methods are more widely accepted than others. Acupuncture and chiropractic medicine, for example, are relatively popular and might even be recommended by a physician.

Medical Malpractice in CAM

But like any form of medicine, there are still certain risks associated with some types of CAM. Chiropractic medicine, for example, is associated with risks like broken bones or spinal trauma. Just like in traditional medicine, medical malpractice can occur in the CAM field through issues like:

  • Unsanitary equipment or environment
  • Understaffing
  • Miscommunications between staff
  • Failure to diagnose or a delay in diagnoses
  • Medication errors

When a patient suffers an injury during a CAM procedure, it can have lasting consequences. Along with lingering pain or a permanent injury, injured patients might lose time from work, be unable to enjoy previous hobbies, or suffer from emotional distress as a result of their injury. Medical malpractice, no matter the cause, has serious results.

If you decide to seek out a form of alternative medicine, do your research and know the risks. Even though it differs from traditional medicine, the risk of malpractice, negligence, and harm is still there.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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