Consumer Reports' survey of its readers found that hands-on treatments such as chiropractic and deep-tissue massage helped relieve back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis. And in the case of back pain, chiropractic care outperformed prescription medicine.
Sixty-five percent of those surveyed using chiropractic treatments for back pain said they helped a lot. Only 53 percent using prescription medications found them as helpful.
Half of those who used deep-tissue massage or yoga found they helped a lot for osteoarthritis. The survey results indicated that both were almost on par with prescription medication.
But in the Consumer Reports National Research Center survey, alternative treatments were not found to be as helpful with many other medical conditions.
Take depression. Yoga or meditation helped about 35 percent. By contrast, 70 percent of those using prescription medication found it to be very helpful.
As for colds, flu, and allergies? Prescription medications were deemed much more helpful than nutritional supplements such as Vitamin C.
So alternative treatment in some cases may help, but Consumer Reports advises checking with your doctor first.
Consumer Reports says don't forget to check your insurance. Certain types of alternative treatments might be covered.