Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Axial Spondyloarthritis: A Qualitative Exploration of Self-Management

Abbie L Jordan, Hannah Family, Kelly Blaxall, Fiona M Begen, Raj Sengupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
216 Downloads (Pure)


Axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) is an inflammatory rheumatic condition that is often subject to diagnostic delays. Individuals with axSpA report using complementary and alternative therapies prior to and following diagnosis, though little is known concerning reasons underlying use of such therapies. This study provides detailed insights into the motivation and experiences of complementary and alternative medicine use within a population of individuals with axSpA. Open-ended surveys were completed by 30 individuals (20-69 years; 17 females) diagnosed with axSpA. Subsequent telephone interviews were conducted with eight individuals (39-70 years; five females) diagnosed with axSpA. Data were analyzed using reflexive inductive thematic analysis. Themes of "a learning curve", "barriers to complementary and alternative therapy use" and "complementary or mutually exclusive" illustrated how participants" increasing understanding of their condition empowered them to explore complementary and alternative therapies use as an adjunct to mainstream care. Individuals with axSpA recommended greater integration between mainstream and complementary and alternative therapies, valuing informed advice from mainstream healthcare professionals before selecting appropriate complementary and alternative therapies for potential use. Healthcare professionals should be proactive in discussing complementary and alternative therapy use with patients and supply them with details of organizations that can provide good-quality information.

Original languageEnglish
Article number699
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date17 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Structured keywords

  • Physical and Mental Health


  • axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA)
  • ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
  • complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
  • self-management
  • self-regulatory model
  • qualitative
  • patients


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