A Descriptive Study of Pain Relief Practices Among Student-Athletes in Palestine: Focus on Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, and Complementary Medicine and Alternative Medicine Use
Publication Type
Original research

Many athletes suffering from musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction will use some types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Therefore, this study aimed to determine the prevalence, awareness, and behaviors related to NSAIDs and CAM use in Palestinian student-athletes. This was a cross-sectional study that involved 227 students from the Faculty of Sports at An-Najah National University. A self-administered questionnaire was designed in Arabic; it had six sections and a number of open-ended and closed-ended questions. SPSS version 21 was used to analyze the results. Descriptive statistics (i.e., frequencies, percentages) were used to describe the results including demographic characteristics. Overall, 79.3% of the student-athletes had used NSAIDs in the past and 89.0% had used CAM. The CAM methods used by participants were: herbals (57.3%), supplements (32.2%), cupping (11.9%), acupuncture (2.2%), massage (51.5%), yoga (4.0%), praying (18.1%) and ice packs (20.7%). The herbs commonly used by participants were: sage (20.7%), Menthol (21.1%), Aniseed (10.6%), Chamomile (4.0%), Cinnamon (1.3%), Turmeric (4.0%), Ginger (35.7%), and a mixture of herbs (18.5%); Regarding the perceived advantages of CAM use, 82.2% thought that CAM is beneficial for their health, 79.7% thought CAM is safe, 71.3% used it because of the successful experience of others, and 60.9% used it because it's more available than medical therapy. Among NSAIDs users, 17.2% reported recent use of over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs, and 33.9% of users used prescribed NSAIDs within the last three months for sport-related reasons. When asked to report any side-effect of NSAIDs they knew, only 22.6% were able to list at least one side-effect. This study shows a high prevalence of NSAIDs and CAM use among student-athletes in Palestine with a low level of knowledge and awareness of their side-effects. Therefore, education strategies that focus on enhancing and improving student-athletes' knowledge of the proper use and the possible side-effects of NSAIDs and CAM are needed.

J Community Health
Publisher Country
United States of America
Thomson Reuters
Impact Factor
Publication Type
Both (Printed and Online)