if you have chronic pain and are looking for alternatives to medication and surgery, you have a lot of options. “that phrase ‘alternative pain treatments’ doesn’t mean much to me,” says seddon r. savage, md, incoming president of the american pain society. however, not all alternative pain treatments work. some alternative treatments may help with pain from bad backs, osteoarthritis, and headaches, but have no effect on chronic pain from fibromyalgia or diabetic nerve damage. and always discuss any alternative pain treatments you want to try with your regular doctor. obviously, you need to be skeptical of any unproven or risky alternative pain treatments. experts say you should keep your expectations for alternative pain treatments modest — especially when it comes to “miracle cures.” a single supplement, device, or treatment is not going to make your chronic pain disappear.
savage says you also need to be suspicious of anyone pushing a treatment when the financial motive is blatant. “i think people should be careful whenever a person is making a living off of an untested pain remedy,” says savage. if you’re living with chronic pain, considering alternative treatments makes a lot of sense. but remember that even if a treatment is alternative, it has to be integrated with your overall pain management plan. instead, you and your doctor should talk over the pros and cons of different approaches. experts say that you should try to keep up to date with research into alternative treatments for chronic pain. the options for people with chronic pain are always growing — and some of the odder treatments of today might become the mainstream treatments of tomorrow. f. michael ferrante, md, director, ucla pain management center; professor of clinical anesthesiology and medicine, university of california, los angeles.
mind-body therapies are treatments that are meant to help the mind’s ability to affect the functions and symptoms of the body. another approach is to keep a diary of your pain episodes and the causative and corrective factors surrounding them. acupuncture is also thought to decrease pain by increasing the release of chemicals that block pain, called endorphins. acupuncture also may be an acceptable alternative to or may be included as part of a comprehensive pain management program.
this treatment also can reduce the presence of substances that may generate and sustain pain. therapeutic touch and reiki healing are thought to help activate the self-healing processes of an individual and therefore reduce pain. some herbs may interact with drugs you are receiving for pain or other conditions and may harm your health. always talk to your doctor before trying an alternative approach and be sure to tell all your doctors what alternative treatments you are using.
study after study has found that physical activity can help relieve chronic pain, as well as boost energy and mood. if you have chronic pain, alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines, including acupuncture, guided imagery, chiropractic treatment, yoga, hypnosis, there are many conditions associated with chronic pain, so it’s hard to list all the possible herbal remedies that can help decrease your pain., .
the options they suggest include several complementary approaches—acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, progressive relaxation, there are many forms of alternative medicine. they include acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation, yoga, one common form of integrative medicine that’s used frequently at mayo clinic is acupuncture. the technique involves inserting extremely thin, .
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