The CDC estimates that about 50 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Whether due to an illness or an injury, living with pain is difficult and many are willing to try almost anything to help lessen that pain. Most of the standard options out there are either serious narcotic medication that have the potential to cause addiction. Or there are over-the-counter medications, such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol, that do not offer much relief due to low dosages or a build-up in tolerance levels. Alternative therapies can help offer pain relief, by themselves or alongside traditional Western medicines, and are worth considering for those who are wary of prescription medication or tired of ineffective over-the-counter medicines.
What Can Alternative Pain Care Treat?
Alternative therapies can treat a variety of issues and a doctor might recommend trying multiple therapies together to find the perfect treatment for you. The following pain conditions have several alternative therapies that pain sufferers have found beneficial:
-Pain Related to Pregnancy
There are plenty of other types of pain associated with illness and injury that can be treated, as well. Even those who are battling cancer might benefit from trying an alternative therapy to manage pain from the disease or Western treatments, such as chemotherapy. In cases like this, however, it is not advised to abandon any courses of treatment that have been prescribed by a doctor. Always be sure to speak with a practitioner when considering alternative therapies.
Alternative Treatments Available
There are multiple options out there to explore and there is research supporting the use of these therapies to help with pain management. First, consult a doctor that specializes in holistic or alternative medicines, to ensure that you are receiving safe and proper care.
Some of the treatments your practitioner might recommend include:
- Acupuncture: This is one of the more frequently used treatments. It involves hair-thin, stainless-steel needles being placed all over the body in order to restore balance. This ancient Chinese medicine is meant to stimulate the nerves in the body and induce it to release natural chemicals that block pain. The World Health Organization has recognized the use of acupuncture to treat pain.
- Massage Therapy: There are several different kinds of massage and many areas of the body that a trained masseuse might focus on. Massage is incredibly relaxing, as soft tissue is manipulated in a way that affects the muscle, circulatory, nervous, and lymphatic systems. As blood flow is enhanced, healing is sped up, and massaging the muscles drains built-up toxins.
- Yoga: A light-to-moderate form of exercise, yoga involves poses that specifically focus on flexibility and strength. Essentially yoga is a big stretch for the body and this can help increase mobility and encourage the muscles to recuperate faster. Yoga can also improve posture and the focus on the breath, which promotes relaxation and calmness.
- Chiropractic Treatment: Performed by a chiropractor, this practice is based on the physical manipulation of the spine. Chiropractors use methods to realign the body and ease any pain. These methods usually incorporate the use of force on a joint or a point on the body to put it back in its correct place, such as with a herniated disk. In the past, there has been some controversy about chiropractic treatment being a legitimate medical practice. It has gained more acceptance over the years and many doctors will recommend it. Do not go to someone who is not properly certified in order to prevent injuries.
- Exercise: Being physically active can have many benefits, including the management of pain. Going to the gym or for a run/jog is great for the body. When you are exercising the body releases endorphins, which is the “happy” chemical that the body naturally produces and makes you feel better mentally and physically. Blood flow is also increased to the muscles, causing faster healing, and the body works to improve breathing to take in more oxygen for the muscles.
- Hypnosis: This is an induced trance-like state that increases awareness. Usually performed with the help of a therapist, it can help reduce anxiety and stress. By creating that sense of relaxation and awareness during hypnosis, the therapist will make suggestions for changes in behavior and coping with pain.
- Biofeedback: The idea behind this is that people can gain control over what are typically considered involuntary functions, and therefore gain control over their health. These involuntary functions are things like blood pressure and heart rate. If you are able to have more control over your body then you will be able to regulate the functions that trigger pain.
These are some of the most common treatments, but there are other therapies available. Do your research to see what might sound right for you. Anyone dealing with chronic pain understands how unrelenting the stress and misery can be on both the mind and body. Alternative therapies have the potential to relieve some of these struggles and are more cost-effective, without some of the nastier side effects of pharmaceuticals.
Do You Think Alternative Therapies Are For You
If you are interested in incorporating alternative therapies in your daily life or combining them with your traditional medical treatments, call Shakthi Health and Wellness Center today! Dr. Jyothi Rao is a highly skilled and experienced physician who can effectively evaluate your symptoms and optimize your body’s vitality. Call us and speak to our concierge staff to schedule your appointment today.