Research suggests that over 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. For many, the side effects and risk of addiction from traditional medication outweigh the benefits for their condition. Here are some complementary and alternative treatments that may help relieve pain and improve daily life.
Low-back pain is the most common form of chronic pain. Spinal manipulation, practiced by chiropractors and physical therapists, works by applying controlled force to sections of the spine. Research suggests that spinal manipulation is relatively safe and may provide moderate relief for back pain.
Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate certain points of the body. While there is controversy surrounding acupuncture, some research has found that the practice may provide moderate pain relief. People with chronic conditions like MS can have serious headaches and may benefit from acupuncture.
Physical therapy and exercise
Even though many forms of chronic pain can interrupt daily life and make it hard to stay active, physical therapy and exercise are a crucial part of managing conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. For these patients, exercise can slow bone loss and joint damage while improving mobility and pain.
Chronic pain from conditions like MS can take a toll on mental health. Relaxation techniques focus on manipulating the body’s relaxation response through controlled breathing and mental reframing. Research suggests that these techniques may be effective at improving depression and some types of pain.
Massage therapy includes various forms of muscle manipulation with the intent of providing pain relief and relaxation. While research is limited, there is some evidence that massage therapy can provide mental and physical benefits for cancer patients and people with neck and back pain.
Yoga has become increasingly popular in America as a mixed form of meditation and exercise. Yoga can be a great low-intensity and low-impact activity and may help reduce joint swelling, improve mental health and increase flexibility in people with rheumatoid arthritis or chronic back pain.
What you eat can have an affect on your health. A change in diet may provide health benefits and help manage symptoms of chronic pain. There is some evidence that a diet low in saturated fat and high in fatty acids may benefit people with MS. Talk to your doctor about any dietary changes.
Some forms of chronic pain may benefit from dietary supplements. Preliminary research suggests that omega-3 fish oil supplements may help control inflammation and improve pain and joint stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Ask your doctor how supplements may impact your condition.
Consult your doctor
While there is some evidence that certain alternative treatments may ease chronic pain, it is always important to consult your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet, activity levels or symptom management, as those changes may conflict with your current medications or treatment.
Source: Daily Rx News