Natural Alternative Treatments for Pain Management
In addition to conventional treatments for chronic pain, many natural alternative treatments are available for pain management. Oftentimes, incorporating both conventional and alternative medicine into a pain management plan yields the best results in the reduction of chronic pain.
Manual manipulation of the soft tissues in the body can reduce stress and the perception of pain. Massage increases blood flow which relieves muscle tension, improves joint mobility and reduces inflammation. Massage also releases endorphins (the “feel good” chemicals in the body).
Chiropractic therapy concentrates on manipulating the body into alignment to reduce pain and improve function. Generally, chiropractic care focuses on conditions of the musculoskeletal and nervous system and the effects of these conditions on general health. Spinal manipulation, known as a chiropractic adjustment, aims to reduce pain and increase mobility by applying quick but controlled pressure to the joints in the spine. A chiropractor also teaches postural and exercise education, nutrition and ergonomic training, as well as other treatment options for pain reduction.
Acupuncture is an ancient traditional practice of Chinese medicine that has been used for thousands of years. The goal of acupuncture is to balance the flow of energy in the body. A certified acupuncturist gently inserts thin, disposable needles into very specific targeted areas of the body. Acupuncture may help reduce pain, discomfort and inflammation by increasing blood flow and stimulating the release of endorphins (the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals). Acupuncture is often used to treat chronic pain.
Tai Chi focuses on slow, rhythmic movements, mental focus and controlled breathing. It improves balance, enhances flexibility, reduces stress and strengthens muscles. This Chinese mind-body practice has been used to treat many chronic pain conditions including, but not limited to, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Yoga is an exercise that is designed to build balance, strength and flexibility through a combination of deep breathing and bodily poses. Yoga strengthens the core of the body, which helps alleviate lower back pain. Yoga is well known to help with chronic back, neck and shoulder pain. It can also help people with migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia and various other chronic pain conditions.
Medical cannabis often used to treat neuropathic pain (often caused by nerve damage) and other chronic pain conditions. Cannabis comes in many forms: pills, oils, extracts or in its natural form. Individuals should check their state law regarding cannabis use before considering it as a treatment option.