06 Jan Complementary Treatments for the Management of Pain
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes any treatment that is not considered “conventional.” Complementary treatments are used along with conventional medicine for the management of chronic pain. Some CAM therapies are not covered by health insurance due to the lack of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness.
What is the most commonly used complementary treatment?
Acupuncture is the most commonly used CAM treatment. This therapy works to stimulate the production of the body’s pain-relief substances (endorphins and neurotransmitters). Endorphins and neurotransmitters block pain signal transmission to the brain.
The most commonly used method of acupuncture involves insertion of fine needles into specific points along the body (called acu-points). Along the body, there are 14 major meridians, which are considered “energy-carrying” channels. The acu-points are near nerves, and when stimulated, these points produce a fullness in the muscle and release of endorphins. Insertion of disposable stainless steel needles into these areas helps correct imbalances of the body.
Stimulation of these points produces healing effects, and many clinical studies show positive results. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 30 diseases and conditions can be treated using acupuncture. Studies show that acupuncture is useful for treatment low back pain, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and myofascial pain.
Which CAM is best for chronic back pain?
Chiropractic treatment is the most commonly used non-surgical therapy for back pain. Patients who undergo chiropractic manipulations show improvements in clinical trials. Research shows that chiropractic treatments help alleviate the pain associated with whiplash, headaches, chronic neck pain, back pain, and certain leg and arm conditions.
How can massage help with chronic pain?
For people suffering from pain and chronic neck and back problems, massage is an effective therapy. Massage will reduce stress and alleviate tension by improving blood flow. This chronic pain treatment also reduces accumulation of substances that generate and sustain pain. Once these substances are eliminated, pain relief occurs. Based on clinical studies, massage therapy is useful for treating many conditions associated with chronic pain.
What other complementary therapies will help with chronic pain?
- Inversion table – This device stretches the spine to alleviate pain.
- Spinal traction – To increase the space between the vertebrae, spinal traction stretches ligaments and muscles. A pulling force (constant or intermittent) is applied to the spine, and this gradually stretches and elongates the column.
- Low-level laser therapy – This involves use of visible red or near-infrared light, which is emitted from a low power laser. This technique speeds healing and decreases inflammation and pain.
- Prolotherapy – This therapy helps for the treatment of chronic low back pain caused by damaged, lax, or weak ligaments.
- Hydrotherapy – To reduce stiffness, pain, and stress, warm water is used.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – This involves stimulation of nerves, which interferes with pain signal transmission.
- Mind-body therapies – These treatments help improve the mind’s ability to affect symptoms and functions of the body. Examples include guided imagery, relaxation techniques, medication, hypnosis, and biofeedback.
Does complementary medicine work?
According to the National Health Interview Survey of 2007, 38% of adults had used CAM during the last twelve months. Results from a clinical trial involving more than 600 people with low back pain found that chiropractic treatment was as effective as conventional medical care. Another study found that acupuncture significantly reduced osteoarthritis knee pain. In addition, clinical research shows that people with fibromyalgia benefit from tai chi, which improves mood, quality of life, and sleep.
Sorrento Valley Pain Relief offers several options for treatment. This includes acupuncture, chiropractic, TENS units and more. Successful pain relief is achieved the vast majority of the time! Call today for the top pain management San Diego trusts.