8 Popular Alternative Therapies To Treat Chronic Pain

With the passing days, more and more people are being affected by pain. For some it might be temporary, but for many others it has become a part of their daily life. Almost around some millions of people get affected by chronic pain every year throughout the world. Some have a definite reason like an injury, while others don’t really have any specific reason behind the chronic sustained pain lasting for years.

Alternative Or Complimentary Therapies To Treat Chronic Pain

An alternative or complementary therapy means a therapeutic intervention or treatment used in the place of a conventional medicine and they have gained a huge recognition in the past few years. The conventional medicines that exist provide little relief to manage the pain temporarily, but a long term relief or living with no significant pain is hard to achieve yet. For many, the medicines don’t work after a certain point of time and in others the side effects become another problem to manage. In this light, many alternative therapies have gained the recognition due to their huge and effective impact on pain management.

8 Popular Alternative Therapies To Treat Chronic Pain

The types of alternative therapies vary depending on the aim and the focus of the specific therapy practice. While some may focus of just relieving pain, others may focus on providing a long-term relief with a holistic approach towards the overall well-being of the individual. The 8 popular alternative therapies to treat chronic pain are as follows:

 Alternative Therapies To Treat Chronic Pain

  1. Acupuncture and Acupressure For Chronic Pain

    The widely recognized among all the other alternative therapies is acupuncture and acupressure. This therapeutic process is known to relieve more than 30 disorders or disease as acknowledged by the World Health Organizations. Acupuncture has a great use in reducing pain. The aim of the therapy is to channelize the body’s energy in a way which promotes self-healing. Acupuncture involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific parts of the body to alleviate pain whereas acupressure involves pressurizing certain points in the body using fingers to bring relief from pain. Although, the exact mechanism as to how it works is not very clear, scientists says that these needles helps in releasing endorphins which is the body’s natural pain-killers or blocks the path through which pain signals are sent to the brain and it also increases the blood flow in that particular region. Acupuncture and Acupressure therapy has showed its effectiveness in treating conditions like chronic regional pain syndrome, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, lower back pain, headache, menstrual pain and many more. In spite of the fact that the therapy has faced lots of criticism, it is about to reach the level of a comprehensive pain management plan.

  2. Mind-body Techniques For Chronic Pain

    The focus of mind-body technique is on developing a connection between the mind and the body. The mind-body techniques include various subtypes like guided imagery, relaxation techniques, abdominal breathing exercises, biofeedback mechanisms, and also hypnosis. The therapy helps in the way that it relaxes the body and mind and thus reduces the processing of the pain signals in the brain that comes through the spinal cord. This delay in sensation or breaking off the continuous processing of the signals by the brain relieves the pain.

  3. Chiropractic Treatment For Chronic Pain

    The aim of this treatment is to relieve pain by joint and muscle manipulations which is causing the discomfort. Often it is thought that incorrect positioning of a spinal disc can suppress the surrounding nerve and can cause pain. Chiropractic manipulations focus on these joints or discs and try to alleviate the pain by proper positioning of the discs and releasing the compressed nerves.

  4. Dance Movement Therapy For Chronic Pain

    Dance Movement Therapy or DMT also focuses on the mind-body approach to treating disorders. Although not many would go for a movement therapy session, increasing number of medical practitioners have started to believe in the effectiveness of this technique. Dance Movement Therapy or DMT can not only relieve chronic back pain but it has been found to be very effectual for treating patients with fibromyalgia, chronic regional pain syndrome, somatic pain, etc. Not only pain alone, this therapy has a wide implication on various psychological and physiological health conditions. It helps in expressing of emotions and also releasing of the negative ones thus bringing relief in the body. Dance therapy would often be combined with relaxation techniques to relieve the body from unnecessary stress and tension that are either psychological or the muscle tensions. It can accommodate any patient in the session. An individual therapy would be very specific to the individualistic problems, while a group therapy would promote overall movements and focus on a specific problem which everyone has in common. The movements range from slow to fast depending on the capacity of the individual or the group. It focuses on the overall individual rather than just the specific problem presented.

  5. Tai Chi For Chronic Pain

    Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art form focuses on movements while meditating. Tai Chi involves slow systematic movements along with deep breathings. The movements are not just limited to the extremities, but concept behind is that the whole body must accompany a particular movement of the hands and legs to prevent injuries from sudden spontaneous movements. For example, if you want to turn to a side and take something, it is better to move your legs, turn to the side and take the object rather than just twisting from your waist. This will reduce your chance of getting hurt or increase your pain that is already there. Another very important concept is to position your body to make yourself more grounded, stable and focused and prevent falls and prevent associated injuries. People who suffer from chronic pain and are unable to move, for them Tai Chi would be a good option and it involves slow movements only and will help you learn how to move without injuring yourself, improve your balance, muscle strength and also maintain and increase the flexibility. Many martial art practitioners practice Tai Chi to build mental and physical strength, focus, and confidence and ensure better health.

  6. Aromatherapy & Chronic Pain

    It is the use of aromatic oils either by application on the skin or just inhaling it for a therapeutic cause. Studies have found that use of specific aromatic oils could alleviate pain and provide some relief.

  7. Treating Chronic Pain With Energy Healing

    Energy Healing like Reiki focuses on increasing the flow of energy in the patient’s body to promote healing. It is a hands-off technique which is found to be helpful for pain relief and restore the body’s nature healing process and balance.

  8. Massage For Chronic Pain

    One of the most opted therapies by patients suffering from pain. There are various forms of massage available throughout the world and all of them helps in breaking down the clustered and cramped muscle fibers and the trigger points causing pain, increases better blood circulation in the area and relaxes the muscles.

These are the few most opted alternative therapies either by the patients themselves or they are referred by the healthcare practitioner they are consulting due to the established effectiveness of the therapies. However, there are still plenty of other alternative therapies available throughout the world and is practiced in various cultures. Many of them haven’t still got the recognition due to lack of scientific evidences but they can be equally effective.

One has to be very patient while trying the different alternative therapies as there isn’t any clear cut rule as to which would work for whom. One therapy might alleviate the pain for one patient while another might not be benefited to that extent. Thus, you need to have patience and try out the therapies to find out the one best suited for you. However, consult your physician first before trying out any alternative therapies and also talk to the therapists to find out if you could have any negative effects from the therapies and how to avoid them and get the best results for faster recovery.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 5, 2019

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