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Unconventional Approaches to Pain Management : Exploring Acupuncture and Beyond

  1. Introduction

    What Is Meant By Unconventional Approaches To Pain Management?

    Unconventional approaches to pain management are usually alternative therapies used to treat or reduce symptoms of chronic pain in conjugation with conventional medicine. These type of approaches utilizes various ways to reduce pain, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic method, etc. These approaches also include several ways to alter thoughts and focus concentration to manage and reduce pain well, such as mind-body therapies. The primary purpose of this article is to explore several unconventional approaches to pain management, including acupuncture, and beyond.

    Unconventional Approaches to Pain Management : Exploring Acupuncture and Beyond

  2. Unconventional Approaches To Pain Management

    Examples Of Some Unconventional Approaches To Pain Management

    Some examples of unconventional approaches to pain management include acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, hypnosis, massage therapy, mind-body therapies, and so on.

    Acupuncture As A Means Of Pain Management

    Currently, more than thirty diseases or conditions have been recognized by the World Health Organization that can be treated by acupuncture. However, one of the main benefits of acupuncture is its use for pain relief.

    In 1997, it was concluded by a National Institutes of Health consensus conference on acupuncture that promising results have emerged for acupuncture when used alone or as a part of a comprehensive pain management program for various pain conditions.(1)

    Chinese doctors from the sixteenth century believed that diseases are caused because of an imbalance of energy in our bodies. In acupuncture, stainless steel needles are used for stimulating the body’s fourteen major meridians, or energy-carrying channels, which help to overcome diseases, illnesses, or ill health conditions by correcting these imbalances.

    It is also thought that acupuncture can significantly reduce pain by increasing the release of endorphins, or the chemicals that block pain. Several acupressure points lie near nerves and when stimulated, these nerves cause a dull ache in the muscles. This stimulated muscle sends a message to the CNS or Central Nervous System (The brain and spinal cord), resulting in the release of endorphins. These endorphins along with some other neurotransmitters block the message of pain from being delivered up to our brain.

    Acupuncture can be beneficial for you as an accompanying treatment along with the conventional treatment for pain-related issues like lower back pain, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, and osteoarthritis. Acupuncture can also be added as a part of a comprehensive pain management program.

    Managing Pain Through Massage

    Massage can also be considered one of the most common unconventional approaches to pain management. Usually, individuals suffering from neck pain and chronic back pain use massage therapy to manage their pain. Massage reduces stress and also relieves tension by improving blood flow.

    Evidence suggests that massage therapy might help lower back pain and non-inflammatory rheumatic pain.(2) However, still more studies are essential to prove the effectiveness of massage therapy for treating pain.

    Chiropractic Treatment For Pain Management

    One more conventional approach for pain management is Chiropractic treatment. It is a common nonsurgical treatment, especially for back pain. It has been suggested by researchers that such type of treatments could be beneficial for headaches, neck pain, certain conditions related to pain in arms and legs, and whiplash.

    However, more studies based on the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for pain management are essential.

    Mind-Body Therapies As A Means Of Pain Management

    Mind-body therapies are the most obvious self-help conventional approaches for pain management. Several approaches, particularly cognitive behavioral therapies are being incorporated into various multidisciplinary pain management programs. Some other well-accepted mind-body therapies for pain management are hypnosis, meditation, and Qi Gong.

    In 1996, the US National Institutes of Health held a technology assessment conference related to mind-body therapies for insomnia and pain, and it found considerable evidence for their use, primarily as an adjunctive treatment.(3)

    In various cases, a multidisciplinary approach including certain forms of stress management, coping skills training, education, cognitive restructuring, and also relaxation therapy, has been found beneficial to manage chronic conditions like lower back pain.(4, 5) and also osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.(6, 7)

    For pain associated with recurrent migraines; relaxation and thermal biofeedback can be beneficial tools, while relaxation along with electromyography muscle biofeedback, can help recurrent tension headaches.(8, 9, 10)

    Therapies like relaxation, group therapy, hypnosis, and imagery can also improve healing time significantly and alleviate pain before surgery, during any invasive medical procedure, or childbirth.(11, 12, 13)

    Pain Management Through Herbal Medicine

    Herbal medicines or herbs can also help in treating various kinds of pain. Studies have shown that avocado and soybean unsaponifiables can effectively treat pain due to osteoarthritis, but the evidence for the herbal preparation of phytodolor and topical capsaicin is quite promising.(14)

    Using γ linolenic acid, mainly found in evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, and black currant seed oil, is supported by some evidence from trials in people with rheumatoid arthritis.(15)

  3. Proper Communication And Self-Management Of Pain: Keys To Pain Relief!

    Importance Of Proper Communication In Pain Management

    It is always essential to have proper communication between the patient and the practitioner and also between conventional and unconventional therapists. Lack of communication can make navigation quite difficult while treating your pain or diseased condition. The patient, doctor, and unconventional therapist should openly communicate and monitor the progress of the condition while taking into account all the safety procedures.

    Self-Management Of Pain To Minimize The Impact Of Any Chronic Painful Condition

    Self-management is a strategy that is used by the patient for minimizing or managing the impact of pain or a chronic condition on their daily life. Some of the self-management techniques to manage pain include attending group classes or programs that teach about pain management, talking to friends, searching the internet for various pain management methods, exercising, limiting activity, applying hot and cold therapy, and proper education.

  4. Conclusion

    Acupuncture along with some other unconventional approaches can effectively help in pain management. However, it should be noted that these approaches cannot replace the conventional procedures. Thus, if you are suffering from any illness or health issue that can be resulting in pain, you should consult your healthcare provider and not just rely on unconventional methods.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 14, 2023

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