Alternative treatments to pain management

⦁ Acupuncture
The World Health Organization currently recognizes more than 30 diseases or conditions that can be helped by acupuncture treatment and that’s why one of the main uses of acupuncture is for pain relief. Traditional Chinese acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine needles into the skin at specific “acupoints.” This may relieve pain by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals. Acupuncture may be included as part of a comprehensive pain management program.

⦁ Physical therapy and occupational therapy
These two specialties can be among your staunchest allies in the fight against pain. Physical therapists guide you through a series of exercises designed to preserve or improve your strength and mobility. Occupational therapists help you learn to perform a range of daily activities in a way that doesn’t aggravate your pain.

⦁ Exercise
Physical activity plays a crucial role in interrupting the “vicious cycle” of pain and reduced mobility found in some chronic conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Try gentle aerobic activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling.

⦁ Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic treatment is the most common non-surgical treatment for back pain. Improvements in people undergoing chiropractic manipulations were noted in some trials. Research also suggests that chiropractic treatments may be helpful for headaches, neck pain, certain arm and leg conditions, and whiplash.

⦁ Therapeutic massage
Massage is being increasingly used by people suffering from pain, mostly to manage chronic back and neck problems. Massage can reduce stress, ease pain, and relieve tension in muscles and joints by enhancing blood flow. Studies suggest that massage therapy holds considerable promise for managing back pain, and possibly helping the person distract from pain by introducing a “competing” sensation that overrides pain signals.

⦁ Reiki
Reiki is a Japanese form of alternative medicine called energy healing. Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing through which a “universal energy” is said to be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient to encourage emotional or physical healing. Reiki is meant to resolve emotional distress by allowing healing energy to flow freely throughout the body, which results in relaxation and reduced pain and tension throughout the body. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which can decrease pain perception as well.

⦁ Yoga
Yoga is an effective way to stretch your back, improve the health of muscles and joints, enhance the distribution of healing nutrients through blood circulation, and increase the spine’s flexibility.
When you start, perform the stretches slowly and advance only if you feel comfortable without pain. Gradually, you will be able to add more stretches to your routine. An ideal time for yoga is early morning—to help loosen your spine and also reduce stiffness and aches in your back.

⦁ Tai Chi
Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise therapy, is typically used to manage chronic pain conditions. Studies show that the slow, focused movements of Tai chi coupled with deep breathing can ease back pain. The practice helps in several ways including strengthening the muscles in the abdomen and pelvic areas that help support the lower back, improving balance and flexibility and weight shifting can improve musculoskeletal strength and joint stability.

⦁ Mind-body techniques
These techniques, which include meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises help you restore a sense of control over your body and turn down the “fight or flight” response, which can worsen chronic muscle tension and pain. Meditation is a great way to improve concentration, release endorphins, and decrease anxiety and stress. Through mindful meditation, you can control the way your body perceives pain.
Find a quiet, dark room and meditate for 5-10 mins in the morning, but if you don’t like to meditate, try simple breathing exercises—take 10 deep, slow breaths in a row.

⦁ Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy offers a soothing setting that eases body tension and allows for slower, easier movement. As a sprained joint is treated with aquatic therapy, the pain subsides, which allows the patient to regain strength and mobility through underwater exercise. Hydrotherapy is one of the most effective treatment methods for chronic pain management.

⦁ Cold and heat
These two tried-and-true methods are still the cornerstone of relieving pain for certain kinds of injuries. Temperature therapy can complement meds and self-care. It’s simple, affordable, soothing — and you have to sit down to use either one. When alternating heat and cold, as the blood vessels expand, circulation improves, and the incoming flow of blood brings nutrients to help the injured tissues heal. Alternating heat and cold can be very useful for osteoarthritis.

⦁ Music therapy
Music therapy works in chronic pain management by providing sensory stimulation that evokes a response in the patient. Research has found that music used as a clinical intervention can help patients by reducing the amount of pain they perceive, and promoting relaxation, rhythmic breathing, and rest. Classical music has proven to work especially well, but there’s no harm in trying your favorite genre — listening to any kind of music can distract you from pain or discomfort.

⦁ Dietary Changes
Research shows that diet should be an integral part of a pain management program, especially as people age. A vegan or a Mediterranean diet, or healthier eating inspired by these diets can control insulin and cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation, which is the pain culprit. Some foods that help with pain relief are:
⦁ Ginger green-tea
⦁ Salmon
⦁ Blueberries
⦁ Turmeric milk
⦁ Tart-cherry juice
⦁ Virgin Olive Oil
⦁ Chili Peppers
⦁ Pumpkin Seeds
⦁ Mint
⦁ Red Wine.

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