DiversityNursing Blog

Alternative Chronic Pain Management Treatments

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Nov 02, 2018 @ 02:27 PM

cs-back-pain-spondylosis-1440x810According to a U.S. News article, over 100 million Americans are dealing with some form of chronic pain, and is the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S.

Opioid drugs are a safe and effective treatment for pain relief when used properly. However, many people have difficulty accessing medication and others have concerns about addiction so they seek alternative therapies. 

Below are some of the most popular alternative therapies for chronic pain.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

According to a health.com article, Daniel Clauw, MD, professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan, believes that CBD may have real benefits for people living with chronic pain. “I don’t think we have that many good drugs for pain, and we know that CBD has fewer side effects than opioids or even nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can cause bleeding and cardiovascular problems,” he says.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been growing in popularity in the United States. This ancient Chinese form of alternative medicine involves thin needles being inserted into the skin. Research from the  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggests it can be used to manage certain pain conditions especially back and neck pain, osteoarthritis pain, and headaches.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation helps the individual gain psychological control over his or her pain. Stress and depression amplify pain. This therapy teaches you how to understand the different types of pain and how to control your body's reaction to the pain. A U.S. News article reported, mindfulness meditation has been shown in clinical trials to reduce chronic pain by 57 percent, and some experienced meditators can reduce it by over 90 percent.

Chiropractic Therapy

A Harvard Health article explains, Chiropractic therapy is focused on the structure of the body, particularly the spine. Chiropractors manipulate the body's alignment to relieve pain and improve function and to help the body heal itself. As one of the alternatives to pain-relieving drugs, the American College of Physicians recommends spinal manipulation along with heat, massage and acupuncture. 

Neuromodulation

According to an article by Jon Hagedorn, MD, Neuromodulation refers to spinal cord stimulation (SCS) when discussing chronic pain treatments. It consists of applying electrical current to the dorsal columns of the spinal cord in an attempt to block or decrease the pain signals to and from the brain. This is accomplished by placing stimulating electrodes in the epidural space, the implantable pulse generator (IPG) in the subcutaneous tissue of the lower back or abdomen, and wires to connect the IPG to the electrodes.

Physical Therapy 

An American Physical Therapy Association white paper said, the CDC’s recommendations point to “high-quality evidence” that treatments provided by physical therapists (PTs) are especially effective at reducing pain and improving function in cases of low back pain, fibromyalgia, and hip and knee osteoarthritis. Physical therapy helps by using movement to improve strength, flexibility and range of motion. 

Research is still being done to see how effective some of these therapies are, though many patients have reported success.

Do you have any experience with alternative pain management treatments? If so, please leave your comments below. Thank you!

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Topics: Alternative Chronic Pain Management Treatments, pain management

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