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Alternative Therapies to Pain Management

By Debra Rodzinak

When a person is in pain, they want immediate relief.  However, when this pain persists over a long period of time, traditional pain medication can become ineffective and even addictive.  Therefore, many people who suffer from chronic back pain are looking for alternative methods of pain relief.

Alternative Therapy

The term “alternative” refers to any type of treatment or intervention that replaces conventional medicine.  Types of alternative therapies for chronic pain include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic treatments
  • Yoga
  • Hypnosis
  • Biofeedback
  • Aromatherapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Herbal remedies
  • Massage

Mind-Body Therapies

Aimed at helping the mind’s ability to affect the symptoms of pain, there are various types of this type of therapy:  relaxation techniques, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, and hypnosis.  There has been recorded success with several of these types of therapies that has led to the decrease in chronic pain symptoms.


The main use for acupuncture is pain relief.  However, the World Health Organization lists more than 30 conditions that are helped with acupuncture.  Acupuncture, which has been around for centuries, believes that illness is due to an imbalance of energy in the body.  By using stainless steel needles, an acupuncturist stimulates the body’s channels that carry energy to different parts of the body.  In addition, pain is reduced with the release of chemicals that block pain, called endorphins.

Chiropractic and Massage

The most common treatment for back pain that does not involve invasive surgery is chiropractic.  Helpful for back pain, headaches, neck pain, and pain in the extremities, chiropractic has gained a strong following in the past few years as a reliable treatment for chronic pain.  Accompanied by massage therapy, people are finding relief without drugs or surgery with chiropractic care.             

Therapeutic Touch and Reiki Healing

This “energy-based” type of therapy uses techniques that do not require physical touch.  Instead, those who practice this type of therapy believe that the self-healing processes of an individual is needed to reduce pain.  With the limited studies on Reiki and therapeutic touch, definitive conclusions on the success or failure of this type of therapy is not available.

Dietary Approach

Many people believe that changing what you put into your body can help ease pain.  Plants that contain anti-inflammatory properties are thought to decrease inflammation and therefore decrease pain.  For people who suffer from fibromyalgia, a raw diet of vegetables was found to be helpful in relieving the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia. 

In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties, a raw vegetable diet can help to lower overall weight which can lead to increased activity.  Increased movement can help decrease pain for those with osteoarthritis.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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