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5 Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain
Posted on February 1, 2017 1:55 PM by The Cameron Wood Communications Team
Categories: Informational
The following is a guest post by Chloe Pearson, a volunteer for Consumer Health Labs. We hope you found this information valuable. 
 
 
Many people with physical disabilities experience chronic pain. Besides the length of duration, chronic pain is different from acute pain in that it is characterized by signals of pain remaining active in the nervous system for months or years. As such, chronic pain takes a physical and mental toll on people.
 
Most often, chronic pain is associated with another disorder that leads to symptoms causing headaches, joint pain, backaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, sinus pain, and nerve pain. It can also result from disability-causing injuries that lead to lifelong pain.
 
Chronic pain management often includes psychological treatment, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and prescription medication. For some chronic pain sufferers, insurance becomes an issue and will not cover all of the PT, OT, and medication, which puts a financial strain on an already difficult situation. In other cases, individuals who suffer from chronic pain become addicted to prescription pain meds and face the challenges of recovery. The good news is, several alternative treatments for chronic pain are less expensive and eliminate the possibility of addiction.
 
1. Acupuncture
 
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing art that has been in existence for at least 2,000 years. When people undergo acupuncture treatments, they visit an acupuncturist who inserts hair-thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Experienced practitioners make the process virtually painless for patients. The goal is to correct imbalances in the body’s flow of energy, or qi. Western scientists think acupuncture eases pain by affecting neurotransmitters, hormone levels, or the immune system.
 
In fact, several studies have shown that acupuncture is beneficial in relieving chronic pain. One of the latest studies comes from an international team of experts that pooled results of 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 participants, and they found acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%. Dr. Lucy Chen, a board-certified anesthesiologist, pain medicine specialist, and practicing acupuncturist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital says, “I think the benefit of acupuncture is clear, and the complications and potential adverse effects of acupuncture are low compared with medication.”
 
2. Essential Oils
 
Essential oils and aromatherapy utilize scents to treat pain. Another ancient practice that promotes health, aromatherapy is beneficial in treating chronic pain because the oils penetrate cells quickly to provide oxygen and improve circulation to inflamed joints. Some of the top essential oils for treating chronic pain include basil, peppermint, wintergreen, clove, lavender, and sandalwood.
 
  • Basil – Basil is energizing and uplifting and has anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, and decongestant benefits
  • Peppermint – Peppermint cools and calms the mind and has anti-inflammatory, gallbladder, and pain-relieving benefits
  • Wintergreen – Wintergreen increases attentiveness and has pain-relieving benefits for the neck, nerves, herniated disks, and carpal tunnel
  • Clove – Clove improves memory and aids healing with anti-aging, arthritis, and rheumatism benefits
  • Lavender – Lavender relaxes and balances the body and has anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Sandalwood – Sandalwood encourages relaxation and has additional antidepressant benefits
 
Some essential oils are beneficial for treating specific pain points. For example, helichrysum, Idaho balsam fir, spruce, and Palo Santo are recommended for joint and bone pain, while Roman chamomile, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and vetiver are recommended for muscle pain.
 
3. Chiropractic Care
 
While chiropractic care has become much more accepted as a mainstream healthcare option, it still is considered an alternative medicine. Chiropractors consider the relationship between the body’s structure and function to decrease pain. In most cases, chiropractors focus on the spine and deliver adjustments that realign the body to promote self-healing. Chiropractic care has been effective at treating lower back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel, headaches, sinus issues, headaches and sports injuries.
 
4. Massage
 
Massage is an effective alternative treatment for chronic pain that has gained the respect of the mainstream medical community as well. By one report, more than 70% of doctors have referred patients to massage therapists. Massage eases pain by increasing blood flow to sore, stiff joints and muscles that warm up from extra circulation. Some studies also find that massage releases chemicals naturally found in the body that kill pain and other hormones that relax muscles and spur feelings of calmness and relaxation. Growing evidence shows that massage helps relieve chronic pain, especially that in the lower back. One study found that massage was more effective than acupuncture for relieving back pain; 74% of patients said the massage was very helpful, while only 46% said the acupuncture was helpful in giving them pain relief.
 
5. Yoga and Meditation for Relaxation
 
Stress worsens pain, and chronic pain stresses the body; that’s why yoga and meditation practices that prompt relaxation are perfect alternative treatments. Yoga and meditation offer relaxation techniques that counteract stress and pain, and studies show that these practices result in a reduction of pain for patients. One of the most beneficial aspects of yoga and meditation are the breathing techniques. By practicing focused breathing, people move their attention to healthy coping skills and away from the pain while relaxing the mind and body and decreasing stress and pain levels.
 
If you have a physical disability that is causing chronic pain, there are several alternative treatments that are safer and healthier than prescription pain medication. Talk with your doctor and see which alternative treatment is best for you.
 
 
 
 
Comments
Comment By: Nicole Viar
Posted on February 8, 2017 11:19 AM

Great info! Thank you for sharing!