Chronic pain can wreak havoc on a person’s quality of life as well as the emotional and physical well-being of those who suffer with it. When pain medications don’t offer relief, or you want to avoid opioid painkillers for the treatment of chronic pain conditions, there are several viable alternatives to managing pain without medications.Alternative or complementary medicine focuses on the mind-body connection as well as behavioral and lifestyle changes that can help in the management of chronic pain.
- Physical therapy – A physical therapist who specializes in pain management and rehabilitation can develop a specialized exercise regimen that focuses on the sources of pain and helps build up the muscles and improve function. Therapy may also include therapeutic massage and the use of heat therapy and the sauna.
- Acupuncture – A trained specialist uses very fine needles inserted into various pressure points throughout the body to interrupt pain signals. Acupuncture can be used for chronic pain caused by conditions including migraines, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and back pain/injury.
- Chiropractic manipulation – When performed by a trained and certified chiropractor, spinal manipulation can help relieve back and neck pain.
- Injections and nerve blocks – A pain management specialist injects the site of pain with local anesthetic medication to help relieve muscle spasm or nerve pain.
- Yoga – Studies have shown that the ancient practice of yoga has many health benefits including stress management, hormone balance, and management of chronic pain. Yoga encompasses a series of postures, breathing techniques, and meditation and helps lengthen and strengthen muscles throughout the body. Yoga helps individuals achieve a mind-body balance and can go a long way in building a stronger body and easing symptoms of long-term pain.
- Reiki – According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Reiki is a complementary health approach in which practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above a person, with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response. Reiki has been studied for a variety of conditions, including pain, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
- Meditation, Mindfulness, and Relaxation therapy – For some people, practicing relaxation techniques and meditation can help not only relieve chronic pain but reduce stress by turning the mind’s focus away from the feelings of discomfort. Hypnosis, meditation, and relaxation/breathing exercises may help certain individuals manage pain.