Integrative/Alternative Therapies To Consider For Effective Chronic Pain Relief
Chronic pain is challenging to deal with, no matter your stage. This is especially true when you have limitations on the type of pharmaceutical medications you can take. Or maybe you are more interested in natural remedies.
While integrative and alternative therapies are becoming more accessible and considered by patients, there is still some understandable hesitancy. This is because many are still learning and educating themselves on what options there are to help with chronic pain relief.
Let’s talk about some of the more popular alternative methods.
Not All Integrative/Alternative Therapy is Not Good Therapy
Before getting into chronic pain relief, understand one principle. Not everyone will have quality service. This is common for those who have a one-and-done experience with alternative medicines and therapies. Good research and references can help solve this problem.
According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture is incredible because it can help relieve pain for 30 diseases. It’s also one of the most interesting solutions for pain relief. Certified therapists can stimulate the nearby nerves and release chemicals such as endorphins and neurotransmitters. These chemicals send a message to the brain to block the pain and open up natural pathways in the body. This comes from traditional Chinese medicine.
We commonly see acupuncture as a treatment for arthritis, tendonitis, headaches, and lower back pain, among many more common or chronic pain problems.
Medicinal Marijuana and CBD
Medicinal marijuana and cannabinoids have become more popular for treating chronic pain because their anti-inflammatory properties help the muscles, bones, and immune system. It’s also very popular in helping with any kind of joint pain. THC is naturally produced in the body. When it is inhaled or ingested into the body, it reacts with the cannabinoids and sends a message to our brain. This message ultimately relieves pain.
But some people don’t love the idea of getting a “high” feeling from THC and inhaling marijuana. That’s why CBD has become interesting, as the THC can be extracted from the products. Athletes are now starting to turn to CBD because of this and their ability to drug test clean.
Here is some food for thought. In 2016 a research paper found that cannabis used for cancer reduced opioid use by 64%.
Natural Herbs and Supplements
Taking other herbal supplements is another way to help fight chronic pain. For instance, turmeric has incredibly strong anti-inflammatory properties. Thus can be used to target joint pain and problems like arthritis. Other herbal considerations include Devil’s Claw Root, White Willow Bark, Comfrey, etc. Note that these supplements have strong psychoactive ingredients, and you should consult with your doctor to avoid taking too much or cross-contaminating with other medications.
Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Work
Massage therapy is another alternative medicine that can relieve chronic pain. Chiropractic work falls parallel to massage therapy. Chiropractors are all about relieving back pain but can also be helpful for neck pain. This is done by manipulating the spine and essentially releasing air pockets. They safely crack your back and other areas.
Massage therapy increases blood flow through the muscles and is a great way to relieve stress and tension. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits by releasing lactic acid buildup from the body. It helps break up scar tissue that may develop through exercise or injury. As long as your massage therapist is aware of any injury, it can be a great solution to dealing with chronic pain.
Reiki healing is a different type of massage work that is worth mentioning. Reiki is a self-healing journey and is an energy-based therapeutic technique. With the goal in mind to relieve tension and decrease anxiety, the body’s natural immunity, and response improve.
Other Therapeutic Healing
Reiki is not the only energy-transfer therapeutic approach out there. There is a lot of work with chakras, crystal healing, and other traditional massage approaches that come from worldwide. This includes practices like properly meditating.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Depending on the type of chronic pain you are experiencing, a few alternatives include making healthy lifestyle choices with diet and exercise. For instance, exercise can have several benefits, such as improving your mobility and relieving pain through activities such as yoga.
Also, consider that certain foods cause inflammation, just as others promote cell turnover and muscle repair. According to experts at Rahav Wellness Integrative Medicine, your journey to better health should be personalized instead of universally applied. Adding lean protein and vegetables to your diet more consistently can impact physical health on managing chronic pain. Depending on your needs, some doctors may suggest going on a paleo, vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian diet.
It’s also important to note that those with gluten intolerances can experience chronic pain from body inflammation when eating it. Getting tested for food intolerances can major impact your body and immune system.
The most important thing when it comes to managing and relieving your chronic pain is to have options. When you can only take over-the-counter or prescribed medications, you open yourself up to other potential issues. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a bandaid and not a permanent solution. However, having an open mind to alternative and integrative therapies means you may be able to experiment with different solutions to find something that works best for you.
While you should still consult your doctor, speaking to other doctors can also help you get a second opinion. Sometimes this area of medicine can be intimidating for some because it is outside the traditional approach.
And nothing is more important than your own health. That’s why keeping an open mind and starting to explore your own path through research and conversations can be the first step in helping you get the appropriate care for your body.