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Complementary Therapies for Pain

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Complementary therapies for pain are those treatments that people use in conjunction with other pain management therapies. For example, I have done 8 of the 10 complementary therapies  listed below. Acupuncture, for example, is more effective if I also exercise and supplement with anti-inflammatory herbs.

I should add sleep aided by melatonin and CBD oil (both occasionally) as another complementary pain management therapies.

According to research, more than 51 million Americans, more than 20% of the population, suffer from chronic pain.

Approximately one third of cancer survivors suffer from chronic pain.I am a long-term cancer survivor. I live with a host of long-term and late stage side effects that can cause chronic pain.

The reason why I’m writing this post is simply to say that many people live with chronic pain and that I think we all will do better, live better, with complementary therapies for pain.

I think that a prescription for a specific pain might be necessary on occasion. But with many types of pain therapies that you can use in conjunction with each other may eliminate the need for prescription pain meds that may come with side effects.

What are some of the most common complementary therapies for chronic pain?

Complementary therapies for chronic pain often focus on providing relief and improving overall well-being without relying solely on medication. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these therapies can vary from person to person, and it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment. Here are some common complementary therapies for chronic pain:

  1. Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises and stretches can help improve flexibility, strength, and reduce pain. Physical therapists can customize a program based on the individual’s specific needs.
  2. Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese medicine practice involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and alleviate pain. Some people find relief from chronic pain through acupuncture sessions.
  3. Massage Therapy: Therapeutic massage can help relax muscles, improve circulation, and reduce tension, providing relief from chronic pain. Different techniques, such as Swedish massage or deep tissue massage, may be used.
  4. Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal system and spine, using manual adjustments to improve alignment and relieve pain. This approach is often used for conditions like back pain and headaches.
  5. Mind-Body Techniques:
    • Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, can help individuals manage pain by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
    • Yoga and Tai Chi: These mind-body exercises incorporate gentle movements, stretching, and controlled breathing, promoting physical and mental well-being.
  6. Biofeedback: This technique involves using electronic monitoring to help individuals gain awareness and control over physiological processes, such as muscle tension, to reduce pain.
  7. Herbal Supplements: Some people explore the use of herbal supplements like turmeric, ginger, or capsaicin for their potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using supplements, as they can interact with medications or cause side effects.
  8. Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold to affected areas can help alleviate pain and inflammation. Hot packs, cold packs, or alternate use of both may be recommended depending on the type of chronic pain.
  9. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors, helping individuals manage chronic pain by addressing the psychological aspects associated with it.
  10. Aromatherapy: The use of essential oils for aromatherapy can promote relaxation and stress reduction, potentially aiding in pain management.

Are you a cancer survivor living with chronic pain? If you’d like to learn more about non-conventional or complementary therapies for pain email me- David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

The Rise of Complementary Health Approaches for Pain Management: An Analysis by the NIH

“In a recent analysis from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a significant increase is observed in the use of complementary health approaches by American adults from 2002 to 2022, particularly for pain management. The study, published in JAMA, used data from the 2002, 2012, and 2022 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to assess changes in the use of seven different complementary health approaches…

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