Integrative Medicine: 5 Drug-Free Ways to Manage Chronic Pain

For many years, the use of over-the-counter painkillers and prescription medications has been the primary method for managing pain. Sadly, the continual use of painkillers may lead to problems of its own, which include liver failure, stomach ulcers, and addiction. About 1.9 million Americans with authorized prescriptions are addicted to pain medication.

Considering these side effects, and that pain medication might not provide complete relief, drugs should never be your only therapy in chronic pain management. Here are five drug-free approaches that Eugene M.C. Lee, MD, at Refresh Rx Hawaii suggests. They have  have been proven successful in relieving chronic pain.

1. Acupuncture

The World Health Organization recognizes over 30 diseases or conditions that may be helped using acupuncture. Acupuncture is known to promote the release of endorphins, a chemical that helps in pain relief.

Acupuncture is useful for the treatment of conditions such as:

Based on your needs, Dr. Lee can use acupuncture on its own or with traditional Western medicine treatments:

2. Massage and chiropractic treatment

Chiropractic treatment is a nonsurgical approach to back pain. In some trials, people who underwent chiropractic manipulations reported much improvement. Also, research suggests that use of chiropractic treatments can be helpful for neck pain, headaches, whiplash, and specific leg and arm conditions.

Just like chiropractic manipulations, massage has considerable promise in managing chronic neck and back problems. It comes in handy in reducing stress, relieving tension by increased blood flow. It also helps reduce the existence of substances in the body that can generate or prolong the pain.

3. Reiki healing and therapeutic touch

Reiki healing and therapeutic touch activate the self-healing processes in an individual, which in turn will help reduce the pain. While it’s true that these treatments leverage "energy-based" techniques, actual physical contact is not necessary. However, they do require close proximity between the patient and the practitioner.

4. Hypnotherapy

This therapy is performed by a licensed practitioner; who guides you into a deep, focused state of mind that leads your entire body into deeper relaxation. While scientists don’t know exactly why this method works, its abilities to reduce your pain are quite impressive.

Studies done on brain imaging suggest that it slows down activity in sections of the brain that process pain. In general, it works well for the short term: Some patients reported relief after just one eight-hour session, and said the effects lasted for three months.

5. Supplements

Some research indicates that changing your dietary fat intake as well as consuming plant foods that contain anti-inflammatory agents can reduce pain by restricting inflammation.

Food supplements such as topical capsaicin (extracted from chili peppers) can relieve diabetic nerve pain, arthritis, and other conditions. Glucosamine may help relieve severe pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.

However, you have to be careful with supplements. They come with risks. For instance, some studies indicate high doses of vitamin B6 can harm your nerves. Consult a doctor before you start using supplements.

Final word

As you can see, managing chronic pain should not always come with a bottle of medicine. There are numerous drug-free alternatives worth considering. Also, severe pain can take many forms, so there is no one-size-fits-all treatment.

If you have any questions about chronic pain or if you’re looking for a drug-free therapy suitable for you, Dr. Eugene Lee is happy to help. Feel free to call 808-398-5008 for a free consultation.

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