The phrase ‘alternative therapy’ is commonly used to define a medical intervention or treatment that substitutes for traditional medicine. If alternative therapies are utilized to substitute or used alongside traditional medicine, they are known as complementary medicine.
Alternative therapy involves a range of disciplines, including chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, herbal therapy, relaxation, yoga, and hypnosis.
In the previous years, strong indications have been collected for the benefits of acupuncture, nutritional supplementation, and mind-body therapies for managing pain. Other supplemental therapies like massage, herbal treatment, therapeutic touch, dietary methods, and massage also likely alleviate pain in some conditions. More research is required to see how these treatments compare to traditional medicine.
The World Health Organization presently acknowledges over 30 conditions that can benefit from acupuncture, but one of the primary indications is pain relief. Century-old Chinese medicine claims that disease originates from an imbalance of energy flow in a person’s body. With acupuncture, stainless and disposable steel needles activate the body’s major meridians to overcome or prevent conditions and diseases by altering these imbalances.
Acupuncture is also believed to reduce pain by increasing the surge of chemicals that help inhibit pain, chemicals known as endorphins. Several trigger points are close to nerves. When these are activated, these nerves produce a dull pain or fullness within the muscle. The activated muscle conveys a message to the brain and spinal cord, which results in the release of endorphins, along with many other neurotransmitters or chemicals in the body that change nerve impulses. They then prevent the pain message from being sent to the brain.
Acupuncture can be beneficial as an adjunct therapy for numerous pain-associated illnesses, including low back pain, headache, tennis elbow, osteoarthritis, myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Acupuncture may also be a suitable substitute or added as part of a thorough pain management plan.
These therapies are meant to assist the mind’s capacity to impact the symptoms and functions of a person’s body. Mind-body therapies utilize different methods, including biofeedback, relaxation, guided imagery, hypnosis, and meditation. Relaxation strategies can help reduce discomfort associated with chronic pain.
Massage And Chiropractic Therapy
Chiropractic treatment is among the most typical non-surgical interventions for back pain. There have been several reports of improvement from individuals who underwent chiropractic manipulations. Studies also showed that chiropractic treatment could benefit individuals with whiplash injuries, neck pain, headaches, and some leg and arm conditions. Severe complications, including pinched nerves, stroke, and aggravation of herniated discs, are seldom reported.
On the other hand, those who suffer from pain have also increasingly utilized massage, particularly chronic pain secondary to back and neck problems. Massage lowers stress levels and alleviates tension by improving blood flow. This intervention can also potentially decrease the presence of substances that may increase and tolerate pain.
Reiki Healing And Therapeutic Touch
Reiki healing and therapeutic touch are believed to aid in activating the self-healing process of a person and hence lessen pain. Both are considered energy-based and do not necessarily need real physical contact, but they do entail close physical interaction between patient and therapist. Over the years, numerous reviews assessed published clinical trials and studies on the effectiveness of these two healing methods to relieve anxiety and pain and enhance physical and mental health.
A few studies also showed these methods to be helpful and have no noteworthy adverse side effects, but the boundaries of some of these trials make it hard to make conclusive conclusions. More studies are required before evidence-based endorsements can be made.
It has been challenging to make conclusions regarding the effectiveness of herb therapy. If you choose to utilize herbal remedies to improve your pain, it is crucial to share this matter with your primary physician. Some herbs might interact adversely with medicines you are taking for pain and other medical illnesses and may negatively affect your overall health.
Dietary Methods To Manage Pain
Some individuals think that modifying their dietary fat consumption or eating plant foods loaded with inflammatory agents can assist in relieving pain by curbing inflammation. A raw vegetarian diet was beneficial for some individuals with fibromyalgia, although this study was not done randomly and without an existing control group. A study of females with premenstrual indications showed that a vegetarian plus low-fat diet helped significantly decrease pain frequency and severity. Weight loss was seen in individuals who did a combination of exercise and dietary changes, as well as reports of decreased pain from people who had osteoarthritis.
Nevertheless, more research is required to establish the effectiveness of lifestyle and dietary changes as part of the pain management plan.
Alternative therapies are not constantly benign. Again, some of these herbal treatments can adversely interact with other medicines that you are currently taking. Do not forget to discuss this matter with your doctor before trying these methods, and make sure that you inform all your healthcare providers what therapies you are using.