The National Center for Health Statistics’ provisional data shows that the state’s opioid drug overdose deaths increased by more than 23 percent from 2016 to 2017. Meanwhile, there are alternatives in the treatment of pain that could save many lives in the U.S. each year. Scientific reviews and randomized clinical trials provide encouraging evidence that practices such as tai chi, qigong, yoga, acupuncture, mindfulness, and biofeedback may provide significant relief from chronic pain.
For example for patients with chronic low-back pain recent evidence-based clinical practice guidelines from the American College of Physicians gave a strong recommendation based on evidence that clinicians and patients should initially select nonpharmacologic treatment with exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, or mindfulness-based stress reduction. The guidelines also strongly recommend, based on evidence, tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise, progressive relaxation, biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, operant therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or spinal manipulation. More funding to gain higher quality evidence is needed to reinforce these recommendations.
Pain relief for Osteoarthritis
In 2012, the American College of Rheumatology issued recommendations for using pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches for OA of the hand, hip, and knee. The guidelines conditionally recommend tai chi, along with other nondrug approaches such as self-management programs and walking aids, for managing knee OA. Acupuncture is also conditionally recommended for those who have chronic moderate-to-severe knee pain and are candidates for total knee replacement but can’t or won’t undergo the procedure.
To Read the Original Reports
Follow the links to find current scientific evidence about mind and body approaches for chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, headache, low-back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
More Research is Needed
Complimentary approaches to pain do attract the kind of research money that drug research can command so more support is needed to fund further research in these areas to provide stronger levels of evidence.
The scientific evidence to date suggests that some mind and body approaches may help individuals manage the day-to-day variations in their chronic pain symptoms. While some complementary approaches do show modest benefit depending on the approach and pain condition, in some instances, though, the amount of evidence is too small to clearly show whether an approach is useful.
For more information on natural approaches to pain relief Read more in the Barefoot Doctor’s Journal
Acupressure for Pain Relief, acupuncture, Acupuncture and Pain, Alternative Medicine, evidence based, Pain Relief, T'ai Chi Ch'uan