In collaboration with Keck School of Medicine

Integrative Therapies to Help Manage Chronic Pain

integrative therapies

With millions of people suffering from chronic pain in the country, more attention is being put on what can be done to help manage it. While pharmaceuticals may have once been center stage, many people are seeking other ways they can help find pain relief, with the side effects of taking medications. The good news is numerous therapies can be included in one’s chronic pain management plan. A study published in the September 2022 issue of the Primary Care shared information regarding integrative therapies that help with chronic pain [1].

Integrative therapies, also known as complementary medicine, are therapies that are used in conjunction with traditional medical practices. They may be suggested by the person’s primary health care team as a therapy to include as part of the chronic pain management plan.

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The study reports that 50 million adults in the country suffer from chronic pain, which decreases the quality of life and limits daily functioning. In recent years there has been an interest in helping people find non-pharmaceutical ways to bring about pain relief and help with its management. Many integrative therapies have been used for hundreds of years worldwide, providing a rich history and support.

Some common chronic pain conditions that integrative therapies are helpful for include back pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches. There are numerous integrative therapies that may help such conditions, according to the study, including:

  • Acupuncture, according to the study, has been found to help with the management of chronic back pain, osteoarthritis pain, and headache pain.
  • Acupressure is a safe and affordable therapy for effective low back pain and helps improve function for those with fibromyalgia.
  • Massage therapy helps with short-term pain and function and helps with chronic back pain.
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which is mindfulness meditation, helps people focus on their breath and better manage pain.

Additional integrative therapies that people may want to explore to help with chronic pain management include yoga, deep breathing, tai chi, qigong, and guided imagery. According to the National Institutes of Health, integrative health approaches have grown in the United States, aiming to bring together conventional and complementary approaches in an effort to care for the whole person [2]. Complementary therapies go beyond treating a disease. They take an approach that helps to treat the whole person.

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Like what you’re learning? Consider enrolling in the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC’s online, competency-based certificate or master’s program in Pain Medicine in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Source:

  1. Primary Care. Integrative Health Strategies to Manage Chronic Pain. September 2022.
  2. National Institutes of Health. Complimentary: Alternative or Integrative Health.

This article was originally published on Confronting Chronic Pain by Dr. Steven Richeimer, Director Pain Medicine Master and Certificate.

Posted: December 12, 2022
<a href="https://ostrowon.usc.edu/author/richeimer/" target="_self">Dr. Steven H. Richeimer</a>

Dr. Steven H. Richeimer

Steven Richeimer, M.D. is a renowned specialist on issues related to chronic pain. He is the chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at the University of Southern California. He has written or co-written a large number of scientific articles about pain medicine. He recently published an instructive book and guide for pain patients. Dr. Richeimer has given numerous lectures to medical and lay audiences throughout the U.S.

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