If you've got a nagging ache in your neck or persistent back pain that
makes you twinge when you move, you're not alone. Nearly 40 million
people in America deal with chronic, severe pain, and sometimes medication
isn't enough to treat it--about 30 percent to 40 percent of those
people use drug-free, complementary medicine treatments during any given
year, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative
Health. The government agency recently analyzed 105 clinical trials on
alternative pain treatments. It was found that these treatments may help
ease certain common aches and pains as part of an overall wellness plan:
Yoga. Promoting flexibility, strength and deep relaxation, yoga can ease pain
by building a supple body and easing stress. If you have chronic pain,
let your yoga teacher know, as some poses may be more beneficial for you
than others. GOOD FOR: back pain.
Acupuncture. This ancient Chinese treatment relieves pain when needles are stuck into
points throughout the body; the location of the needles depends on where
the pain is originating. Treatment may require multiple, ongoing sessions.
GOOD FOR: back pain, knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Tai chi. Like acupuncture, tai chi also comes to us by way of China. It's an
exercise that consists of low-impact, slow and deliberate movements paired
with focused breathing. As with yoga, you should make sure your chronic
pain doesn't contraindicate any tai chi moves. GOOD FOR: knee osteoarthritis.
Massage therapy. It's hard to not feel good after a massage, thanks to its pain- and
stress-relief powers. There are many types of massage out there so you
can pick one that will most benefit your particular pain problem. Ideally,
find a state-licensed massage therapist. GOOD FOR: neck pain.
Relaxation techniques. Living with chronic pain can be stressful, so relaxation techniques are
a valuable way to manage that while instilling a positive mindset. Try
deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, positive visualization
or art therapy. GOOD FOR: headaches.
Getting to the Point of Healing Acupuncture
There's the Rub - A Look at Massage for Health