Pain management: integrative medicine to broaden the horizon of approaches

You’ve probably tried to relieve pain with something other than just a pill. Perhaps you have received a massage, tried biofeedback, sophrology, acupuncture, shiatsu, etc. or added dietary supplements to your diet. These are forms of what used to be called complementary and alternative medicine. Today, complementary and alternative medicine is most often referred to as integrative medicine. Many types of effective pain relief can be found without pills.

Integrative medicine includes therapies that are used in addition to those used in conventional medicine, such as practicing yoga in addition to taking a prescription pain reliever. Today, the term “integrative medicine” is commonly used to describe health care practices and products that are not generally part of conventional medicine, but which scientific evidence supports combining with conventional care.

Most of these integrative therapies are not new. In fact, some, such as acupuncture and some herbal remedies, have been around for thousands of years. These therapies are now experiencing a resurgence in popularity, especially when it comes to managing pain.

It’s not surprising. Pain can leave you helpless, out of control and at the mercy of prescribed medications. And even if your prescriptions are effective, you may face side effects or fear the risks of increased doses or long-term use. Integrative therapies, on the other hand, can give you a wide range of philosophies and approaches to complement the care your doctor gives you, increase your pain relief, and improve your overall quality of life.

Combining conventional and unconventional care

The goal of integrative medicine is to treat the whole person, body, soul, and spirit, not just an underlying disease. It can achieve this by combining the best of conventional medicine with the best of less conventional practices, therapies that have a reasonable amount of high-quality evidence to support their use.

Researchers and healthcare professionals are finding that integrative medicine can provide positive results for a wide range of pain causes. Indeed, pain is often a whole-body experience. Pain doesn’t always come from one source. There is the physical cause of the pain, of course an injury, joint pain, muscle tension. But this physical pain can often be made worse by stress, frustration, fatigue, medication side effects and many other factors.

Conventional medicine usually only deals with physical pain. This is where integrative therapies can step in, to help address a myriad of other factors associated with pain. For example, someone who has had knee surgery may be prescribed pain medication to relieve post-operative pain, see a physical therapist to learn exercises to get them moving again, and take a dietary supplement to help relieve inflammation and pain. joint health.

Are Integrative Pain Therapies Right For You?

You might be wondering: Are integrative therapies safe? Could they actually work for me? Should I talk to my healthcare professional before using them?

These are all excellent questions. With their growing popularity, integrative therapies have been the focus of more clinical research. Overall, the results are encouraging, and many mainstream healthcare professionals are now incorporating integrative therapies that are supported by scientific studies into their medical practice.

Combined with conventional medicine, integrative approaches can help relieve pain and improve quality of life. But before starting any new treatment, do your research. Not all integrative therapies have been properly tested for safety and effectiveness.

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Gather information.

Research specific therapies by visiting reputable websites and talking to your healthcare professional.

Use reputable therapists. Only consult therapists who have professional qualifications. Even if the training of therapists (acupuncture, shiatsu, sophrology, naturopath, etc.) are not recognized by the Ministry of Health and Medicine, experimental and scientific evidence is accumulating in their favour.

Beware of interactions. Ask if the nutritional supplements you plan to take might interfere with your over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Understand the cost of treatments. Many integrative therapies are not covered by health insurance.

When to choose integrative therapies

There are several reasons to add appropriate integrative therapies to your pain treatment plan. Here are a few :

To have more control.

When you are hurting, you want to act. However, if your only source of pain relief is prescription medication, the only action you can take is to wait for the next dose. Integrative therapies give you more pain relief strategies, and they may be available when you need them.

To help you manage the side effects of your pain medication. Prescribed painkillers are often accompanied by side effects, such as drowsiness, nausea, or constipation


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