Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hypnotherapy and More: 7 Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain, or pain that lasts longer than 3 to 6 months, affects up to half the population in a given area. Both the cause and the affected area may vary -- from pain in the limbs to the lower back, and even headaches. It used to be treatable only by medication and surgery, but now, there are several alternative options for treatment.

1. Hypnotherapy
– This is one of the techniques recommended in order to lessen stress, which has turned out to be important for managing pain. You can see a licensed practitioner, or use a hypnosis product for self-hypnosis at home. Either way, it’s useful for repetitive strain injuries, back pain, and aches associated with cancer.

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2. Yoga – This is another stress-reducing technique that may seem counter-intuitive. The gentle and flowing movements you see in yoga help to strengthen muscles, actually lessening pain. Engaging in this exercise helps alleviate arthritis, neck and back pain, and fibromyalgia.

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3. Acupuncture – This Chinese practice of using hair-width needles to painlessly pierce the skin to unblock energy pathways in the body is quickly becoming a mainstream alternative treatment. Typically, people suffering from back and sports injuries, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia seek out licensed acupuncturists.

4. Exercise
– Like yoga, regular exercise helps strengthen muscles, not to mention keep one’s weight in check. Studies have shown that moderate physical activity can help relieve chronic pain. However, you’ll want to check with a doctor before starting a routine to know what exercises can cause your pain to flare up.

5. Vitamins and supplements
– Certain dietary supplements can help with certain types of pain. For instance, topical capsaicin helps with arthritis and diabetic nerve pain; fish oil is typically used to reduce pain from swelling. You’ll have to consult your doctor first before popping those additional pills, since they may have side effects.

6. Chiropractic treatment – This is actually the most common treatment for back pain that involves no surgery. Manipulating the spine so that it’s properly aligned can also get rid of compressed nerves, which may be causing pain somewhere else as with sciatica.

7. Diet management
– Some believe that changing one’s diet can help ease pain by also reducing chances of inflammation. A mostly vegetarian diet, for example, was found to help with fibromyalgia. This means hypnotherapy for weight loss, along with regular exercise, could also help your bad back, osteoarthritis, and others. 

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