Alternative Therapies and Pain Management

By Brandon Twyford
[Body Talk]

A review conducted by the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that complementary therapies such as massage therapy, yoga, and acupuncture have high potential for managing chronic pain.
The review included evidence from randomized, controlled clinical trials from 1996 to March 2016. The researchers gathered evidence on the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of seven widely used alternative therapies or groups of therapies: massage therapy, acupuncture, spinal or osteopathic manipulation, tai chi, yoga, relaxation techniques including meditation, and selected natural product supplements.
Researchers found the following approaches resulted in more positive than negative outcomes for helping people manage chronic pain conditions:
• Massage therapy for neck pain—with adequate doses and for short-term benefit.
• Acupuncture and yoga for back pain.
• Acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee.
• Relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine.
The study was published in the September 2016 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.