Alternative Therapies for Chronic Pain

Alternative Therapies for Chronic Pain

When faced with chronic pain, many people will look toward alternative therapies when and if traditional medicines and techniques don’t do the trick. Finding the right alternative therapy for your chronic pain should involve consultation with your doctor, but fortunately there are many methods out there that have been studied to see if they can reduce pain.

Bear in mind that these have all been studied, but in different ways and with varying results. Nothing is fool-proof.

Massage therapy

Massage therapy is a multi-technique method of manipulating soft tissues. The results of studies of massage have varied, but if there’s a chance it might work for your type of pain, a specialist should have an idea how to address it.


Meditation is a broad umbrella term for many different types of concentration, mindfulness and quietude practices. Some studies have shown that meditation may work toward pain relief in a way that hint that it could be very successful when combined with the right medications.


Acupuncture is the use of delicate needles in the skin to stimulate that area. Acupuncture has shown in some studies to possibly have some significant effect on pain – specifically chronic pain. Provided the needles are sterile and the acupuncturist is skilled, acupuncture is generally considered to be a safe method.

Relaxation techniques

Not entirely unrelated to meditation, relaxation techniques use breathing and other methods to relax the body, lower the heart rate and lower blood pressure. Various types of relaxation techniques, including remote guided techniques, have been studied in relation to pain relief, though results are inconclusive.

Spinal manipulation

Typically delivered by a licensed chiropractor or other medical professional, spinal manipulation is the thrusting of a spinal joint with force. In some studies it was better than a placebo in treating certain types of body pain.


Yoga is a practice with roots in spiritualism, involving meditation and physical movements intended to help put one in touch with one’s own body. The effects of yoga on pain were, overall, comparable to the effect that exercise tends to have on physical pain – positive.


Qigong started as an ancient martial art, and is an exercise-based method of centering oneself, using breath, posture, movement and awareness of one’s own thoughts. There are conflicting results on Qigong’s overall effect on pain.

Tai chi

Tai Chi also started as a martial art, in China, and involves the use of physical posture, controlled breathing, slow movements and concentration on one’s state of mind. There has been limited research conducted on Tai Chi’s effectiveness toward treating pain, but some research, especially in regards to low-back pain, suggest that Tai Chi may help reduce back pain.


If you find an alternative method, make sure it provides the help you need and that it’s safe for you try and continue to use. Whatever works for your pain works for your pain, but just make sure you maintain your normal level of health while trying things out.

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