Non-Conventional Medicine and Pain Management

Non-Conventional Medicine and Pain Management

Non-conventional medicine is not widely taught widely at US medical schools. But it’s safety and principles are becoming more widely applied to  treat and manage chronic pain.

Pain remains one of the main reasons for medical consultation worldwide. The use of opioid pain killers for acute pain, active cancer pain or terminal pain is well accepted. However, their role in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain is severely limited due to multiple side effects, complications and efficacy. Actually, opioids should be avoided to be long term used unnecessarily. 

Adjuvant analgesics are medications that are not primarily designed to control pain but can be used for this purpose. Some of adjuvant drugs are antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Chronic pain patients might be prescribed adjuvant analgesics in addition to other non-opioid pain medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications. If the patient is already on opioid pain killers for prolonged time, the patient should be gradually weaned off opioid medications under the physician’s guidance. Sometime, tapering dose of long active opioids would benefit the opioid weaning process.

Non-conventional medicine has also been defined as “medical interventions not taught widely at US medical schools, not generally available at US hospitals, and not generally reimbursable by health insurance”. Based on safety and efficacy principles, it has been more and more widely applied on chronic pain management. 

Usually, conventional chronic pain treatment uses over-the-counter pain medication, prescribed opiate, non-opiate, and benzodiazepine medications as well as different injections; while non-conventional pain treatment utilizes of acupuncture, counseling/psychotherapy, self-help support group, yoga, hypnosis, herbs/herbal medicine, stretching, physical exercise, massage, physical therapy, temperature modality and chiropractic. 

Combined, conventional and non-conventional treatments provide best outcome of the chronic pain management. 

Actually, certain non-conventional treatments are appropriate to be provided to all of the chronic pain cases. Not only to bring immediate pain, but relief, nonconventional management of pain also to aim to enhance overall health. 

More and more scientific basis of some non-conventional medicine methods are revealed. For example, acupuncture is an effective means of relieving pain. Studies found, when acupuncture points are stimulated, the nerve fibers signal the spinal cord and brain to release chemicals that relieve pain.

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