Complementary and alternative medicine, abbreviated as CAM, is described as a variety of healing medicines and practices which are available outside of conventional treatments. CAM practices are believed to provide a much more natural and holistic treatment approach for the wide array of injuries and conditions that exist today. In fact, back pain is one of the most common complaint people turn to complementary and alternative medicine.
Many individuals have found relief from their spinal complications through the use of complementary and alternative medicine practices.
Complementary and alternative medicine therapies and practices can be utilized on their own to treat back pain as well as other symptoms or these can be combined with conventional medicine. As with any new form of treatment however, it’s essential for the individual to thoroughly discuss the variety of CAM therapies that are available to them with a healthcare professional and determine which of the following would be best for their specific issue.
Common CAM, or complementary and alternative medicine, approaches for back pain include:
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine and it is commonly utilized to treat a variety of painful conditions and their symptoms. This practice involves the insertion of very thin needles into specific pressure points on the body, ultimately helping to relieve pain and other symptoms. A current research study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or NCCAM, demonstrated that acupuncture can be an effective method for treating chronic pain. The utilization of acupuncture as a form of complementary and alternative treatment has long been controversial where some individuals believe it to be nothing more than a placebo and that patients experience pain relief only because they wish to experience relief. However, the NCCAM study provides evidence that acupuncture is an effective form of treatment.
- Stretching and yoga: Yoga combines stretching exercises with breathing techniques and mindful awareness to help focus on the area causing the painful symptoms. Physical activity can help improve strength, flexibility and mobility while improving back pain.
- Chiropractic care: Although it is considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine, chiropractic care requires a license for practice in all states. Moreover, chiropractors, or doctors of chiropractic, cannot prescribe medications but they can diagnose and treat back pain using chiropractic techniques and methods, such as spinal adjustments and manual manipulations. Chiropractors may also recommend a series of stretches and exercises according to the patient’s type of injury and/or condition and depending on the severity of their symptoms, to further help treat the individual’s back pain as well as speed up the recovery process.
- Massage therapy: A 2011 study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or NCCAM, found that massage therapy can provide short-term benefits for individuals with back pain. When visiting a massage therapist, make sure to inform them about your specific symptoms in order for them to provide you with special treatment.
- Herbal medicines: Herbal medications are available as capsules, tablets, teas and essential oils. Remember that herbs can interact with each other and with conventional medications, so be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any herbal remedies you plan to take.
Many people can often find it difficult to know which type of complementary and alternative medicine practice they should begin with, especially for a common complication such as back pain. Make sure to research all CAM specialists carefully, searching specifically for licensed practitioners, and be sure to ask your healthcare specialist for trustworthy recommendations of each. Your health depends on it.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic care is an well-known, alternative treatment option utilized to prevent, diagnose and treat a variety of injuries and conditions associated with the spine, primarily subluxations or spinal misalignments. Chiropractic focuses on restoring and maintaining the overall health and wellness of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, a chiropractor, or doctor of chiropractic, can carefully re-align the spine, improving a patient’s strength, mobility and flexibility.
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