Therapies such as yoga, massage, osteopathic manipulative medicine (hands-on care from an osteopathic physician) and meditation promote health and well-being through direct touch, stretching and strengthening, or by stilling the mind.
Combining integrative and conventional pain management strategies for patients with chronic pain offers a more balanced approach and the potential for improved results. A growing body of research suggests mind-body therapies can help manage pain and reduce stress. As a clinician who treats cancer patients with chronic pain, I know well the importance of controlling pain to optimize quality of life
- Yoga: Regular yoga practice may improve pain tolerance by improving function in the insular cortex, a part of the brain that helps regulate pain perception. Yoga has been successfully used to help alleviate conditions such as chronic back and neck pain and has been found to reduce depression, pain and fatigue in older women with breast cancer.
- Meditation: Mindfulness meditation may have long-lasting effects in patients with chronic pain, and has been found to help patients reduce their use of pain medication.
- Hypnosis: Hypnosis therapy also may be effective for managing chronic pain.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been found effective in reducing a variety of chronic pain conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, headaches and arthritis.
- Sauna: In a small study of chronic pain patients, use of daily infrared sauna for four weeks in combination with multidisciplinary pain management therapies was found to enhance the effect of treatment.