There are currently numerous alternative treatments that are very effective in the area of back and neck pain, however, according to new research from Duke University and the University of North Carolina, many practitioners still continue to give prescriptions for medications.
Dr. Adam Goode, PT, DPT and associate Cecil G. Sheps from UNC Center for Health Services Research, there are many persons with chronic back and neck pain who get little relief from conventional treatments. Most of the conventional treatments are various strength of pain medications.
The conclusion is the long-term effect is bleak. This conclusion was derived from systematic reviews that were published in the Cohrane Library and The Bone and Joint Decade 2000 – 2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders: Noninvasive Interventions for Neck Pain.
Certain treatments that have been proven to be very effective are not recommended by practioners and are just ignored.
Dr. Goode explains that treatments such as rehabilitation and acupuncture which have been demonstrated to be effective in studies are used not commonly used by persons with chronic neck pain. Patients seem to depend on over-the-counter mediciations like NSAIDS and assorted narcotics such as codine and oxycodone.
Over using imaging test in order to evaluate neck and back problems is another problem. According to participants in the study they averaged 1.6 diagnostic tests which includes MRI and CT scans.
These test in reality do very little for those in chronic pain.
Chronic pain according to experts is pain that has not gone away or reoccurs frequently even after six months. Conventional treatments fail in the area of chronic neck and back pain. Alernative treatments have been proven to be effective and can help ease or end the suffering.
A study done just this year and printed in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine, May to June 2010, Volume 23 Number 3, found that the among the respondants a vast majority reported using CAM treatments for back pain and reported immense benefits among the various treatments which are available.
Here are the top six alternative treatments for back and neck pain as listed for 2010.
Chiropractic care comes in top place for the top alternative treatment sought for neck and back pain with 74% of patients using chiropractic care.
Chiropractic care uses hands on therapy approach to the treatment of chronic pain. The treatments consist of spinal manipulation and other treatment plans. If inproper alignment is present in the spine it can lead to various health problems. When this misalignment is corrected especially in the spine the body then can proceed to heal its self. Manipulations can restore movement to joints which are hampered by tissue injury most of the time caused by truma such as falling, repetitive actions like bending and even sitting for long periods of time.
Cases of osteoarthritis and fibromylagia pain respond very effectively to chiropractic care.
In cases of neck pain chiropractic has also has been proven to be effective. Chiropractic care gives a vast range of methods for cervical pain. There is no “twisting” of the neck involved. The manipulations or adjustments used are gentle. The goal of therapy is to restore functioning ability. Chiropractors are now recongnized as health practioners.
Neck and back pain seem to go together, usually where there is one the other is present. Massage therapy is also listed as noninvasive treatments for pain. Massage therapists also use hands on theraputic approaches. Massage does effect the entire body and it is very theraputic for the circulatory, musculoskeletal, lympathic and nervous systems.
Various massage techniques are used for neck and back pain. Are few of them are:
This massage employs an assortment of techniques that aide in the release of tension through the use of applied pressure to the muscles on the surface. This type of massage is effective for emotional stress and tension.
Deep Tissue Massage
This massage can be done with Swedish massage in order to rid tension from the muscles which are deeper in the body and connecting tissues in the neck and upper back. The pressure applied is a little more than in Swedish. It is intense and aims at the knots or scar tissue that could be the cause of the pain.
A study published in the British Journal of Rheumatology had concluded that acupuncture was a safe and effective treatment for back pain.
In the study participants were divided into two groups. One group used conventional treatments such as exercise and medications. The other group had acupuncture treatments twice a week for a period of five weeks. The study ended at six weeks and the results had shown those who had acupuncture had a remarked decrease of pain than those on medications.
In Germany around 2006 another study was conducted on acupuncture and neck pain. Patients were placed in two groups, one with acupuncture and one without the acupuncture treatments. All patients could follow regular conventional treatments if so desired. The conclusion of study after three months once again had shown significant improvement in patients who had received acupuncture.
In traditional Chinese medicine there are three major cataegories on back pain those being:
Truma causing Qi
Deficiency of Qi (energy)
Invasion of pathogenic cold and damp
In patients with cold & damp and truma, acupuncture will bring back normal circulation, warm the area to rid the cold and dampness and strengthen the energy in the back.
Acupuncture can also aide in pinched nerves which can cause back pain. The treatments will halt the pain, reduce inflammation and heal those nerves which are injured.
Acupuncture also treats numerous forms of neck pain. The National Institutes of Health have reported the effectivenss in acupuncture to treat neck pain.
Yoga aides in toning neck and back muscles to make them less at risk for injuries. The exercises in yoga also help in rehabilitation of the neck and back.
Some yoga poses:
Meditative poses is most of the time done after the Corpse Pose. The pose aides in strengthening spine.
Sun Salutation limbers the whole body to prepare for Yoga Asanas. This is a graceful sequence of twelve yoga positions but are done as one exercise.
Tia Chi is a form of exercise which is catching on very fast. It has made its use known in the world of alternative medicine in order to alleviate neck and back pain.
Tia Chi in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine have noted that Tia Chi is being used by a large number of persons in releif of pain. Tia Chi is also the choice exercise of persons who are suffering from fibromylagia.
Tia Chi uses a combination of slow, gentle movements, meditation, relaxation and deep breathing. These exercises are low impact and fantastic for any age to use.
Herbs have been used for neck and back pain and are equal to that of non-opiate medications. Some of the herbs used:
Camomile has a calming effect and soothes muscle tissues. As a tea take one to three cups a day or one to three capsules each day.
A strong anti-inflammatory. Dosage is 2 – 3gm daily at the beginning. Then reduce to 1 – 2g as pain is alleviating.
Willow bark has been used for treating pain by the Greeks and American Indians for hundreds of years. Willow bark prompted the discovery of aspirin. It acts as anti-inflammatory and pain alleviating.
This herb is found in numerous over-the-counter back pain medications. It has the abiltity to ease muscle tightness which is one of the reasons for back pain.
Ginger is used to treat a vast range of pain conditions. It contains 12 different anti-inflammatory compounds and some of them are like aspirin.
Fresh ginger root is to be used in slices about size of thumb. Place slices in one quart of water. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer on extremely low heat for thirty minutes covered. Let cool down for thirty minutes. Strain and consume one-half to one cup. You can sweeten with honey if desired.
Relaxation rounds out the list. Relaxation techniques are useful in pain management. When muscles re relaxed the pain level is decreased and/or prevents spasms. It aides in reduction and control of muscles. When muscles are relaxed it also aides in reduction of stress, anxiety, distracts thoughts from pain and allows for a better sleep.
Several relaxation techniques are available to use including biofeed back and visualization.
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