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Pain can often be treated effectively with natural remedies

Harold Mandel's picture
Massage therapy natural remedy for pain

A new U.S. study has reviewed trial results on complementary health approaches for pain relief and has determined complementary health approaches often appear effective for helping to manage many pain conditions.


Pain is a very debilitating condition which often leads to treatment with drugs that cause even more problems due lack of effectiveness and side effects issues. Effective alternative natural remedies for the relief of pain are therefore highly valued.

Popular complementary health approaches seem to help manage pain

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that data from a review of clinical trials in the United States suggests that complementary health approaches which are popular appear to effectively help with the management of common pain conditions. These complementary approaches include massage, acupuncture, tai chi, and yoga. A group of scientists from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health did this study.

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There are millions of Americans who are suffering from persistent pain which may not be fully relieved with medications. Unwanted side effects from pain medications are also a serious problem. Complementary health approaches have often been desired even though primary care providers have not had a good evidence base to guide recommendations on complementary approaches for pain relief. This new review offers primary care providers and patients high-quality information dealing with complementary approaches for management of chronic pain.

In this study promise was found for various alternative approaches dealing with many types of pain. Massage therapy was determined to be helpful for neck pain. Severe headaches and migraine responded well to relaxation techniques. Acupuncture and tai chi were helpful for osteoarthritis of the knee. Back pain responded well to acupuncture and yoga. Fibromyalgia responded to relaxation approaches and tai chi. Massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and osteopathic manipulation were found to help with back pain.

Health providers and patients can now have informed conversations about pain relief with nondrug approaches

David Shurtleff, Ph.D., who is deputy director of NCCIH, says with the new data health providers and patients now have the necessary information for informed conversations dealing with nondrug interventions for various pain conditions. Dr. Shurtleff emphasizes that it's important to continue to investigate these approaches.

The scope of the problem of dealing with pain is enormous with pain conditions being the most common reasons Americans use complementary health approaches. Americans spend greater than $30 billion annually on pain
relief. More than $14 billion is spent on out-of-pocket on complementary approaches for the management of various painful conditions including arthritis, back pain, and neck pain.

This study has been published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Most pain people suffer from is acute and resolves in just a few days or weeks. However there are millions of Americans suffering from persistent or recurring pain which may become chronic and debilitating. Intervention with medications often only provides some relief from chronic pain and may be associated with unwanted side effects. Therefore many people desire complementary health approaches to help with their pain management. We now have data to support the value of complementary approaches for relief of chronic pain.