While most are conditioned to pop a pill whenever they are in pain, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Mayo Clinic have come out with a review of various data which shows that there are many ways people can control their pain with non-drug options.

Much of the pain people with chronic or short-term pain conditions can be managed through either using both medication and complementary approaches, or simply by taking proactive measures to not use medication.

According to the data review, practices like yoga, tai chi and acupuncture are actually just as effective, in some cases, at managing pain.

To come to this conclusion, researchers reviewed over a hundred randomized trials on pain management that have taken place over the last 50 years.

The pain conditions that they were focused on helping manage included arthritis, back pain, neck pain, headaches and migraines.

The researchers were able to deduce that different therapies work well for different conditions. Treating pain conditions are not one size fits all, meaning each person will have to tailor their treatment to their own issues.

For example, researchers found some evidence that chiropractic care and massage therapy are likely beneficial for things like osteoarthritis in the back and neck and back and neck pain in general.

Relaxation techniques, like meditation, guided meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and sitting in a dark room were found to help conditions such as migraines and severe headaches, especially if they occur as a chronic condition.

Relaxing yoga may also help with chronic headaches.

Acupuncture has found to be beneficial for back pain and osteoarthritis.

Tai chi, a martial art that promotes relaxation and overall health is also helpful for knee pain and osteoarthritis.

Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D. and lead author of the analysis stated:

“For many Americans who suffer from chronic pain, medications may not completely relieve pain and can produce unwanted side effects. As a result, many people may turn to nondrug approaches to help manage their pain. Our goal for this study was to provide relevant, high-quality information for primary care providers and for patients who suffer from chronic pain.”


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