Yoga, acupuncture can help some pain, studies find

Posted at 1:13 PM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 17:02:32-04

There’s good news for those who suffer with pain as government researchers found evidence that natural techniques can help ease certain painful conditions.

What are these natural techniques?
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reviewed controlled clinical trials looking to see what complimentary health approaches made a difference.  They concluded that "natural" techniques like acupuncture, yoga, tai chi and massage can help ease pain.

Do they help with all pain or specific areas?
It’s specific and the researchers found that:
·       Acupuncture and yoga can help back pain
·       Acupuncture and tai chi can help osteoarthritis of the knee
·       Massage therapy gives short-term relief for neck pain
·       Relaxation techniques can ease severe headaches and migraine

Can they cause any harm?
These approaches rarely cause any harm but you may have minor muscle or joint soreness with tai chi and yoga.  And there’s potential for bruising with acupuncture.

What are your prescriptions?
We spend more than $14 billion of our own money on complementary treatment for pain.  It’s a common heath problem affecting 100 million Americans. Here are my prescriptions if you’re considering these techniques:

Partha’s RX: 

1. Not all complementary health approaches are safe for everyone. Certain medical conditions and treatments may restrict what techniques you may try.

2. Never delay seeing your doctor for pain. If you wait while trying complementary approaches, your condition may worsen.

3. Don’t’ stop conventional care for your health problem. First discuss it with your doctor because going without conventional care may lead to serious problems for some people.

4. Always talk with your doctor first. They can help decide if a new complementary approach will be beneficial for you.

What about pain medication?

Medications like acetaminophen can provide relief to those suffering with chronic pain.  I would stay away from opioids unless you’re dealing with active cancer treatment, palliative care or end-of-life care.  Opioids have serious side risks and side effects.  The majority of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid.