Is your chronic pain unmanageable even after taking pain relieving drugs? Try non-drug approaches such as yoga, tai chi as well as acupuncture, which may act as effective tools to help manage chronic pain conditions, suggests a study.
The study found that these popular health interventions could better help patients suffering from five painful conditions — back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine.
“For many people 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 non-drug approaches to help manage their pain,” said lead author Richard L. Nahin, Epidemiologist at National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) — a US-based government research organisation.
The study found that these interventions had no significant side effects.
While acupuncture and yoga were found to be beneficial for back pain, a combination of acupuncture and tai chi — a form of Chinese martial art — was best for knee osteoarthritis.
Massage therapy and certain relaxation techniques helped patients with neck pain and severe headaches as well as migraines.
In addition, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and osteopathic manipulation also provided some help for back pain, while relaxation approaches and tai chi helped people with fibromyalgia, said the paper published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
For the study, the team reviewed 105 US-based randomised controlled trials, from the past 50 years, that were relevant to patients with chronic pain conditions.
The review also gives primary care providers — who frequently see patients with chronic pain — tools to inform decision-making on how to help manage that pain.
“This data can equip providers and patients with the information they need to have informed conversations regarding non-drug approaches for treatment of specific pain conditions,” added David Shurtleff, Deputy Director of NCCIH.