What is Chronic Pain?
While chronic pain often stems from conditions such as arthritis, recurrent headache, back pain, or fibromyalgia, it can also result from a past injury or disease. For some individuals, however, there is no known cause or source of chronic pain.
Chronic Pain Management
Certain herbs have also been shown to be useful in chronic pain management.
Natural Treatment for Chronic Pain
Since stress can aggravate chronic pain—and because chronic pain tends to increase stress—the regular use of stress-reducing techniques may benefit people with chronic pain. In addition to helping patients cope with their pain, these mind-body therapies may lessen anxiety, enhance well being, and even provide symptom relief:
1) Tai Chi
Tai chi is a gentle Chinese martial art that combines movement, meditation and rhythmic breathing to improve the flow of chi. In a 2009 review of seven studies that used tai chi as the main intervention for people with musculoskeletal pain, researchers concluded that the practice may decrease pain and disability in arthritis patients.
In a 2008 study of 27 adults with chronic low back pain of at least moderate severity, scientists found that taking on an eight-week meditation practice was associated with to less pain, better sleep, enhanced well being, and improved quality of life.
Meditation has also been found to reduce pain and stress in people with fibromyalgia.
Guided imagery—a technique that involves achieving deep relaxation by vividly imagining yourself completely at peace—may improve functioning and quality of life in people with chronic pain. One study published in 2006, for instance, found that listening to guided imagery tapes daily for six weeks helped fibromyalgia patients feel more capable of managing their pain. In another study from the same year, using guided imagery for 12 weeks significantly increased health-related quality of life among 28 women with osteoarthritis.
Known to ease stress and increase flexibility, yoga resulted in a decreased perception of pain (as well as an improvement in balance) among rheumatoid arthritis patients who participated in three 75-minute yoga classes weekly for 10 weeks in a 2009 study.
Published in 2008, a study of 80 adults with chronic low back pain found that an intensive, week-long yoga program reduced pain-related disability and improved spinal flexibility in patients better than a physical exercise regimen.
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