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Chronic pain is debilitating and hinders essential daily activities. Not only is the pain uncomfortable, but pain management can also be a source of stress and frustration. The first approach to alleviating and ultimately resolving chronic pain usually involves medication. However, chronic pain sometimes doesn’t respond to pain medication, and sufferers turn to alternative pain management approaches in hopes of discovering an option that works for them. It’s important when looking to resolve chronic pain, to do your research about different approaches, but to also keep an open mind.

What is chronic pain? Chiropractor, physiotherapist, osteopath, or manual therapist helping man with back problems

Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts longer than 3 months. This pain can be caused by something like an injury, condition, or operation, and persists despite treatment. As of 2016, roughly 20% of American adults had reported experiencing chronic pain, meaning a fifth of the adult population was experiencing persistent pain. This is a significant number, and further investigation showed that chronic pain disproportionately affects adults with less than a high school education, in poverty, and with public health care.

While chronic pain is more prevalent within certain demographics, it does not discriminate and affects people from all walks of life. The problem of chronic pain can be perplexing, and there are many approaches to explore when trying to find the best pain management system for you. Some options include:

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves puncturing skin or tissues with needles to help alleviate pain. This practice originated in ancient China but is practiced widely worldwide and in the West. There has been some research suggesting acupuncture can help to release endorphins and other neurotransmitters, leading to pain relief. Acupuncture can be worth a try, as long as you are in the hands of a licensed professional.

  • Chiropractic and massage

Chiropractic involves the manipulation of the spine to help alleviate pain in the back, hips, and neck most often. A lot of research regarding the validity of chiropractic as a form of back pain relief has been inconclusive, but lot of chronic pain sufferers report satisfaction with their chiropractic services. Massage, on the other hand, involves applying pressure to the soft tissues to help relieve back pain.

  • Herbal medicine

It is believed that some herbs and foods can help with the pain. For example, avocados and soybean unsaponifiables have been shown to help relieve pain due to osteoarthritis. There is also some evidence supporting that linolenic acid may help with pain due to rheumatoid arthritis.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, one or some of these non-medicine approaches may be worth a try. Always consult your physician prior to starting treatment.