Alternative Methods to Managing Pain

When your patients have pain, often they will treat that pain with medication. However, there are many options available for patients who aren’t interested in pills or for people who want to incorporate alternative methods to manage pain in with their schedule of medication. Here is a list of alternative ways to control pain that your patients can try out:

Weight loss

Excess weight places additional pressure on the back and knees, shedding a few pounds can help alleviate that pressure.

Proper posture

Avoid slouching when sitting or standing. Shoulders should be back and relaxed and the spine straight. Chairs should have backs that provide firm support for the spine. The patient should avoid sleeping on their stomach.

Correct body mechanics

Lift objects using the thigh muscles, the patient should never bend over and arch the back. Avoid twisting when lifting heavy objects. Patients who must stand frequently should be taught to shift their weight often.

Moderate exercise

Patients should work with their physicians to develop an appropriate moderate exercise regimen. Walking and water exercises have proved the most helpful to patients with many types of pain.

Pain diaries

Patients who documented their pain and where it occurred were able to improve pain management and their quality of life.

Body-based therapies

These include the uses of heat, cold, acupuncture, and massage.

Cognitive-behavioral approaches

These approaches include relaxation, guided imagery, and meditation. Using these types of methods helps to control the pain and minimize its unpleasant effects.

Nutrition, vitamins, and herbs

Patients should work with a dietitian to identify foods that have positive and negative effects on pain control. Many herbs and vitamins have been used in the relief of pain.  Most recently (and controversially) is the use of medical marijuana in states where it has been approved. Pain relief is one of medical marijuana’s most well-known benefits. The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association, and even The New England Journal of Medicine endorse the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of severe chronic pain.

Effective pain management can only be achieved with the help of the entire team. When everyone works together, it is easier to create a pain management program that will succeed. Whether you decide to go a nonmedication route or use medication and a nonmedication treatment overcoming pain begins with a proper plan!