Integrative Pain Therapy is a pain management technique made to improve the current treatment cycle by associating a range of non-pharmacological modalities into the daily routine of care patients.
The technique aims to lessen the pain and improve the quality and function of life. Robert Alan Bonakdar, director of pain management, MD, at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, California, spoke about the benefits of integrative pain as a severe reducer of chronic pain, post-surgical pain, neuropathic pain, headache, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia.
Evidence-Based Studies On Integrative Pain Therapy
Most influential studies have shown a high efficacy on subjects like acupuncture, yoga, and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). These can be considered in the studies of non-pharmacological treatments for pain consisting of massage and Tai-Chi. Furthermore, integrative therapies are strongly recommended by The American College of Physicians as a must treatment for chronic lower back pain.
A research study on acupuncture for neuropathic pain has been impressive with signs of the significant improvement in nerve conditions. There was also emerging research on cannabinoids in diminishing the neuropathic pain. A meta-analysis in for postsurgical pain of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) presented moderate evidence about electrical stimulation and acupuncture significantly reducing and delaying the opioid consumption after knee arthroplasty.
So, all-in-all non-pharmacological approaches enhance in-patient management and pain assessment. If we take into consideration the findings from the IDEA (Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis) trial, we would be able to able to find that a controlled exercise and diet program also helps in pain reduction proper functioning of knee arthritis.
Integrative Medicine Strategies For Pain Management
In recent conditions, it has been found that a kind of reluctance is shown to prescribe opioids for chronic pain because of concerns about dependence, tolerance, and addiction. Complementary medicine therapies are used for treating pain conditions such as the back, neck, and joint pain. But, increased interests in integrative medicine have reduced their demand as they can help manage the pain without reliance on prescription opioids.
In the process, nutritional supplements, relaxation, yoga, tai-chi, spinal manipulation, and massage are also included.
However, some weak positive evidence is also found for relaxation, yoga, tai-chi, massage, and manipulation. Instead, acupuncture has shown significant positive and compelling evidence. Few studies for integrative medicine approaches have also misuse of opioid and abuse among patients of chronic pain. Thus, additional trials are needed to address these approaches to pain management.
Combination Of Conventional And Unconventional Care In Integrative Pain Therapy
The goal of an integrative approach is to treat the whole person, i.e., body, mind, and spirit. This can be done with the combination of conventional medicine with non-conventional practices. Health care professionals and researchers have found that integrative medicine therapies can provide exceptional outcomes for a range of pain causes.
Though pain is a whole-body experience, it doesn’t come from only one source. It is often compounded by stress, fatigue, frustration, medication side effects, and other factors.
This is where an integrative pain therapy steps in to help with other factors associated with pain. For instance, a person with knee surgery might be prescribed an analgesic to get relief from post-surgery pain. Along with exercises, you can also take a nutritional supplement to help with joint health and inflammation.
When To Go For Integrative Therapies?
The following reasons will lead to add integrative therapies in your pain care schedule.
Manage side effects of pain medications
Integrative pain therapies can help alleviate the side effects caused by prescription pain relievers such as nausea, drowsiness, or constipation.
For more control
Prescription medications can only give relief upon the next dosage. And, your only source of action in this kind is the next dosage. On the other hand, pain therapies are available when you need them. So, there are no time constraints and all.
Address pain issues
Integrative pain therapies can help reverse the bad mood and tempers often found in people with chronic pain experiences. So, remove all those undesirable outcomes and address your pain-related issues with integrative pain therapy.
When Healthcare Professional recommends
Many healthcare professionals are now recommending integrative therapies with conventional medical therapies.
Conditions Suitable For Integrative Therapies
This pain therapy can help address many kinds of pains, including the following conditions:
- Joint pain and arthritis
- Back and Neck Pain
- Pain resulting from trauma or injury
- Post-surgery pain
- Menstrual cramps and pelvic pain
Are Integrative Pain Therapies Right?
You may be hovering around questions such as: ‘Is integrative pain therapy safe?’, ‘How could it work for me?’, ‘Should I consult with healthcare professionals before taking it?’
It’s normal to ask these questions as an alert person. With the increasing fame and various researches conducted on pain therapy, we can say that all its results are amazing, encouraging, and save patients from getting chronic back pain. Do some researches before you start a new treatment because all integrative approaches are not tested for safety and efficiency.
Consult reputable therapists
Only go to therapists with professional credentials or are recommended by your healthcare professional.
Gather accurate information
Investigate for information and specific therapies by reviewing reputable websites and consulting your healthcare professional.
Consider treatment costs
Consider the treatment costs for integrative pain therapies that are not covered under health insurance.
Beware of interactions
Ask for any interaction occurring between your therapy and nutritional supplements you are taking. They may interfere with OTC pain relievers or other prescription medications you are taking.
Stages And Barriers To The Approach Of Pain Management
Check out the different steps and obstacles in the pain management approach.
Different Stages Of Pain Management
It is the point or stage at which a person first acknowledges that something is going painful in the body.
It is the stage where a person has crossed the tolerance level and is no longer willing to tolerate a painful stimulus.
These are the attitudes, emotions, and behaviors that arise from experiencing a painful stimulus.
Barriers To The Pain Management Approach
Given below are specific barriers found in the pain management approach.
- Fear of tolerance, addiction, and side effects.
- Financial constraints
- Reluctance to opioids
- Lack of healthcare education by professionals who may result in pain assessment
- Absence of pain management access
- Limited Integrative Medicine education
Standard Care With Integrative Medicine
A study conducted by the National Health Interview 2012 Survey, severe or chronic pains are affecting almost 30% of US adults, and it is one of the main reasons for seeking medications. Considering the lost productivity and healthcare expenses, chronic pain was estimated to cost roughly US $100 billion annually. Surgical techniques or medications may be essential tools for pain management, but they cannot provide adequate relief alone.
Many individuals are seeking alternative and complementary medications because of a recent epidemic of opioid abuse and overuse. This field of alternative and complementary medicine may not be taught in US Medical Schools or Hospitals, but it is significantly evolved into the field of integrative medicine.
After significant research funding from both private sectors and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, it is found that therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, massage, and mindfulness-based stress reduction can reduce your pain intensity and improve overall body function. More than 60 healthcare centers have promoted this rigorous research with evidence-based integration of complementary therapies into routine care.
With the rapid development of integrative pain management, even medicine journals are taking part in the section and connect researchers with clinicians and bring out the findings to outpatient clinics, bedsides, and other community. In the research findings, participants reported improvement in self-regulation, self-monitoring, and increased mindfulness. They also experienced learning and social support concerning health education and coping strategies.
However, these studies have also set the stage for extensive prospective studies and evaluate the impact of such a program on patient outcomes and experiences. With the rigorous research conducted, patients are provided with more evidence-based options to manage chronic and acute safely as well as effectively.
Ultimately, changes in social, cultural norms, and increased insurance coverage, the integrative medicine strategy will become the pain management solution across all US.
Integrative Pain Care: Healing Body and Mind
Pain happens everywhere: in body, heart, and mind. This multidimensional aspect has psychological, biological, cultural, and societal components with the same factors determining how we process, perceive, and react to the pain.
However, treatment and pain perception responses have been shown to depend on central and peripheral sensitivity to both psychosocial environment and nociceptor stimulation.
Therefore, it is logical that strategies of pain management should lead to better results because they are integrated holistically. This is why the aspect of Integrative Pain Care has to lead to the proper treatment of pain and integration into many therapies for the chronic pain community.
Integrative Pain Care as an essential component of Integrative Pain Therapy refers to all evidence-based and available healthcare disciplines and strategies which develop into an effective pain management plan. It is a patient-centered and practical approach to emphasize the natural ways and treat pain while replacing or complimenting pharmacological options. It further seeks engagement related to health factors such as psychological, physical, preventive, social, and therapeutic.
5 Disciplines Leading Integrative Pain Therapy
Consider these five disciples leading to emerging integrative pain therapy.
Physical Therapy is increasingly becoming an essential element in daily healthcare basis. There are multiple conditions associated with pain. Thus it’s essential to follow a patient-centered approach and aim at restoring functional mobility. Its typical treatments consist of strengthening, aerobic training, manual therapy, flexibility exercises, body mechanics instructions, and posture awareness techniques.
You can also use electrophysical modalities such as cold, heat, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. Moreover, therapists properly train their patients and educate them about the causes of pain.
As we discussed before, diet and nutrition interventions are critical players in the holistic approach. They help treat health deficits believing that myriad health problems occurring in modern society result from weakness in the psychological foundations of the body. Poor nutrition contributes to diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiac, and respiratory problems.
Both subjective and objective experiences design the perception of pain. Neurocognitive and neurophysiology researches have shown the tolerance and pain perception to be significantly influenced by emotions, moods, and other feelings. In a specified blog, it is determined that a psychologist can catalyze breakthroughs for patients who are struggling with chronic pain.
It is a common misconception that exercising will only aggravate pain, and any inactivity and rest will alleviate it. Well, the opposite is the case because extensive researches have shown many psychological and physical benefits of regular exercise. The intense aerobic exercise can help decrease the lower back pain, but the elderly can be more benefitted from low impact aerobic exercises and other activities such as tai-chi, yoga, and pilates.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
As the name suggests, its roots stem from China, which includes a range of conventional therapies such as herbal medicines, acupuncture, and exercises (tai-chi, qigong) to restore the body’s harmony and balance. It is believed in TCM that any disease occurs from an imbalance between opposing forces of ‘yin and yang’ which can block the flow of vital energy called ‘qi.’
On the other hand, its psychological mechanisms underlying analgesic effects concerning acupuncture have started to come to light.
Hopefully, you have considered how the study of integrative pain therapy is evolving about various researches conducted. This approach has completely taken up other aspects because of the involvement of the whole body, i.e., mind, body, and spirit