“Much of health care involves helping people find solutions for tough problems like pain,” Briggs said in a release distributed by research-reporting news service Newswise. “I think all physicians are well aware of how difficult it is to manage chronic pain patients. For example, with back pain we see that large numbers of patients are turning to these approaches with the hope of decreasing discomfort, improving function and quality of life, and minimizing side effects of pharmacologic treatments.”
Patients can turn to health practices like meditation, massage, yoga and acupuncture rather than pills to help manage their chronic pain, says Dr. Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.
A nationwide survey released in 2008 found about 38 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 and over and about 12 percent of children use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. Back pain is the most condition for which treatment is sought. These types of therapies are even being used in military health care. New military guidelines released by the Office of the Army Surgeon General include some alternative modalities for treating pain. (Read more)