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Alternative medicine - pain relief

Definition

Alternative Names

Acupuncture - pain relief; Hypnosis - pain relief; Guided imagery

Information

Alternative medicine refers to treatments that are used instead of conventional (standard) ones. If you use an alternative treatment along with conventional medicine or therapy, it's considered complementary therapy.

There are many forms of alternative medicine.

For many people, acupuncture is an effective means of relieving pain. This may be particularly true for back pain and headache pain. Acupuncture may also help relieve pain due to:

How acupuncture relieves pain is not entirely clear.

Hypnosis is a focused state of concentration. Self-hypnosis (in which you repeat a positive statement over and over) or guided imagery (a technique to create relaxing images in your mind) may be simple but effective ways to reduce pain for many people.

Hypnosis is being considered for pain relief following surgery and during labor, as well as for pain due to:

Both acupuncture and hypnosis are often offered by pain management centers in the United States. Other non-drug methods used at such centers include:

References

Metz JM, Jones H. Complementary and alternative medicine. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKenna WG, eds. . 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 35.

Weinstein SM. Nonmalignant pain. In: Walsh D, Caraceni AT, Fainsinger R, et al, eds. . 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 170.

Michelfelder AJ. Acupuncture for headaches. In: Rakel D, ed. . 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 110.

Michelfelder AJ. Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting. In: Rakel D, ed. . 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 111.

Gurgevich S. Self-hypnosis techniques. In: Rakel D, ed. . 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 94.

Rossman ML. Guided imagery and interactive guided imagery. In: Rakel D, ed. . 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 97.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.