Anyone who has lived with chronic pain knows how physically, mentally and emotionally debilitating it can be. We can become unable to understand how one part of our body could “do this to us.” We can feel frustrated, angry, and ultimately hopeless. Yoga includes a range of practices that can help. Rather than seeing the body as a number of different parts, with some that are comfortable and strong while others are weak and painful, yoga considers the body to be an organic, connected entity whose parts are constantly in moving relationship to each other. Yoga teaches awareness of proper body alignment and posture, an important aspect of a well-functioning body. At the same time, the mindfulness training of yoga provides tools for engaging with our pain in a way in which we can listen to it, come to understand it, and abide it while healing is in process. Stress reduction, a well-known benefit of yoga, can further facilitate the release of negative and damaging emotions to help you move towards healing.
For the treatment of pain, Americans rate massage as highly as medications, a new survey shows. Conducted by an independent research firm, the annual survey is the ninth commissioned by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). It shows that one in five U.S. adults got a therapeutic massage in the last year. Three-fourths of them would recommend it to others — one reason for the body therapy’s growing popularity. Among those who actually had a massage in the past year, 28% say massage therapy gives them “the greatest relief from pain.” Another 28% say medication gives them the greatest relief. Chiropractic comes in third at 11%, followed by 8% who got the most pain relief from physical therapy, 3% who said acupuncture was best for their pain, and 1% whose pain best responded to biofeedback.
Acupuncture, among the oldest healing practices in the world, is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. In traditional Chinese medicine theory, this regulates the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.
According to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, 1.4 percent of respondents (an estimated 3.1 million Americans) said they had used acupuncture in the past year. A special analysis of acupuncture data from an earlier NHIS found that pain or musculoskeletal complaints accounted for 7 of the top 10 conditions for which people use acupuncture. Back pain was the most common, followed by joint pain, neck pain, severe headache/migraine, and recurring pain.
Chiropractic is a health care profession dedicated to the non-surgical treatment of disorders of the nervous system and/or musculoskeletal system. Generally, chiropractors maintain a unique focus on spinal manipulation and treatment of surrounding structures. Many studies have concluded that manual therapies commonly used by chiropractors are generally effective for the treatment of lower back pain1-2, as well as for treatment of lumbar herniated disc for radiculopathy3-4 and neck pain, among other conditions.5
The word Qigong (Chi Kung) is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe. The second word, Gong, pronounced gung, means accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together, Qigong (Chi Kung) means cultivating energy, it is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality.