Tell someone about an ache or pain and one of the first things they’ll ask is: “Are you taking anything for it?”
In many ways we’re lucky that medical science has produced more, stronger and faster acting medications to help cure whatever ails us, and as a society we’re more than happy to take advantage of the “quick fix” of prescription or over-the-counter medicine. But there’s a downside to all that pill popping. Hazards range from minor side effects to serious and even deadly consequences, most notably when certain kinds of drugs are used to manage chronic pain.
The tide is beginning to turn as more healthcare professionals advocate for medication reviews, deprescribing and the use of “alternative” or non-drug therapies for managing pain. Even when medical treatments or prescription drugs are vital for recovery, people can still benefit from alternative therapies with proven benefits, which can be used to complement and enhance treatments.
Here are five that have been tested by researchers. Click on the links for details about the studies.
- Get your groove on
- Get a move on
- Try acupuncture
- Change your mindset
- Breathe and relax
Relaxation techniques and activities like yoga – including stretching, breathing and meditation – promote health and wellness by calming the mind, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. What’s the evidence on pain relief? Research shows yoga helps ease pain and disability associated with low back pain.
Thinking outside the (pill) box
No one wants to be in pain and if there’s a pill that can make it disappear, most people will find it hard to resist. But drugs don’t always help everyone and if they do, short-term pain relief could come at the expense of potentially serious side effects and longer-term health problems. Non-drug strategies are worth trying as a safer first line of defense.
Original Article: McMaster University: McMaster Optimal Aging Portal: https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/