Popular drug-free methods of managing pain from such common conditions as headaches and arthritis appear to be effective, according to a new review.
Millions of Americans seek pain relief through such alternatives as acupuncture, tai chi and yoga. But there has been little information to help doctors make recommendations about these approaches.
“For many Americans who suffer from chronic pain, medications may not completely relieve pain and can produce unwanted side effects. As a result, many people may turn to nondrug approaches to help manage their pain,” study lead author Richard Nahin said in a U.S. government news release.
“Our goal for this study was to provide relevant, high-quality information for primary care providers and for patients who suffer from chronic pain,” Nahin added. He is lead epidemiologist at the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
Researchers reviewed 105U.S.-based clinical trials from the past 50 years.
Several alternative approaches showed promise for providing safe and effective pain relief. They included acupuncture and yoga for back pain; acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee; and relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine. Results of massage therapy for short-term relief of neck pain were also promising.
Evidence was weaker in some cases. The study found massage therapy, spinal manipulation and osteopathic manipulation might help relieve back pain while relaxation therapy and tai chi might help people with fibromyalgia.
The study was published Sept. 1 in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
I wonder what was the real purpose of this study? First, they only looked at studies in the U.S. Virtually every other developed county in the world has published more studies on alternative care than the U.S. This is evidenced by the fact that they only found 102 studies spanning 50 years, approximately two studies each year. There are more than two studies on alternative care published in PubMed every day. PubMed is the authority on peer reviewed medical studies.
Second, of what value are studies from 40 or 50 years ago. The scientific standards applied back then were poor at best. Just look at the recent revelation that the sugar industry paid Harvard University scientists to slant studies about heart disease against fat during those years.
Third, the stated goal was “to provide relevant, high-quality information for primary care providers and for patients who suffer from chronic pain.” Most primary care providers have ignored the studies on aspirin use as a primary preventative for CVD. Thirty-two million prescriptions per year are still written for Cipro despite repeated studies showing serious health risks from the use of this antibiotic. Are primary care physicians really going to look at this study?
The Bottom Line:
Alternative health care provides a multitude of viable options for chronic pain. Unfortunately, the drug-based model used in the U.S. had created millions of heroin addicts in the name of pain relief. Yes, call it OxyContin or any other drug name, these pain killers are just heroin and they are not pain killers, they are killers.
Source: September 1, 2016 National Institutes of Health