Which alternative rehab and pain management supplies work?

Alternative rehab and pain management supplies and approaches like acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, and massage seem to help manage common pain conditions effectively, according to data from a review conducted by scientists at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published online in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. “One major goal for this study was to be as relevant as possible to primary care providers in the United States, who frequently see and care for patients with painful conditions. Providers need more high quality information on the evidence base for pain management tools,” NIH epidemiologist Dr. Richard Nahin said. “Overall, the data suggest that some complementary approaches may help some patients manage, though not cure, painful health conditions.”

The reviewers found that the above-mentioned rehab and pain management supplies showed promise “in the following for safety and effectiveness in treating pain.” More specifically, acupuncture and yoga for back pain, acupuncture and tai chi for knee osteoarthritis, massage therapy for neck pain for short-term benefit, relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine. Conversely, the evidence that massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and osteopathic manipulation may help relieve back pain, and that relaxation approaches and tai chi might help people with fibromyalgia was comparatively weaker.

“These data can equip providers and patients with the information they need to have informed conversations regarding treatment of specific pain conditions,” deputy director of NCCIH Dr. David Shurtleff said. “It’s important that continued research explore how these approaches actually work and whether these findings apply broadly in diverse clinical settings and patient populations.” The around 100 million adults in the United States experience chronic pain spend approximately $30 billion a year on alternative, complimentary health treatments, although few studies have been conducted on their effectiveness. As a matter of fact, the NIH researchers had to go back 50 years just to find enough clinical studies to review – many of the studies involved fewer than 100 participants, considerably limiting the conclusions reached by the authors.

In addition to that, most of the trials consisted of white, female, and older adults. Hence, the results may not apply to other segments of the population. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that some of the most popular rehab and pain management supplies – such as those widely available at Discount Medical Supplies – may be effective tools in the management of common pain syndrome.

Related: Avoid common Yoga related injuries with these 5 tips