Chronic pain can be debilitating, not to mention it can affect your daily life. This is especially true for pain resulting from a chronic condition like arthritis, sports injury, car accident, or severe menstrual cramps.

Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication is the go-to traditional solution for most people. The truth of the matter, however, is that most pain killers have adverse side effects and can be quite addictive. The consequences may even be worse than the pain itself.

That’s where alternative pain management solutions come in handy. Here are 5 safe, drug-free (alternative) treatment options guaranteed to alleviate pain.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture helps relieve pain by encouraging the release of neurochemicals called endorphins. Produced by the nervous system and the brain, endorphins are “feel-good” hormones that help block pain.

Acupuncture may be an incredible treatment for a myriad of pain-causing conditions such as menstrual cramps, lower back pain, migraines, arthritis, and tennis elbow.

2. Light Therapy

NASA invented light therapy accidentally while trying to devise a non-heating way to grow plants in space. It was soon discovered that light therapy can not only speed up healing but can also do wonders for pain relief.

There are four main types of light therapy leveraged in alternative pain management:

Phototherapy: Better known as Infrared Light Therapy, phototherapy works best in treating pain associated with joints, bones, and deep muscle tissue.

Red Light Therapy: Also called Photonic Therapy, this alternative treatment uses red light frequency to produce pain relief. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can help treat pain related to sports injuries.

Low Light Laser Therapy: Also referred to as cold lasers, this light therapy works on the infrared light frequency. Because the light is concentrated, it’s best for muscle aches and spasms.

Dual Optical Energy: This couples the power of infrared light and red light spectrums to target pain indicators. It, therefore, treats both surface and deep tissue pain.

3. Bioelectric Therapy

Bioelectric therapy uses bioelectric currents to cut communication between pain receptors and your brain. This essentially blocks pain sensation. Like acupuncture, it also stimulates the release of endorphins, which also blocks pain.

4. Mind-Body Therapies

This therapy takes advantage of your mind’s ability to influence body symptoms like pain. Mind-body therapies include mindful meditation, visualization therapy, hypnosis, yoga, and biofeedback. They all include a state of relaxation and manage stress-related pain.

5. Massage and Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic treatment is a safe, drug-free and nonsurgical relief method, especially for neck and back pain. Massage relieves tension which increases blood flow, improves circulation, and reduces stress — all of which play a role in managing pain.

Other alternative pain management options include herbal remedies, exercise, physical therapy, psychological therapy, and osteopathic therapy.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Best Alternative Methods for Managing Pain," in Medicalopedia, November 26, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8023/best-alternative-methods-for-managing-pain/].