Non-pharmacological pain management is exactly what it sounds like: management of pain without medications. There are a plethora of methods for handling pain that do not include prescriptions. When someone is first diagnosed with a serious condition or life-threatening illness one of the most commonly asked questions is about treating the pain.
It’s very important to understand all of the available options for treating pain. Non-pharmacological methods for pain management include alternative therapies such as hypnosis, comfort therapy, pet therapy, physical therapy, massage, and acupuncture.
Hypnosis can be used to guide people who are in pain into an altered state of consciousness which helps to reduce discomfort or pain by taking the attention away from what’s hurting. Different methods of hypnosis include imagery, distraction, and guided relaxation.
Comfort therapies, also known as complementary therapies are non-invasive approaches which work along with conventional medical treatments. There is something for anyone seeking alternative medicine through comfort therapy; from exercise, meditation, music or art therapy, aromatherapy. The use of these comfort therapies is becoming increasingly popular in medical environments and has proven to be an effective tool for helping to manage pain and promote personal wellness.
Pet therapy is another type of great non-pharmacological pain management. The growing field of animal-assisted therapy uses pets such as dogs or cats to offer people comfort and distraction. The therapy offered through pets can decrease pain, depression, fatigue, and anxiety in people with a large range of health issues. Those who may benefit from pet therapy include people with dementia, anxiety, cardiovascular diseases, post-traumatic stress disorder, or patients receiving cancer treatments.
Physical therapy can be incredibly helpful, particularly with long-term or chronic pain. Physical therapists help patients locate the source of the pain, finding places with stiffness or weakness that may be adding stress to the affected areas. Physical therapy treatment is always based on the individual’s needs and approaches may vary. Therapists use methods such as massage, exercises, and electronic stimulation.
Acupuncture falls under neurostimulation. The acupuncturist will work to find problem areas in the body. Acupuncture has been found to help relieve people of pain, stress, and even gastrointestinal problems.
It is imperative to understand that non-pharmacological methods of managing pain may not work for everyone. If you are interested in complementary therapies make sure to thoroughly research doctors and institutions, ask a lot of questions, and find the specialist that is right for you.