Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You may be interested in trying complementary and alternative medicine if your pain isn't controlled with conventional treatments. Discuss the options with your doctor. Though you may be reluctant to bring up herbs, supplements or other complementary therapies when talking with your doctor, you may be surprised to find that many doctors are becoming more willing to discuss these treatments.

Discuss any complementary and alternative treatments you're considering with your doctor. Some treatments may interfere with your medications.

Many complementary and alternative treatments are touted as good options for controlling chronic pain. But most claims aren't supported with studies that show any benefit.

Acupuncture

During an acupuncture session, a practitioner places numerous thin needles in your skin at specific points on your body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, precisely placed acupuncture needles relieve pain and other symptoms by rebalancing the currents of life energy always coursing through your body. Some evidence exists to support the use of acupuncture in people with myofascial pain syndrome. However, studies have been small and limited.

When administered by a reputable practitioner using sterile needles, acupuncture can be safe. Ask your doctor for names of certified practitioners in your area. Acupuncture isn't safe if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners.

Jan. 05, 2012