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Complementary Care for Pain

You may find pain relief with complementary care. Look for a licensed or certified provider. And tell your healthcare provider that you are using complementary care. There are many different aspects to complementary care. Some you can do on your own. Some are done to you. These may help and be a part of your self-management plan.

Chiropractor working on neck, shoulder area of man lying on table.

Active approaches include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for pain. Self-management programs are usually provided by psychologists. These programs teach relaxation skills, and other behavioral coping strategies. 

  • Physical therapy. A physical activity program should be gentle, moderate, and right for you.

Types of physical therapy that may help pain include:

  • Cold treatment. Ice packs, baths, and massage

  • Heat treatment. Hot water baths, heating pads, high-frequency sound waves to produce gentle heat deep in your tissues

  • Gentle stretching

  • Muscle strengthening

  • Body mechanics. How you move your body

  • Vibration therapy. A probe is applied to a part of your body with moderate pressure and vibrated several thousand times per second.

  • Yoga. Yoga involves breath control, meditation, and a series of physical poses. Yoga can help strengthen muscles, improve functioning, reduce stress, and improve mood. 

  • Relaxation treatments. Treatment comes in many forms (imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, or deep breathing). These exercises reduce the stress and muscle tension that are common with pain. 

  • Biofeedback. The treatment can help you learn how to control body functions such as muscle tension and other bodily responses to stress. Electrical sensors provide information about physical signals such as increases in heart rate, muscle tension, or skin temperature. 

  • Aqua therapy. This is a water-based type of physical therapy. Exercises are done in a pool usually with the help of a specially trained physical therapist.

  • Meditation. This teaches awareness techniques to relax the body and quiet the mind. It has been found to help reduce pain, improve mood, and decrease stress.

Passive approaches include:

  • Chiropractic care. Hands-on manipulation of the body helps to properly align the spine and restore mobility to the joints. 

  • Acupuncture. In this treatment, small needles are inserted into the skin at various points in the body. 

  • Massage. Applying pressure to specific points on the body can help reduce stress and muscle tension which can reduce pain.

VA YouTube Yoga Videos for Veterans

Join a yoga class for Veterans right from your living room. Led by a physical therapist, this 60 minute class is broken up into 5 smaller videos. Learn how to do yoga poses, step-by-step. It’s done slowly so anyone can follow along. The poses are also taught in a seated position if it’s hard for you to get down on the floor.

These videos are located on the VA’s very own YouTube channel. Take your first yoga class today.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 7/1/2018
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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