Also known as: Acupuncture - pain relief, Hypnosis - pain relief or Guided imagery - pain relief
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Childbirth (labor)
- Musculoskeletal injuries (such as the neck, shoulder, knee, or elbow)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- After surgery or labor
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Migraine headache
- Tension headache
- Relaxation training
- Physical therapy
Alternative medicine refers to treatments that are used instead of conventional (standard) ones. If you use an alternative treatment along with conventional medicine or therapy, it is considered complementary therapy.
There are many forms of alternative medicine.
Acupuncture involves stimulating certain acupoints on the body using fine needles or other methods. How acupuncture works is not entirely clear. It is thought that acupoints lie near nerve fibers. When acupoints are stimulated, the nerve fibers signal the spinal cord and brain to release chemicals that relieve pain.
Acupuncture is an effective means of relieving pain, such as for back pain and headache pain. Acupuncture may also help relieve pain due to:
Hypnosis is a focused state of concentration. With self-hypnosis, you repeat a positive statement over and over.
Hypnosis may help relieve pain for:
Both acupuncture and hypnosis are often offered by pain management centers in the United States. Other non-drug methods used at such centers include:
Ernst E. A critical appraisal of complementary and alternative medicine. In: McMahon SB, Koltzenburg M, Tracey I, Turk DC, eds. Wall and Melzack's Textbook of Pain. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 43.
Perlman A. Complementary and alternative medicine. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 39.
White JD. Complementary and alternative medicine. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:chap 33.
- Review date:
- May 01, 2016
- Reviewed by:
- Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2008 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.