• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: Integrative medicine and pain

October 16, 2017

The American Academy of Pain Medicine reports that in 2011, more than 100,000 American adults suffered from chronic pain. Some chronic pain sufferers turn to prescription opioid medication for relief. Dr Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, says alternative therapies such as acupuncture, meditation or yoga can be effective pain relievers for some people.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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Do alternative therapies help with pain management?

Dr. Bauer says, “Acupuncture can help with pain. Massage can help with pain. Teaching people mind-body strategies like yoga, tai chi, meditation – they have all been shown to help.”

The National Institutes of Health reports more than 25 million Americans suffer pain every day. Dr. Bauer says, because of the risk of opioid addiction, there’s a push to use nonpharmacologic options for chronic pain, when appropriate.

“You still have symptoms. Let’s look at acupuncture. Let’s look at massage. Let’s look at mind-body treatments that can help the body relax and help the muscles that are being impacted ─ not as a cure but as a complement to that overall care.”

Dr. Bauer says the integrative therapies used at Mayo Clinic are evidence-based and found to work. They are not magic bullets or cures, but they can be effective tools to help manage pain and bring balance to the mind and body.

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