Arthritis: Alternative Treatments

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 Back PainAlternative Treatments
Today many people look outside traditional medicine to find relief for chronic pain such as from arthritis. Some of these may be helpful. However, you should be wary of treatments that make claims that seem unrealistic, such as a complete cure or 100% guarantee pain relief. If it sound too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are a few common alternative treatments that many people have found to be helpful for spinal arthritis:

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

yin yang symbol

TCM is based on the belief that the body needs to be in balance in order to remain healthy. Pain and illness result when the body is out of balance and there is a disturbance in the body's energy. TCM treatments focus on returning the body's delicate balance. Some examples of TCM treatments include acupuncture (inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate healing), herbal medicine (the use of plants to heal the body and relive pain) and various types of massage.

Yoga is a type of exercise program that includes gentle stretching, controlled breathing, focused concentration and meditation. Yoga is not for everyone; talk to your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

Relaxation Therapy
Relaxation therapy teaches you to release the tension in your muscles and may help reduce arthritis pain. Your physical therapist may be able to teach you how to use relaxation techniques at home.

Lifestyle Modification
An important part of arthritis treatment is to change those habits in your life that may contribute to your pain. Some lifestyle changes you may need to consider include:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating well-balanced and nutritional meals every day
  • Establishing a regular (daily) exercise program
  • Reducing or removing stress in your life.

fresh fruit

There is no cure for arthritis, but as you can see from this article series, there are ways to control the pain and allow you to remain active and healthy. Don't let arthritis pain take charge of your life:  learn to control it and live each day to the fullest.

Updated on: 08/25/15
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Your Spine and Arthritis: 10 Ways to a Healthier Life
Harry N. Herkowitz, MD
Many "alternative" treatments have been advocated for low back pain. Although anecdotal reports attest to some success, the reality is that these "treatments" are hit and miss. The best approach is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Watch your weight, exercise and eat right.
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