If you're considering these treatments, you should consult a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioner. This title can be confusing—even though alternative medicine and complementary medicine follow the same methods, they are different in that alternative forms are used in place of conventional medicine, whereas complementary treatments are used with conventional medicine (such as medications and physical therapy).
Complementary and alternative medicine may help alleviate the pain associated with the spinal conditions listed below. Follow these links to read articles on specific alternative treatments used to treat each of these conditions. (Note: This list is not inclusive of every spinal condition treated with alternative medicine. There may be other spinal conditions that might also benefit from alternative medicine that are not listed below.)
If you are interested in pursuing alternative treatments, always discuss it with your primary doctor first. He or she may give you a recommendation to a reputable CAM practitioner. Your doctor can also help prevent any possible side effects caused by mixing alternative treatments with your current conventional treatments. For example, some herbal supplements can affect the effectiveness of certain medications. That's why it's so important to tell your doctor the full picture of your treatment plan.
While supplements, in particular, can interfere with your mainstream treatments, understand that not all alternative treatments pose that risk. Pilates, meditation, and acupuncture are examples of alternative treatments that should not disrupt anything your doctor has prescribed. If your doctor doesn't support alternative treatments, you shouldn't feel discouraged if you're still interested in learning more about these treatments. But again, you should let your doctor know about all back and neck pain treatments you are pursuing.