Alternative Treatments for Spinal Tumors

Peer Reviewed

Under the guidance of your doctor you may consider various alternative types of treatment to help relieve pain often associated with a spinal tumor. Alternative therapies are sometimes referred to as complementary or integrative.

You must be careful, though, to avoid fraud, quackery, and harmful effects from certain treatments purported by others to be safe and effective. Coordinating care with your doctor is essential to your health and medical treatment plan.  Ask your doctor about any alternative treatment you'd like to try first. Some supplements or herbal products may interfere with medications.

Alternative therapies you may want to discuss with your doctor include:

  • Acupuncture: Developed in China, acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine. It uses very fine needles—and no medication—to treat your pain. Practitioners believe that you have an energy force called your Chi (it can also be spelled Qi, but both forms are pronounced "chee"). When this force is blocked, you can develop physical illness. Therefore, you need to free up your body's Chi channels, which practitioners call your meridians. Acupuncture works to restore a healthy, energetic flow of Chi.

    Acupuncture needles are almost as thin as strands of hair. Based on your symptoms and exact diagnosis, a practitioner will insert the needles; you'll most likely have multiple needles inserted during one session. The practitioner will target precise points in your body's meridians, and the needles will be left in for 20-40 minutes. It's been suggested that acupuncture needles cause your body to release certain neurochemicals, such as endorphins or serotonin, and they help in the healing process.
  • Aromatherapy: Use of aromatherapy involves fragrant essential oils to alter mood and help reduce nausea and stress.

Aromatherapy oil being put in a bowl.Use of aromatherapy involves fragrant essential oils to alter mood and help reduce nausea and stress. Photo Source:

  • Art therapy provides a way for patients to express their emotions. More than a canvas and brush, art therapy may include dance, photography, and other types of artistic expression.
  • Biofeedback can help teach patients how to control certain involuntary responses such as muscle tension and pain.
  • Breathwork: This technique refers to conscious breathing that is focused. Deep and long breaths may be viewed as having cleansing benefits.
  • Humor therapy: Pretty much just what it sounds like, humor therapy involves smiling and laughter. They can help release stress, in addition to stimulating circulation and other body systems.
  • Meditation: Primarily derived from Buddhist teachings, the goal of meditation is to decrease anxiety and stress to help relieve pain.
  • Music therapy may promote a sense of calm, and it can serve as a distraction from pain and symptoms.
  • Prayer and spirituality: An awareness of a higher power or something greater than self can be important to handling any mental or physical disorder.
  • Tai Chi is an Eastern practice. Tai Chi involves mind and body movements, including meditation and breathing. Besides relieving stress, tai chi can help improve balance and build muscle.
Updated on: 07/25/19
Continue Reading
Spinal Bracing: A Treatment Option for Spinal Tumors
George I. Jallo, MD
Medical Director
Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery
Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital
Continue Reading:

Spinal Bracing: A Treatment Option for Spinal Tumors

A brace will not treat a spinal tumor; it's not able to make it shrink. However, your doctor may suggest a brace to help you deal with pain caused by the tumor.
Read More