(Natural News) Integrative medicine approaches, such as acupuncture and yoga, have great potential in treating pain. A review published in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia reported that acupuncture, yoga, and other integrative medicine approaches have shown at least preliminary evidence of effectiveness in pain management.
For the review, a team of researchers led by Yuan-Chi Lin, M.D., MPH, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, evaluated existing evidence on integrative medicine therapies for pain management. The review included 32 studies that examined seven various types of integrative medicine therapies for pain.
Among all of the integrative medicine therapies evaluated, acupuncture showed the strongest evidence for effectiveness in alleviating pain. Acupuncture is a traditional therapy that involves thin needles being inserted into the skin. It has been used in Asia for centuries to treat various health conditions and manage pain. Today, it is being used in the U.S. and other Western countries to low back pain, nerve pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, menstrual cramps, and more.
In the review, acupuncture was revealed to have a "strong positive evidence" on effectively treating chronic pain. A number of studies have also shown that acupuncture reduced the need of opioids to control pain after surgery. It also reduced opioid-related side effects.
Yoga, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, tai chi, massage therapy, and spinal manipulation showed "positive preliminary evidence" of effectiveness in pain treatment. Several studies also addressed the effects of the use of prescription drugs, including opioids. Studies on the effectiveness of the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin for relieving knee pain showed mixed results.