NIH Study Gives Primary Care Docs Needed Evidence to Complement Chronic Pain Treatments

NIH Study Gives Primary Care Docs Needed Evidence to Complement Chronic Pain Treatments

By Staff

Popular complementary health approaches like yoga, tai chi and acupuncture are effective tools for helping manage chronic pain, say a group of scientists from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health who published their findings in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The new findings give primary care providers evidence-based data to guide recommendations on complimentary approaches to help manage pain.

“For many Americans who suffer from chronic pain, medications may not completely relieve pain and can produce unwanted side effects. As a result, many people may turn to nondrug approaches to help manage their pain,” said Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., NCCIH’s lead epidemiologist and lead author of the analysis. “Our goal for this study was to provide relevant, high-quality information for primary care providers and for patients who suffer from chronic pain.”

The scientists culled over randomized clinical trial data from the past 50 years that were relevant to pain patients and met inclusion criteria.  The review included seven approaches used for one or more painful conditions, including, back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine.  A total of 105 trials were included in the review.

The researchers found promise in the following for safety and effectiveness in treating pain:

  • Acupuncture and yoga for back pain
  • Acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Massage therapy for neck pain with adequate doses and for short-term benefit
  • Relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine.

“These data can equip providers and patients with the information they need to have informed conversations regarding non-drug approaches for treatment of specific pain conditions,” said David Shurtleff, Ph.D., deputy director of NCCIH. “It’s important that continued research explore how these approaches actually work and whether these findings apply broadly in diverse clinical settings and patient populations.”

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Authored by: Staff

There are 35 comments for this article
  1. Carol Jean Vogelman at 2:18 pm

    As is usual when drug companies get involved all real priorities are tossed to the wind!

    Because pain patients need relief we use drugs that have been demonized to the public; what has happened is the war on drug addiction is being conducted against pain patients and their doctors threatened for helping them! This alone is criminal behavior and we need to go after those who have demonized the really wonderful relief we get because of people who choose deliberately to steal and lie & abuse medicines that we treat with great respect!

    I am extremely angry that a whole industry exists solely to keep pain patients from urgently needed relief by claiming all pain medications are somehow evil because there are fat heads who lie & cheat to abuse what for us is the only relief we have!

    I just had a pharmacist call me out of the blue & lecture me about my pain pills & demanding I see a pain clinc or he would not fill my prescriptions and gave me a month to do it! I have several urgent appointments before I can tackle that at all and a 20 year medical record for a doctor to absorb; cannot be done in a month so I have to write to the owner about this I dislike abusive people they make my pain worse; his attack on me did make it worse; my arms & legs went into full pain mode on the day he called; I have a huge file & this man had no right to behave as he did! He also called my doc, who did not agree that my need for a pain clinic was that urgent; as I never know how insulting any new doctor might me, I am always extremely reluctant to see yet another arrogant fool and waste an hour trying to describe an extremely complicated physical plant I suffer quite enough already!

  2. Cheri Furr at 1:10 pm

    If they want us to try these alternative therapies, then they need to first make sure they’re covered by Medicare and other insurance plans. Do they have any idea how LOW SSA disability payments are??? I can’t just run for a $150-80 massage every time I want to. Even if I COULD, I can’t drive myself. And I am extremely fortunate that I have a husband who is retired and gets a pension! Also, unlike a lot of chronic patients, our daughter is grown and out of the house! And I went to two rehabilitation specialists YEARS ago told me not to do any exercise from the abdomen down because it might make my RSD/CRPS get worse or make it spread. Medicare doesn’t even pay for most mental health services!!! Even for things they do pay for, do they have any idea how FEW mental health professionals accept Medicare??? I live in a large metropolitan area near Duke and UNC hospitals, and I was only able to find THREE psychologists or MSWs in Social Work who do counseling. Of these, one is accepting no new patients, and another is on extended maternity leave. Psychiatrists these days do NO counseling other than to ask if you’ve had any suicidal thoughts. Other than that, they only prescribe medicine. What happened to psychiatrists who used to also provide actual therapy???These idiots have no idea how depressing a 16-year journey with severe chronic pain have been. I am lucky I have a mental health plan through my secondary disability health plan from a large pharmaceutical company I worked for before Leaving on disability. But their mental health provider is so slow to pay that my psychiatrist stopped accepting my plan YEARS ago!!! These people need to wake up and stop putting the cart before the horse.

  3. Pingback: Please can we give up on complementary, alternative and 'integrative therapies' now? - News blog
  4. Tab at 6:17 pm

    I am a pain patient- I wonder to myself as I have read the comments in this forum if the folks that publish articles like this is living in the same country as us. Does anybody like Melvin Patterson at the DEA read the hundreds of thousands comments – does anyone at that department realize the strife and impact they have on a group of people that are the least able to defend themselves? Subjectively and figuratively speaking. However several things are certainly clear- they may have won the race but not the battle. The lesson was not learnt from the Prohibition era. It did not work then- it will NEVER-work.Working together as a pain community – we will not go quietly. By the way one last thought I also wonder if author suffers the ills-physically,mentally and financially the folks responding to this last can of Spam

  5. kathy a overcast at 9:00 am

    I suffer from sever Fibromyalgia, Lupus, CFS spinal stenosis, spinal arthritis, and other issues. I have been on many many heavy duty medications over the years. I live on disability so have a very small income. I would love to be able to get alternative medical treatments like acupuncture, CBD,ect, instead of all these opiate pain meds. Now with the new rulings they are trying to take away our opiate pain meds, but not give us options to any other alternatives for those of us who live in sever chronic pain. a few months ago I found and herb that has saved my life, it is called kratom. But because there are smoke shops and head shops that took up lacing kratom with synthetic substances like bath salts and stuff so people could get high on it. This made it hard on us who use kratom that is 100% kratom. I use pure kratom from a reputable vendor, it does not get me high, as a matter of fact that is why I like it, my head stays clear, but yet my pain is relieved unlike opiates. Kratom took my opiate usage down from 180 pills a month to maybe 30 pills a month, it also got me off of gabapentin, lyrica, muscle relaxers, sleep meds. completely. This stuff has saved my life, but now because big pharma is pissed many people are using kratom for pain instead of their meds, the DEA is adding kratom to the schedule 1 drug list on the 30th of september,(this is complete BS) kratom can not cause respiratory depression, you can not OD on it, it is completely safe and only as addictive as coffee. Without kratom I will have to go back on all the mind altering drugs, that don’t even help as much as kratom does. The DEA is saying kratom acts like heroin, which is the most absurd thing i have ever heard! It is complete BS, and they have put the media out there, telling complete lie’s about what kratom does and how addictive it is, and how there are 15 deaths related to kratom, these are all lie’s. there is not 1 death associated with kratom, it has many therapeutic uses including getting people off of heroin and other drugs, but big pharma wants it gone. I’m afraid I will die, going back to all the prescription meds i was on before kratom. I have also in the past had acupuncture a few times and it helps tremendously but I can’t afford it. So now the new scheduling of opiates, our dr,’s are trying to reduce our pain meds but not offer us anything or any treatment to help us with our pain, and then are taking away natural substances like kratom, that can help us. They are just leaving us with no other possibility but to want to end it all! I can not live like I was living before, I have to be able to be functional or life is just not worth living

  6. Becca at 8:08 am

    I am fortunate in that I am still able to work full time and have employer insurance. My specialist co-pay is ridiculous now with the ACA – $90 per visit, and that’s how my chiropractor and his massage therapist are billed. As I go every two weeks, and it’s a needed treatment for me to stay active to provide for my family, I’ve been looking into other options. I have VA healthcare in addition to my employer-provided insurance. Dealing with the VA is a full-time job in and of itself, so much of the time I try to reserve it for major tests and labs and stuff – my VA care team are aware that I am about 50% out of the VA network for my care, but I always provide all records to them.

    As I said, I am fortunate. Very much so. I’ve been a mental health case manager and knew from the start how to set up my health care journey so that there would be no question as to the paper trail. I work as a disability professional (how ironic) so my employer understands when I need to have ADA accommodations and miss work for physical therapy, chiropractic, and all my various out of town appointments. I have Ehlers-Danlos, fibromyalgia, Chiari, cervical-cranial instability, migraines, scoliosis, MCAS, osteoarthritis, DDD throughout my spine with some disc desiccation in my lumbar spine, DJD elsewhere, sporadic trigeminal neuralgia, cardiac and GI issues, and plenty more that I don’t feel up to listing right now. 47 and counting though. None of it pleasant. Most of it quite painful to one degree or another.

    I’ve done yoga. I liked it, one style in particular, but was warned away from it by my geneticist. At one point I was permitted once a week if I focused on toning rather than flexibility, but it was too hard for me to do that. I resumed my tai chi from my college days, and now I practice a tai chi form designed for people with arthritis, and have an office tai chi disc I can play on my computer from the same gentleman (a physician with arthritis himself who is a Tai Chi Master). Chiropractic and his medical massage therapist help immensely – he’s worked out a deal where I get both the hour massage and his chiropractic adjustment under the single co-pay to save me money (he calls it a “frequent flier discount”) but with the $20 hike per session in co-pays now, I’m really wondering how long I can sustain that. It’s what’s keeps me going though, that and my supplements.

    I have a flex spending account that will allow me to use it for my supplements provided I have a physician’s letter describing each and what it’s being used for. My functional medicine doctor provides that, but I have to have him do a new letter every single year. My family helps me pay for his biannual office visits. By far, the most helpful pain management strategy has been self-hypnosis for pain management. I started learning and practicing that in 2004 as I was being evaluated and ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia. As a result of my practice with that, I have been able to drastically reduce my dependence on pain medications, though I still need them too often for my liking.

    Clinical hypnosis has some good validity and reliability studies behind it over the years. Once you learn it, you don’t need to go spend any more money, and you can do it at home. My therapist is a licensed clinical hypnotherapist as well, and he will help me “tweak” my self-hypnosis as needed. There’s a good book out though, with a CD, which I utilize just as much, if not more, than my therapist.

    Thing is, if prices keep going up, I won’t be able to maintain the very things that keep me functioning, just like so many here. Just like most of my clients that I see daily. I’m already hedging my bets by looking into alternative ways to bring in some income, as if I can’t afford to manage my pain, I”ll have to reduce my hours or stop working out of the home altogether (part time reduction has been my doctors’ preferences for a while now but I’m doing okay without going there – so far). I know the terror I feel at times, I know what it’s like to run out of meds due to bureaucracy, I know what it’s like to have to face a new doctor and not know if you will be taken seriously or not, of having to try and retell your life story in 15 seconds or less and being fearful that you left something out (“oh wait, I forgot to tell you about that life-threatening allergy because you were already writing a prescription without saying a word to me”).

    These experiences help me relate better to my clients. They also permit me to really get a sense of what it’s like for those who are solely relying upon Medicare or Medicaid or disability (either SSI or SSDI). I had a long stretch with no insurance and was not yet enrolled in the VA healthcare system. I was terrified of getting sick and did everything I could do to prevent it and manage things on my own.

    We’re medical survivalists, we chronic pain patients. Even if you CAN afford it, you can’t afford it for the duration necessary. So do you go and get relief, then rue the day when it runs out and the relief ceases? Or do you not go at all because you don’t want to see the light or even know it’s there, for fear of dropping back into that dark hole even further once the light is gone (until the next plan year starts)? It’s ridiculous. And of course, sliding fee scales aren’t designed for folks like me either. I make too much right now on paper, though if you look at the outgoing compared to the incoming and the sheer percentage of my income that goes to medical needs, I would definitely qualify.

    I do appreciate the article though. Many physicians are hesitant to recommend alternative treatments because of a lack of empirical evidence to support it. I’ve heard doctors tell me that on multiple occasions. With this review of previously published studies, at least now doctors in that boat have some justification for recommending alternative and complementary therapies to their patients. Some of us are highly reactive to most medications, so there has to be viable alternatives. This shows there is some evidence behind efficacy, and the doctors I know are more likely to recommend such treatments if they are more comfortable with the idea that they won’t be called before the board because they were “prescribing quack treatments.”

    So I’m glad to see this article. Now, can we do something about the costs and coverage please??

  7. N Ciancio at 7:11 pm

    I have RA disabling RA. My rheumatologist labels me a “very complicated ” case. I’ve tried it all . Physical therapy actually cause horrible flares , as does acupuncture. I am now having to apply for disability . I am only 48 years old . These articles are nothing more than a bandaid on a broken bone

  8. Sandy Miller at 11:12 pm

    I had a right thalamic hemorrhage, which as a result of that stroke, left me with a pan condition called Thalamic Pain Syndrome. It is constant.pain down the left side of my face down to my feet. I went to see several different pain management facilities where i was given injections that did nothing for my pain
    I tried a truckload of medications and it took me 6 years just to get me out of bed and although there is no cure for this condition, it helped. I had back problems before my hemorrhage for which I was given every kind of treatment for, physcal therapy, different kinds of steroids and injections and while being treated for my stroke also… I had so many MRI’s and tests done for my back for years, but nothing helped. I had injections done for so long and finally went to university hospital and they discovered I had been fighting “Scoliosis” for months, and it was progressing so fast, I had just been down more. At least happy they did find this problem, I didn’t want back surgery changing my mind seversl times, but between the two horrific pain conditons I was fighting, I gave in and my x-rays showed my spine was a complete “C” shaped. I had a Fusion, with all kinds of other surgeries, cutting my back from T-3 to my L5-S1 down to pelvic. Also, while going thru tests b4 surgery, they found I had a 90%blockage in my right coronary artery so the spinal surgery hsd tobe rescheduled. Sorry for the length of this post, but this Thalamic Pain is terrible, horrific 24hours, 7days a week that never oes away, and athough my back pain is better, I can stand Straight, my back is stil full of pain,just a different kind of pain. I am so upset they are taking meds we need to exist away . I can’t have anyone barely touch or hug me because of this burning, hunting pain, I can’t stand even wearing clothes. I wish all this people making these rules had to live one day in our bodies. They should know the Junkies will find ways of getting their fixes, while people like us will suffer even more. I hurt so bad I cannot sleep for my pain. I am just confused how and why they want to do this to us who do not take advantage of my medication. I only take when I can’t stand the pain. My medcation last longer than it has to because I’m so careful. My neurologist said doctors know their real patients who need care even though some doctors who are just writing pain meds for anyone are the ones hurting us also. What will we do? It just isn’t right. Thanks for listening to me. I can’t type my arms hurt, but I use a stylus for my phonebecause my hands shake so bad, so I apologize for all the errors. Good luck to us all. I just wish there was something we could do!

  9. Debby at 5:27 pm

    I feel the same!!! I have tried every drug and my pain is still at a 10. I tried acupuncture $100 first visit and $80 after. I am disabled so ssdi.

  10. Manwpelvicpain Ouch at 10:21 am

    I agree with what everyone else has said here. It isn’t an available option for most chronic pain patients, due to the lack of available financial support. I told my doctor one time that I would love to pursue an alternative treatment if he would be willing to pay for it for the length of the treatment and convince my job not to fire me for missing too many days. Trust me. I’ve seen people at my job get let go because of it at the end of the year. FMLA only protects you so much. These are not options if both of these criteria can’t be met. This article just pi**ed me off and made me hate the horrible health care in this country even more!

  11. Kathy at 10:09 am

    Even if, insurance covered the alternative treatments….co-pays, would still make it impossible for most to participate! I am sure, many, like myself, use the internet to look at what they can participate in and do, at home using the videos or articles via internet.

    Also, like many, appalled monies were even spent to “research and study” a common sense approach! Honestly, all of these should be covered 100% for every individual as a preventative care approach and a treatment for those who are injured, have a chronic disease, or in rehab. I completely agree with the poster’s comment regarding coverage of Vitamins, especially, with the blood work results, clearly indicating a deficiency!

    I wonder how many, would still be working and have many, now, like myself, would have a better quality of life, if we had access and complete coverage of the alternative treatments, which should be available and accessed all the time, rather when, someone is in the throws of a flare up or migraine.

    I long for a time, when common sense, drives the health care industry, rather than greed and genocide!

  12. Dave at 7:59 am

    I laughed when I read the part about high quality evidence. For terms like these are not meant to inform-on the contrary they’re meant to control problems- people in pain rather then work with people in pain to provide viable solutions to what people in pain want for their pain. The accent is always on controlling people in pain- regardless of their preferences, experiences, values, limits to paying for care or having care close by. And so this type of recommendations are part of the Kafkaesque pain care system we have today that represents market and regulatory failure as it creates more and more costs to people in pain and is less and less based on what is wanted and what is practically achievable for any individual.
    I love epidemiologists- as they always give me a good laugh- they are so opposed to individual concerns to the point they no longer can imagine individuals and individual needs actually exist and are real. They are lost in a world where only herds exist. And they remind me of a saying- in like cattle -out like sheep. And just as they are dead to the concerns of individuals- individuals in pain should oppose their methods and their nihilating stance toward individual needs.
    The science of pain care is a burden to individuals in pain for it is not meant to respect or care for individuals. It isn’t about caring or helping- it is about command and control-a cold hearted(and cold headed) approach to suffering. It is as dated as it is ineffective. It has become a diseased doctrine of statistics and probabilities that can not be related to any individual. Its time to do away with such primitive nonsense and embrace a more humane approach to people who suffer with pain

  13. Karin at 7:48 am

    I was inviting the paper pushers to come spend a day in OUR shoes – those of us who live in pain.

  14. Martha at 4:33 am

    I was/am going to say when you suffer from chronic pain by that time you can’t work anymore and are on SSDI and therefore your health insurance is Medicare. My first thought reading the article was , who can afford these alternative therapies? And if by a very slim to no chance they do it certainly isn’t enough treatments to be helpful! Just enough to show you what else you can’t do/achieve in your life to make any difference… Just enough to make you feel more worthless than you already do. So I decided to make my token comment which I very rarely do and it seems as I started to read other comments my thoughts are in very good company and very well said above. Do the people who write these articles have any real clue of what our lives are like or have been dimished to? I was a VP of a financial services firm, a former women’s college basketball player and long distance runner and a drunk driver hit my car and then I spent the next four years at an outpatient rehabilitation hospital. I was fortunate that my health insurance through work covered that. I wanted to try acupuncture. To be any help at all it I needed to go a minimum of two times per week at a very minimum of eight weeks. That would of been more than half my monthly SSDI check. No the people that write an article like this have no clue. It was probably written with well intentions but how do well intentions really help us? It just aggravates the you know what out of me. Oh and today must just be a bad day….

  15. Krissy at 10:23 pm

    HJ, you describe a very serious and unfortunately typical situation. Many of us live like this, where we cannot afford to take care of ourselves, thus we get sicker and need even more help.

    I think what you are saying brings up even more subjects, like getting help at home to stay independent. I completely understand what you’ve said. I am in the same boat with having to choose medicines and knowing alternate therapies would help me.

    In addition, if I had an electric wheelchair, my life would change in a second. But being alone, I need the light weight with removable batteries so I can tip it right into the back of my car. It’s $2500.

    It’s not easy to do things that can save what strength and mobility we have left without the help of treatment, devices and more.

  16. Krissy at 10:08 pm

    I wonder if the independent businesses and facilities of massage, tai chi, etc. are listening to what is going on with the insurance companies and the government.

    I wonder if they are interested in getting involved in fighting for insurance rebates. My thought is that if they’re doing well, they probably don’t want to bother with the paperwork and rules, and all the time they would have to spend on getting set up. I’m sure that reimbursement would be a mystery like it is for pharmacies and because the whole insurance thing is turned upside down right now, no one would want to even try. Does anyone have any connections or comments you’ve heard about this side of the apple cart?

  17. Debra Wallace at 8:29 pm

    I should have included in my other post that I had Kaiser insurance at the time for alternative therapies. Now that I have Medicare I can not afford any therapy, even if it was covered I could not afford the Co pay. I had to medically retire so I am on SSDI.

  18. connie at 8:12 pm

    Those are all fine and dandy and may work for some people. The cost in money is high and in time even more costly! Ican no longer drive safely and live an hour out of town which would put a very heavy burden on my husband. His time is already very full to the point that he’s got NO free time and only gets a maximum of 5-6 hours of sleep. As for me I have already tried many non- invasive treatments with no success . I don’t think it’s right to require someone who is already in terrible pain to undergo painful procedures that are all to often useless and often cause more permanent pain! I will never be without pain even with opioid medication but I can ,with proper dosages have some quality of life. The amounts that are reccomended by the CDC are a joke! It would be great if science were to find a an alternative medication that actually works and doesn’t have horrific side effects but I am not going to hold my breath. Until that miraculous day all too many of us NEED the opiates that work!

  19. Debra Wallace at 8:02 pm

    I have tried all the therapies mentioned in the article. I have fibromyalgia,arthritis and migraines. I liked tai chi the best for overall help. Massage helps for headaches if you can stand the touch. Did not find acupuncture or cupping very helpful. Used yogalatie for a while and that helps. Now I am walking outside every day.

  20. Carrie at 7:51 pm

    If it is a VALUABLE TREATMENT, then it should be covered by insurance. Period. Yes, massage therapy has helped, but not enough to reduce my medications-but it HAS increased the QUALITY OF MY LIFE.
    THIS IS THE TRAGEDY; whatever has been shown to be effective in bringing some level of quality and FUNCTIONALITY to my life is what they want to remove, have removed, don’t cover.
    So many disabled people are suffering MORE AND suffering when HELP IS OUT THERE! WE ARE JUST DENIED ACCESS. AND I THOUGHT OUR YOUNG MEN DIED FOR FREEDOM.

  21. HJ at 5:25 pm

    I plan to try acupuncture. I finally got a plan that covers it. I hope it will be effective for me. I got a pamphlet on it and it’s recommended that I go more frequently than my insurance will cover it. I think I get 12 visits a year. It’s still $45 a visit, so I couldn’t spend that every week. I don’t think I can manage it once a month. I was getting trigger point injections, which do have benefit, but my current plan started in July and will end in December. I can’t justify spending my deductible for a half-year of a plan and I need to put back some money anyhow.

    I have to prioritize. I probably need a new sleep study for my sleep apnea as I’m struggling so much at work, I have to put back money to get new orthotics for my shoes (which insurance won’t pay for but which I can’t walk without) and my doctor wanted to send me for neuro-cognitive testing. I am years overdue for an MRI of my pituitary gland which I had surgery one and one post-op MRI. Can’t afford to make sure that the cyst didn’t return. I have to bank on the low probability of it returning.

    Let me count the number of times since high-deductible plans and high copays came into effect in which I’ve had to tell the doctor, “I’m sorry, but I have to decline that test” or “I wish I could, but I can’t afford it right now.”

    Last week, I saw an asthma specialist who didn’t flinch when I said right away, “Sorry, can’t afford the spirometry. I know you want it for your records, but, oh well.”

    Now, how am I supposed to afford complementary treatments? Should I not refill my asthma inhalers for the month? I’m not exaggerating. This is how life is. I can’t possibly take care of myself.

    The acupuncture is copay-based rather than deductible-based, so at least I’ll know what I’ll owe out-of-pocket and I do have to go back to the pain doctor every 3 months, so I might as well try something more than sitting down to chat, right?

    Ah, oh, and T’ai chi helps but I can’t go to a class. The instructors ask me to hold a pose so they can check my form and I can’t. Instead of the fluid motions of the practice, the stop-and-hold issue means my body goes into major muscle spasms. It’s best for me to learn by video. I imagine yoga classes would be the same. Folks need to know not do do inversion postures (where you are basically balancing upside-down). I used to think I was cool because I could pull it off, but I probably was doing them wrong and I think that’s why I have cervical spondylosis. It certainly didn’t help. I learned from a video, but instructors will try to have you do the same thing. I think the risk is just too great and folks with chronic pain need to stay away from inversion postures. Not safe — too much risk that you’re either not doing it correctly or even if you are, it might put weight on structures that just aren’t designed to take the weight.

    Avoid Inversion yoga postures, folks (the upside-down postures that are hand/head-stand type postures).

  22. Angelica Heavner at 5:01 pm

    You know I find this very ironic. For most of the chronic pain patients that I have talked to, they sure can’t afford these anymore. Some they would never be able to do without causing more damage. Me personally I don’t think I could sit through someone putting needles in me as that is what caused my problem to begin with.
    Try going to insurance companies and getting approvals for any of that, its a NO. They don’t even cover vitamins when there is a clear diagnosis of vitamin diffencies. Then come talk to me about alternative methods.
    Why don’t you guys come live a week in one of our shoes (some cant even put them on) then rethink what you are doing to the American people.

  23. Donna Rubinetti at 4:01 pm

    Except for the comments from patients, I’m frustrated by these posts. I’m all for alternative treatments but none have given me relief. Why are chronic pain patients punished further for being in pain??

  24. Karin at 3:48 pm

    Doctors, nurses, & many other (though not all) healthcare providers take an oath to basically “First do no harm.” Perhaps the people who legislate, regulate, & dictate healthcare policies & insurance coverage should do the same! They are welcome to spend a day in our shoes… Things would change in a flash!

  25. Bob Schubring at 3:37 pm

    When will Congress make it a legal tax deduction, to use these treatments for your own pain? Insurers won’t insure it, if it’s not proven to work. And the reason people ask about insurance coverage, is that employer-paid insurance is employer-paid, only because employers take a tax deduction for providing it.

    Bottom line is that the greedy politicians in Washington take what we make, away from us. Then give a tiny bit of it back. Then pay billions to the Media, to help them pretend that they gave us something.

  26. Signe Topai at 3:10 pm

    So what! Any person on disability cannot afford these treatments because insurance won’t pay for it. I am on a teacher’s disability retirement, luckier than most, and I still can’t afford to pay for it. I had over thirteen thousand dollars in medical deductions last year and STILL can’t find help to pay for these types of treatments. Yes, they due help especially the Myofascial Releases done by masseuse in Sedona Arizona but they want $150.00 to evaluate me then $100 per appointment. Before my saving was gone, I went from a wheelchair to a cane then to walking with steady treatments but now their is NO money and I’m back to a cane. Legislation needs to get on the insurance companies and make these treatments cover for chronic pain patients. So…..what you going to due about it people of importance?

  27. Krissy at 2:47 pm

    My comment is long. It’s turned into an article. Hmmm…

  28. Patty at 2:39 pm

    These Scientists may want to actual talk with people experiencing severe pain. These things listed only provide very limited short term relief. Great for interrupting the symptom cycle but not for long term pain relief. I advocate self management skills to help with severe chronic pain in addition to low dose opioids to dim the pain down to place where self management skills can be effectively used, as well as exercise.

  29. Deborah Babcock at 2:35 pm

    I would like to see those people with a severe migraine twice a month or more try to get out of pain by a relaxation technique !!!!! Matter of fact I really wish all those people would have chronic migraines. Bad ones like me and all of my other pain I endure on a daily basis !!!!

  30. Christine Taylor at 2:32 pm

    Tried acupuncture many times. I am convinced that if relief is felt it is likely only a placebo effect and will not last. Massage therapy was helpful for an hour or so. Exercise is definitely helpful provided one does not over do it.

  31. Judith Jaeger at 2:23 pm

    OMG……I hope taxpayers didn’t pay for this ridiculous study. If the NCCIH thinks these findings are anything NEW, they’ve been living under a rock. Ask any chronic pain person, and they’ll tell you they’ve tried most or all of these, (acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, relaxation techniques & others), possibly many times,, to NO avail. Thanks for nothing.

  32. Joanne O'Brien at 2:11 pm

    It’s more than time to look at alternative treatments, and I would include herbal and vitamin therapy in this list, but I suppose that was too much of a “can of worms” to open. However, how many of these alternative treatments are covered even in part by insurance companies? How much can the patient afford to do, and will it be often enough to make a real difference?

    As to yoga, it has become “the thing” to recommend by doctors who have probably never done yoga. A patient experiencing pain with underlying issues can’t go into a “normal” yoga class and keep up. You can worsen your pain trying to do yoga, especially if you haven’t been actively engaged in some type of physical activity that requires you to bend and stretch muscles and tendons. Perfectly healthy, active people of a certain age need a modified yoga program, not a class with 20 and 30 year olds. You can get hurt doing yoga, and you can worse an exiting condition by doing yoga. That said, I love it!

  33. Sherrie heckendorn at 2:00 pm

    The only problem is that most insurance won’t pay for other treatments. Lumping all back pain as the same is an insult to those of us that suffer from extreme spinal issues. Can’t do yoga and not sure how acupuncture will help as my joints swell with walking and daily chores- I now exist in pain with no relief because I no longer will take opioid because of the stigma, the contracts, monthly visits ( leave me in bed for a couple days following visit) can’t drive or ride the city bus- three discs sit on my spinal cord in neck and can’t afford co-pays anymore for urine screens. Because of addicts now there are thousands like me who no longer have a life.

  34. Marissa at 1:51 pm

    I do love that they are acknowledging that these things are helpful. I am all for this , however I have two thoughts on this.
    One this makes it a new Avenue to encourage patients in lieu of any pain meds. So the recommendation alone provides them an out to treat pain and enforce the recommendation .
    I highly encourage these. Yoga heals lots of things but trusting how they will use this is an issue .
    Secondly, the insurance companies won’t pay for most of these. So a disabled patient with little to no income must pay for these classes or treatments out of pocket.
    A massage is $60 to $80 . I couldn’t afford a regular one when I worked let alone now .
    I looked into a yoga studio near me that is specifically designed around your injury or illness. It’s $55 a session and $380 paid up front.
    So absolutely let’s add these to our lifestyles, but push for financial reimbursement or paid services now that they have this as an added we weapon to cut meds.
    I have practiced yoga for 15 years and have knowledge of it but others do not and classes are expensive .
    I also don’t have use of my left arm to perform the poses.
    Stay wise my friends and yes add this to your treatment bag .

  35. Toni at 1:48 pm

    Fantastic! Now when will the insurance companies include these in our covered treatments? Makes it impossible for a normal income to afford these now let alone someone who is disabled and unable to work anymore. Our country has turned our medical upside down.