Alternative Pain Treatment
There are as many alternative pain treatment options these days as there are standard medical treatment options. Not everyone subscribes to the “drugs and surgery” mindset for treatment of their joint pain issues.
They would much prefer to engage in more natural, non-medical or surgical options before considering “the knife” or the use of medications that may have harmful side effects.
The following are examples of alternative pain treatment options available today:
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment characterized by the use and insertion of several fine-gauge, “filiform” needles, strategically placed around the body in locations where they can stimulate physiologic responses in other areas. Many times they are inserted into the skin at points called “meridians”, or “acupressure points” which seem to control many bodily functions and responses.
Examples include treatments for headaches, smoking, and pain relief. Many people seek out this alternative form of pain management because it has literally no adverse side effects. Treatments can have moderate lasting effects without the potential hazards of chemical medications.
Therapeutic acupuncture, in the properly skilled hands (mostly in China), is frequently used successfully as a form of anesthesia for certain surgical procedures.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine, another alternative pain treatment option, is a natural compound that is found in healthy cartilage. Glucosamine sulfate is a normal constituent of glycoaminoglycans in cartilage matrix and synovial fluid.
Available evidence from randomized controlled trials supports the use of glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of osteoarthritis, particularly of the knee.
It is believed that the sulfate moiety provides clinical benefit in the synovial fluid by strengthening cartilage and aiding glycosaminoglycan synthesis. If this hypothesis is confirmed, it would mean that only the glucosamine sulfate form is effective and non-sulfated glucosamine forms are not effective.
Glucosamine is commonly taken in combination with chondroitin, a glycosaminoglycan derived from articular (joint surface) cartilage. Use of complementary therapies, including glucosamine, is common in patients with osteoarthritis, and may allow for reduced doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are not subject to scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), therefore effectiveness can only be documented anecdotally (from personal experiences). Typically, one hears many good things about these supplements
Common trade names for these compounds include: Osteo-Biflex, Cosequin, Cartiflex, Glycoflex and many others too numerous to include. They can come in capsule or pill form, chewable candies, and even liquid drinks.
Magnetic therapy refers to the application of either electro-magnetic devices or “static” magnets to the human body for the alleged purpose of enhanced health, various types of healing, and/or general revitalization.
The static magnets come in a wide variety of products, from wrist wraps to king size mattresses and everything in between. There are literally thousands of companies and products available in the marketplace.
In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), maintains no clinical control over the manufacture or sale of these products, except to say that it is not legal for companies or individual sales persons to make any medical claims from the use of these products.
That being said, millions of people have used, and reportedly benefited from, these alternative pain treatment products. Most information is anecdotal and not clinical or objective, but that does not seem to dull the overall public impression that these products do indeed help people, by their own accounts.
The alternative health and medicine industry is astoundingly huge, with millions of products and companies all claiming to improve health and restore vitality.
Some technologies such as acupuncture and massage therapy are grounded in clinical proof and are highly regarded, while other less objective-results-oriented products and techniques are judged by personal experiences.
The take-home message here is to thoroughly research a product or company before trying these products. Because of the overwhelming number of testimonials and personal feedback that is circulating on the Web these days, it seems that a great many people feel these products help.
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