Alternative and Complementary Approach to Pain Management Therapies
by Kamau Kokayi, MD
The integrative approach to pain management at Patients Medical combines traditional therapeutic methods of pain treatment with alternative and complementary treatments, taking a holistic view of the patient and the causes for their pain. At times considered anecdotal and poorly substantiated by the mainstream medical community, alternative and complementary treatments are rapidly gaining ground, largely through the numbers of people turning to alternative methods when Western medical treatment alone falls short of their needs.
Simultaneously, a sound scientific footing for alternative medicine is accumulating through careful review of case studies, clinical trials, and the available literature that ancient therapies, along with more recently developed improvements of ancient techniques, show effectiveness in pain management and provide lasting relief in many patients. The mainstream medical community has been slow to recognize the data and move beyond the biomedical model offered in allopathic medicine. Integrative medical practitioners, however, are not suggesting a substitution or adversarial tact in prescribing alternative methods, but rather offer complementary techniques used effectively as adjuncts to traditional therapeutic methods.
In this article we'll share our knowledge of integrative treatments, pain perception, chronic pain contributors, and the important role of mind-body-spirit.
Learn About the Role of Mind-Body-Spirit on Pain
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is conservatively defined as pain that persists for three months or longer. It is also described as pain that persists beyond the usual course of an acute disease or healing of an injury. Chronic pain is sometimes referred to as refractory pain, or pain that is resistant to treatment or cure, or unresponsive to attempts at management. The term "refractory pain" is also used to describe pain that continues or worsens despite attempts at treatment.
Chronic pain may manifest as heaviness in the body or extremities, numbness, tingling, or a deep, low-grade ache, heat, or throbbing sensation. Chronic pain may oscillate between minor and major levels of intensity with no apparent triggering causes or events. The level of pain may be low-grade but continuous, or debilitating and life-changing, affecting sleep or commanding one's attention.
Read About Sources of Pain
BJ is a mid-30s social worker and hypnotherapist, who works with women affected by domestic violence. Over the past two months, she has had extremely painful menses, learned her uterus is enlarged, spots a week prior to her menses, bleeds heavily through a seven-day cycle, and experiences cramps, abdominal bloating, and back pain. BJ knows she is internalizing her clients' pain and can personally relate to the abuse, disrespect, and feeling of powerlessness.
This patient was experiencing physical pain rooted in her emotional connection with her clients. BJ's cognitive awareness has not changed her physical symptoms. We treated BJ with a therapeutic application of applied kinesiology, designed to free the affected channels of energy in her body. Through muscle testing we learned that her kidney meridian was the root cause of her pain and discomfort. We gently manipulated two points at the back of her skull to rebalance the kidney, uterus and other meridians disturbed by this situation. We prescribed a homeopathic remedy, botanicals, a Chinese herbal formula, and castor oil packs. Two weeks later she reported that her menses was normal without spotting, bloating, or pain. BJ described having more energy, a higher stress tolerance, better ability to relate to her clients, and she stopped binge eating when stressed. Of all of her healing, she is most pleased about working through early childhood traumas that had been a part of her life for more than two decades. Through focusing on balancing her energy as opposed to just treating her pain, BJ's entire mind-body-spirit has improved.
Begin Your Journey to Wellness with Patients Medical
Our job at Patients Medical is to listen, to connect the dots between a patient's medical history, symptoms, and their underlying causes. Patients Medical is a superb place for women and men to secure integrative and holistic health care from providers who give personalized care, partner with the patient to focus on the root cause of their illness, support their recovery, and help them maintain good health.
For those that can make the journey, we are happy to welcome new patients to our medical center in New York City. Call us at . We are here to listen and to help.
We are located at: Patients Medical PC, 1148 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1B New York, NY 10028..