Alternative medicine and holistic therapies, when administered or taught by qualified professionals, are safe and effective for many back and neck injuries. They can also help alleviate chronic pain. There are few, if any, side effects associated with alternative medicine therapies.
Alternative medicine and holistic therapies are built on the premise that the body heals itself; they stimulate the body's own natural healing processes.
There are several alternative medicine systems that work well for back and neck pain:
Chiropractic health care uses a form of treatment called the adjustment, to align the bones of the spine. Adjustment consists of a hands-on mobilization of vertebral structures that have been subluxated. The subluxation is the basic diagnostic category used by chiropractors to describe their examination findings.
Learn More About Chiropractic:
Massage involves touching and rubbing the muscles (as well as other soft tissue) to stimulate relaxation and/or balance in the musculoskeletal system. There are several different types of massage. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) categorizes them into 4 main types:
- Chair Massage is done fully clothed and is a massage to the upper body. Chair massages are generally short, around 15 minutes or so, and are done to help with relaxation and circulation. Chair massages are often a part of corporate wellness programs.
- Sports massage is a type of massage specifically for athletes. Athletes can get short pre-game or post-game massages, or they can come for a full sessions at other times. Sports massages often uses specialized techniques such as cross-fiber friction to help with injury healing. Sports massages promote flexibility, which in turn helps to prevent injury.
- Deep tissue massage applies a firmer pressure than other techniques to help release chronically tight muscles that may be causing pain or postural abnormality.
- Swedish massage is an all over massage that promotes circulation and relaxation.
As more and more people are turning to massage therapy for their medical conditions, it is important to find a qualified therapist. This is especially true for people with back or neck pain. According to AMTA President Mary Beth Braun, "traditional methods of treating back and neck problems, for example back surgeries, are not always successful, so people are looking for ways to manage their chronic pain".
Osteopathy is a holistic branch of traditional medicine. Osteopathic physicians go to medical school, but the services they provide to their patients are based on a holistic model of health.
Learn More About Osteopathy