Alternative therapies for pain gain momentum as prescription drug abuse trends raise mounting concern

By Bryan Abramowitz, MD

As powerful prescription pain relievers become ever more accessible, so too becomes the potential for drug misuse and abuse among patients. Such is the concern raised in a recent report for the

Sacramento Bee

, which notes the rising prevalence of prescription drug abuse and subsequent popular interest in

alternative therapies for pain

  1. As of 2009, 16 million people aged 12 and older reported taking prescription drugs – including stimulants, sedatives, pain relievers and tranquilizers – for non-medical purposes; and not only that, many of the younger individuals polled reported accessing these drugs from friends or relatives. Faced with the mainstream nature and dangerous potential of such trends, many people are eager for a more holistic alternative for pain relief: and while the effects of natural therapies can differ between individuals, a new study suggests that integrative methods are most common and successful when used to treat pain and related conditions.

Baltimore Sun

recently reported on a new study from the

Bravewell Collaborative

in which researchers traced the use and success rates of various holistic therapies in patients suffering from chronic pain and other disorders. According to the study, which surveyed 29 different integrative health centers working to provide natural, whole-patient therapies for physical, emotional and spiritual well being, 75% of practitioners achieved successful results treating patients suffering from chronic pain. Treatment modalities range from nutritional counseling and herbal supplements to acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga and chiropractic care – all of which represent a healthy alternative to addictive drugs that, for many individuals, eliminate the need for prescription medication all together.

Integrative medicine and the whole patient: a holistic approach to pain relief

Pain is a very personal and subjective experience, and one that impacts different people in different ways. Because of this, prescription pain medications have a limited utility and flexibility when it comes to treating the individual patient. Integrative treatment, on the other hand, can be designed and customized to suit each patient’s unique pain experience and lifestyle needs, blending various modalities for a balanced approach that is safe, natural and in the patient’s best interest. At our

San Diego integrative wellness clinic

, we strive to find the ideal blend of conventional medical expertise and holistic therapy for optimal health – and to do away with reliance on harmful drugs and expensive medical procedures whenever possible. Learn more about natural pain relief and balanced health today: visit us at