Integrative medicine interventions found to significantly reduce pain, improve quality of life

An integrative approach to treating chronic pain significantly reduces pain severity while improving mood and quality of life, according to a new study from the Bravewell Practice-Based Research Network (BraveNet) published last month in BioMed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal. Researchers found a reduction in pain severity of more than 20 percent and a drop in pain interference of nearly 30 percent in patients after 24 weeks of integrative care. Significant improvements in mood, stress, quality of life, fatigue, sleep and well-being were also observed.

"Chronic is very difficult to treat," said lead researcher Dr. Donald Abrams, a cancer and integrative medicine specialist at the University of California San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. "While there have been some therapeutic advances, many patients with become resistant to conventional medical treatments or suffer adverse effects from widely used with high addictive potential. The results from this study are particularly encouraging as chronic pain is the number one condition for which patients seek care at integrative healthcare clinics."

Chronic pain affects nearly 116 million American adults, with estimated costs tallying up to $635 billion annually. The prospective, observational study tracked patients' measures of pain, quality of life, mood, stress, sleep, fatigue, sense of control, overall well-being, and work productivity in 252 patients at nine different clinical sites.

In keeping with the integrative medicine philosophy of individualized, patient-centered care, no standardized pre-specified clinical intervention for chronic pain was prescribed for all study participants. Instead, practitioners at each of the network sites devised integrative treatment plans for participating chronic pain patients. All BraveNet sites include integrative physicians, acupuncturists, mindfulness instructors, and yoga instructors; some also incorporate massage therapists, manual medicine therapists, fitness/movement specialists, dietician/nutritionists, psychologists, healing touch therapists, and other energy practitioners.

The results of the study were consistent over the 24-week duration of the trial, suggesting the possibility of sustainable effects of the integrative interventions.

More information: www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/13/146

Related Stories

Pain training for primary care providers

Mar 05, 2013

Patients who experience chronic pain may experience improvement in symptoms if their primary care providers are specifically trained in multiple aspects of pain, including emotional consequences.

Recommended for you

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

6 hours ago

Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease.

Cerebral palsy may be hereditary

12 hours ago

Cerebral palsy is a neurological developmental disorder which follows an injury to the immature brain before, during or after birth. The resulting condition affects the child's ability to move and in some ...

19 new dengue cases in Japan, linked to Tokyo park

18 hours ago

Japan is urging local authorities to be on the lookout for further outbreaks of dengue fever, after confirming another 19 cases that were contracted at a popular local park in downtown Tokyo.

User comments