Using Holistic Medicine for Pain Management


Sometimes when you step out of a doctor’s appointment, you feel you were only glanced over. You feel your physical health was taken into consideration but nothing more. Many people want to be considered as a whole, which includes a focus on emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. All these things combined contribute to your overall health, diagnosis, and treatment options. This is where holistic medicine takes additional steps you might not see from most doctors.

The term “holistic medicine” is precisely what it sounds like. It is a healing and health approach that takes the entire individual into account. The body, spirit, and mind are all considered together in determining your health. Many people believe that giving equal attention to the body, mind, and soul is the best way to allow the body to heal itself and ensure the best health outcomes.

The Basics Behind Holistic Medicine

Similar to traditional medicine, holistic medicine helps treat and prevent diseases and illnesses. It is also used to improve a person’s health and well-being. The techniques and treatments used in holistic medicine are used to boost the body’s intrinsic healing abilities. One of the most significant advantages of holistic medicine is that it allows patients to take charge of their own health.

Based on information from the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA), the following factors are considered during holistic diagnosis and treatment:

  • Emotional Health
  • Environment
  • Lifestyle
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Health
  • Spiritual Health

With holistic health, providers aim to offer practical, safe, and natural treatment options, including self-care and lifestyle changes, as well as alternatives to conventional procedures and drugs whenever possible. The idea behind holistic medicine is that you should treat the cause of an ailment or illness rather than treating only the symptoms.

Holistic doctors work in partnership with patients and look to understand and know them better as whole individuals. This type of medicine’s primary goal is prevention, but it also includes using innate healing abilities. In holistic medicine, it is believed that illness is not something that just happens. Instead, it is a symptom of an issue within a whole person.

What is Holistic Pain Management?

If you are someone who suffers from chronic pain, like millions of other Americans, you may be wondering, “What is holistic pain management?” Since over 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and almost half of those individuals have high-impact pain, finding a solution is a priority. This is especially true since chronic pain has been linked to many mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Science shows that chronic pain in the body sends constant stress signals to the brain. This leads to a higher perception of both pains, as well as their threat levels. This turns into a never-ending cycle that can be nearly impossible to control or stop.

Most of the time, someone who is initially diagnosed with pain will be provided with pain medication. Sometimes these medications work for people, but in other cases, the side effects are so severe that they outweigh whatever pain relief is provided. This is the point where patients might start searching for a better solution.

Types of Holistic Pain Management

Patients interested in learning more about holistic pain management have numerous options that can act as alternatives to traditional medications. These include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Chiropractic
  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Herbal or vitamin supplements
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • And many more


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Traditionally used in Chinese medicine, acupuncture is one form of holistic pain management. This treatment involves placing tiny needles into the body at specific pressure points. The idea behind acupuncture (and its cousin, acupressure) is that applying needles to specific body areas helps balance the flow of energy within the body.

Those who practice acupuncture in the west see the practice as a way of stimulating muscles and nerves to bring about healing and pain relief. This practice is continuously growing and can offer benefits beyond what pain medications can provide.

Chiropractic Care

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Another form of holistic pain management is chiropractic care. A chiropractor mainly focuses on manipulating and realigning the neck and spine. This can help promote healing, relieve pain, and improve body function. Chiropractic care can be done in many different ways, and different practitioners use various products, strategies, and techniques to treat pain.

Another form of holistic pain management is chiropractic care. A chiropractor mainly focuses on manipulating and realigning the neck and spine. This can help promote healing, relieve pain, and improve body function. Chiropractic care can be done in many different ways, and different practitioners use various products, strategies, and techniques to treat pain.


Another method that comes to mind when someone asks, “what is holistic pain management?” is exercise. It is an excellent way to improve someone’s health and can also help with pain management. Regardless of where your pain is and how bad it gets, some kind of exercise is likely to help with it. Even individuals with limited mobility can find simple exercises that can be done while lying down or seated.


The best way to use exercise is by starting small and going slowly. Some of the top exercises for someone with chronic pain include swimming, Tai Chi, strength training, walking, Pilates, and Yoga. However, you should speak with your occupational therapist, doctors, personal trainer, or physical therapist to find the best options for your situation.


Therapeutic massage has been shown to offer many benefits for chronic pain conditions. While massage can relieve pain through relaxing tendons, muscles, and joints, it goes well beyond that. Massage also helps decrease amounts of anxiety and stress, both of which can exacerbate pain.

There are all sorts of massage styles for different needs. A few of them include deep tissue, Shiatsu, reflexology, Swedish, sports, and trigger point.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Both meditation and mindfulness are techniques that help lower stress and quiet the nervous system. This results in less pain and decreased muscle tension. The great thing about these techniques is that there are so many you can choose from. For instance, some of them let you focus on breathing. Others work toward progressive relaxation. Some even operate through engaging in guided imagery.

Herbal and Vitamin Supplements

There are many different herbal, vitamin, and plant-based supplements that may help with pain relief. Sometimes the supplements create a better sense of well-being, which can lower your level of pain. Other supplements directly relieve some types of pain through improving joint health or reducing inflammation.

Some vitamin supplements that fall under this umbrella include vitamin C and D for bone health, as well as B vitamins for nerve health. Turmeric and aloe vera are examples of plant-based and herbal supplements that act as holistic pain management.

Pay Attention to What Your Body is Saying

Everyone is different, so keep in mind that what works for one person might not be right for you. There is not a single simple solution that answers the question of “what is holistic pain management?” However, since these treatments have fewer risks and are primarily non-invasive, complementary therapy options can offer a place to start. Make sure you open your mind and speak with your medical provider about what might work for you.

Remember that while focusing on your overall health to aid in pain management is a good idea, the results are not always immediate. It can take time to make adjustments and improvements may not be noticeable right from the start. Give it time, and when you do see results, you will often find they work better than traditional treatments like pain medication.

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