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Integrative Medical Interventions Could Help to Reduce Symptoms of Chronic Pain

First Posted: Jul 22, 2013 01:23 PM EDT

A new study finds that working on ways to approach the treatment of chronic pain may help to significantly improve the mood and quality of life for patients enduring certain disorders.

In fact, researchers found a reduction in the 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 were made in mood, stress, quality of life, fatigue, sleep and well-being observed.

"Chronic pain 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, via a press release. "While there have been some therapeutic advances, many patients with chronic pain become resistant to conventional medical treatments or suffer adverse effects from widely used prescription medications 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." 

Background information from the study shows that chronic pain affects nearly 116 million American adults, costing an estimated $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.

Researcher wrote the following regarding the treatment plans, via the release: "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 study results, which were conducted over a 24-week period, provide the possibility of the benefits of intergrative interventions. 

More information regarding the study can be found in the journal BioMed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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