Integrative approach reduces chronic pain and boosts quality of life, mood, stress and wellbeing | Arthritis Research UK | Healing Chronic Pain & Disease |

Integrative approach 'reduces chronic pain and boosts quality of life' Published on 23 July 2013

An integrative approach to treating chronic pain, using therapies such as acupuncture, mindfulness, massage and nutritional guidance, can help to reduce pain and improve quality of life, research has shown.

Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco's Osher Centre for Integrative Medicine followed 252 patients at nine different clinical sites, all of whom were being treated for chronic pain.

There was no pre-specified treatment course; instead, each patient was assessed individually and given a specially tailored care plan, including interventions such as acupuncture, mindfulness, yoga, massage, manual therapy, diet and nutrition, psychological therapies, healing touch and other energy therapies.

In particular, the researchers wanted to see whether an integrative approach brought about improvements in pain, quality of life, mood, stress, sleep, fatigue, sense of control, overall wellbeing and work productivity.

Analysis revealed that after 24 weeks of integrative care, nearly 30 per cent of patients saw a greater than 20 per cent decrease in the severity of their pain.

There were also significant improvements in pain interference, mood, stress, quality of life, fatigue, sleep and wellbeing, according to a report in the journal Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Lead researcher Dr Donald Abrams, who specialises in cancer and integrative medicine, observed that chronic pain can be "very difficult" to treat.

"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," he revealed.

"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."

We've produced a report about living with long-term pain and how you can help yourself. It includes information on different approaches to pain relief, who you can ask for support and self-help tips. It also includes activities for you to complete to help you record and assess your experiences - See more at:

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