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VHA Pain Management

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For Veterans/Public - Complementary Treatments

For Veterans/Public - Complimentary Treatments

This section provides links to tools on "Complementary Treatments," developed for Veterans/Public.

Active - Approaches include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pain - Self-Management programs are usually provided by psychologists. These programs teach relaxation skills, and other behavioral coping strategies.
Physical Therapy - help people with chronic pain find a physical activity program that is gentle, moderate, and right for the individual. 
Types of physical therapy that may help pain include:
      - Cold treatment - ice packs, ice baths, ice massage.
      - Heat treatment - hot water baths, heating pads, high-frequency sound waves to produce gentle heat deep in your tissues. 
      - Gentle stretching
      - Muscle strengthening
      - Body mechanics
      - Vibration therapy - a probe is applied to a part of your body with moderate pressure and vibrated several thousand times per second.
Yoga-  involves breath control, meditation, and a series of physical poses. Yoga can help strengthen muscles, improve functioning, reduce stress and improve mood.
Relaxation Treatments - comes in many forms (imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing). These exercises reduce the stress and muscle tension that are common with pain.
Biofeedback - used to learn how to control body functions such as muscle tension and other bodily responses to stress. Electrical sensors provide information about physical signals such as increases in heart rate, muscle tension or skin temperature.
Aqua Therapy - water based type of physical therapy. Exercises are done in a pool usually with the help of a specially trained physical therapist.
Meditation - teaches awareness techniques to relax the body and quiet the mind. It has been found to help reduce pain, improve mood, and decrease stress. 

Passive - Approaches include:
Chiropractic Care -  hands-on manipulation of the body as a means to properly align the spine and to restore mobility to joints.
Acupuncture -  placement of small needles into the skin at various points in the body.
Massage - applying pressure to specific points on the body. It can help reduce stress and muscle tension which can reduce pain. 

*Not all therapies are available at all VA Medical Centers, and certain therapies may not be appropriate for all conditions. Talk to your provider to determine which approaches are best for you. If a given therapy is not available at your Medical Center, ask your provider if similar care may be accessed in your community.

Resources

Title and Link Source Description
Traditional Chinese Medicine (pdf) Department of Veterans Affairs Booklet about Chinese Medicine that describes approaches to health from a Chinese Medicine philosophy.
Whole Health Workbook (pdf) VA Puget Sound Health Care System -Department of Veterans Affairs A guide to Proactive living and well-being.
Mindfulness Resources  Links to mindfulness resources. Mindfulness can be a helpful tool used to manage pain.
The Free Mindfulness Project * http://www.freemindfulness.org/ Collection of free-to-download mindfulness meditation exercises.
Free Guided Meditations * UCLA Health Collection of meditation audios.
Mindfulness and Chronic Pain (video) * UMNCSH This YouTube video describes how mindfulness can help with chronic pain.
Mindfulness * Swedish Medical Center Mindfulness stress reduction techniquies and exercises. Instead of focusing on medication, learn how to reduce the stress and you will find you need less medication.
Other Resources    
Complementary Health Approaches to Chronic Pain * National Institute of Health (NIH) Evidence to support complementary health approaches for different pain syndromes.
"Arthur's transformation"*(video) https://ddpyoga.com Never, Ever Give Up. Arthur's Inspirational Transformation! YouTube video


Veteran/Public Pain Management - Resource Topics

 chronicpain  self management medical treatments complementary treatments faqs
Disclaimer: *Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.