The Southeastern Spine Institute

Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all. Back pain is unique for each person, and treatment should be just as specialized. With methods such as acupuncture, chiropractic techniques and homeopathy becoming popular, more people are looking into different forms of alternative medicine for back pain.

Alternative medicine is largely based on the idea of that the body naturally balances itself to promote healing and restoration. When people first hear about alternative medicine, they usually fall into two categories:

  1. Interested
  2. Skeptical

Weighing the pros and cons can help you feel more comfortable making a decision. And talking to your spine physician before taking any steps can help your continued progress and recovery.

Advantages of Alternative Medicine for Back Pain

When working in collaboration with traditional treatment, as prescribed by your doctor and physical therapy team, some complementary medical techniques can speed your recovery and make it more comfortable. Advantages, when taken in context, include:

  • Whole body care. Alternative medicine is focused not just on your body, but also on your mind. Unlike traditional medicine, alternative medical practitioners believe that the mind and body are interconnected. For one to thrive, the other must thrive. Instead of focusing on fixing your back pain, holistic practitioners consider your lifestyle habits as part of the healing process.
  • Personal attention. Because of the focus on your whole body, alternative medicines for back pain are more personal and unique. Practitioners spend more time doing one-on-one consultation to assess your emotional and spiritual health as well as your nutritional and other physical needs.
  • Natural/healthy approach. Alternative medicine is all about re-harmonizing your body on your body’s terms. Using natural substances like herbs and oils, alternative medicine is gentler than traditional medicine and typically doesn’t cause side effects that damage your body. You should consult with your physician, however, before taking any supplements to ensure they won’t interact with any of your current medications.
  • Less expensive. Traditional medicine requires high tech tools, engineered medicines and surgeries that can be very costly. Since alternative medicine uses energies, oils, herbs and therapeutic touch to heal, treatments generally are less expensive. On the other hand, insurance usually does not cover alternative treatments.

Disadvantages of Alternative Medicine for Back Pain

  • Minimal scientific research. When it comes to scientific proof, evidence is still limited. Many people are skeptical about the reliability of alternative medicine for back pain. Methods that have worked for some people don’t work for others. It’s not 100 percent proven to cure every problem or every person.
  • Longer term treatment. Traditional medical procedures can be quick and easy. With alternative medicine, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Alternative medicine is largely based on natural products and how they interact with and heal your body. Alternative medicines entail a longer treatment and healing time as they heal the problem at its root. They also require you to have an active role in the healing process.
  • Not useful in emergency cases. In case of an emergency, alternative medicines won’t do you much good. Traditional medicine is made to work fast. Should you be in an emergency situation, turn to the traditional medical professions.
  • No Regulation. Much of alternative medicine isn’t approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. So, as with anything, do your research. Make sure you become informed about different forms of alternative medicines and trustworthy practices. Ask for referrals and references before taking chances with your health.

Talk to a back specialist at the Southeastern Spine Institute if you’re considering alternative medicine for back pain. Ask doctors, friends and family for recommendations. Look up practitioners online to see what others have experienced. Take advantage of alternative medicine for back pain when it seems appropriate — your back surgeon always supports healthy diet and exercise, sufficient sleep, reducing stress and finding holistic approaches to healing your back pain.