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About acupuncture:

Visual Guide to Acupuncture  (created by WebMD)

Individuals with chronic neck pain who received acupuncture reported, on average, better pain relief immediately after treatment and in the short-term than those who received sham treatments. Individuals with chronic neck pain with symptoms radiating to the arms who received acupuncture reported, on average, better pain relief in the short-term than those who were on a waiting list.

Overview Group. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Reviews 2006 Issue 3

John Wiley and Sons, Ltd Chichester, UK - DOI: 10. 1002/14651858. CD004870. pub3; KY: Humans [checkword]; Acupuncture Therapy; Chronic Disease; Neck Pain [therapy];

Randomized Controlled Trials; Treatment Outcome; DOI: 10. 1002/14651858. CD004870. pub3


Dynamic Release

Guided Imagery

Alternative Therapies Affect Experience Of Chronic Pain

Researchers at Kent State University and Case Western University, led by Kent State nursing professor Wendy Lewandowski, tracked the experience of 44 patients being treated for chronic pain.

Unlike those in the control group, the guided imagery patients in the study described their pain as ultimately more tolerable or easier to control. Published on Pain Management Nursing Volume 6, Issue 2 , Pages 58-67, June 2005


This study provides evidence for the role of gamma oscillations in the subjective experience of pain. Further it also supports the view that hypnosis involves the dissociation of the prefrontal cortex from other neural functions.

Pain perception, hypnosis and 40 Hz oscillations. International Journal of Psychophysiology 46 (2): 101-108, Nov 2002 - Croft RJ, Williams JD, Haenschel C, Gruzelier JH.

CROFT and co-workers, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and Behaviour, Imperial College London, Medical Faculty, St Dunstan’s Road, London W6 8RF, UK, write about pain perception, hypnosis and 40 Hz oscillations.

Four specific applications of hypnosis that can enhance psychotherapy for pain management.

Clinical applications of hypnosis for brief and efficient pain management psychotherapy. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 43 (1): 17-40. Jul 2000 - Eimer BN.


EIMER, Alternative Behavior Associates, Philadelphia, PA 19115, USA, reviews (77 references)

Medical hypnosis appears to be an effective treatment modality for TMD (temporomandibular disorders) in terms of reducing both symptoms and medical (treatment) use.

Medical hypnosis for temporomandibular disorders: treatment efficacy and medical utilization outcome. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics 90 (1): 54-63. Jul 2000 - Simon EP and Lewis DM

SIMON and LEWIS, Department of Psychology, Multi-Disciplinary Pain Clinic, Tripler Regional Medical Center, University of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA, examined the effectiveness of medical hypnosis in reducing the pain symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

Hypnosis and self-hypnosis administered and taught by nurses for relief of chronic pain: a controlled clinical trial.

Forschende Komplementarmedizin 6(1): 41-3. Feb 1999 - Buchser E

BUCHSER, (No affiliation provided) conducted a controlled clinical trial to evaluate hypnosis and self-hypnosis as an adjuvant treatment for the instrumental and pharmacological management of chronic pain.

The author has used this approach very effectively with a number of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) patients, and gives a detailed case study.

Cleaning up the river: a metaphor for functional digestive disorders. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 45 (4): 353-359, Apr 2003 - Zimmermann J


ZIMMERMAN, Gastroenterology, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, 91 120 Israel, compares the treatment of irritable bowels to the cleaning up of a river.  


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by abdominal pain, altered bowel habits and various other digestive symptoms. Emotional factors are important in some patients. A metaphor is described which links the altered motility of the digestive system to the emotional contents it may embody. The image of a river is used to evoke both a smooth, coordinated flow through the digestive tract and a normal flow in the management of the patient's emotions. The possibility that a blockage has occurred in the river is then suggested to the patient, followed by a suggestion that the patient clear the blockage. This approach may lead patients to work on the emotional components of their symptoms and lead to resolution of the IBS.


Back pain: Ten sessions of massage therapy led to more rapid improvement in low back pain than usual medical care.

A Comparison of the Effects of 2 Types of Massage and Usual Care on Chronic Low Back Pain - Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) published by Annals of Internal Medicine in July 2011

Summary for patients HERE

Full paper HERE

Aromatherapy and massage for symptom relief in patients with cancer:(2004)

Massage and aromatherapy  massage confer short term benefits on psychological wellbeing, with the effect on anxiety supported by limited evidence. Effects on physical symptoms may also occur. Evidence is mixed as to whether aromatherapy enhances the effects of massage.

[Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; Humans [checkword]; Anxiety [therapy]; Aromatherapy; Combined Modality Therapy; Depression [therapy]; Massage; Neoplasms [psychology]; Pain [therapy]; Palliative Care; Quality of Life; Randomized Controlled Trials; DOI: 10. 1002/14651858. CD002287. pub2]

Massage for low-back pain: (2002)

High quality trials show that massage gives some relief from back pain that has continued for many weeks or months - and the benefit may continue at least a year after the course of massage is over.

[Furlan AD, Brosseau L, Imamura M, Irvin E. Massage for low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Reviews 2002 Issue 2 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd Chichester, UK DOI: 10. 1002/14651858. CD001929

KY: Adult [checkword]; Humans [checkword]; Low Back Pain [therapy]; Manipulation, Spinal; Massage; Randomized Controlled Trials

Thermotherapy for treatment of osteoarthritis: (2003) There is "silver" level evidence that ice massage could be used to improve range of motion and strength of the knee and function in people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Cold packs may be used to decrease swelling.

[Brosseau L, Yonge KA, Robinson V, Marchand S, Judd M, Wells G, Tugwell P. Thermotherapy for treatment of osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database of Systematic

Reviews: Reviews 2003 Issue 4 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd Chichester, UK DOI: 10. 1002/14651858. http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley. com/cochrane/clsysrev/articles/CD004522/frame.html ]

Nutrition / Diet

Olive oil: An essential ingredient of olive oil (oleocanthal), has been found to be a natural antioxidant as powerful as painkillers such as ibuprofen

NSAID Receptor Responsible for Olive Oil’s ‘Cough’ and More. Combination of sensory and molecular approaches identify receptor sensitive to anti-inflammatory compounds.

Monel Chemical Senses Center,  Philadelphia, USA

Olive Oil: Although structurally dissimilar, both ibuprofen and oleocanthal (from olive oil) inhibit the same cyclooxygenase enzymes in the prostaglandin-biosynthesis pathway.

Phytochemistry: ibuprofen-like activity in extra-virgin olive oil

Nature. 2005 Sep 1;437(7055):45-6.

PMID:16136122 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Tai Chi

Tai Chi Relieves Arthritis Pain, Improves Reach, Balance, Well-Being: In the largest study to date of the Arthritis Foundation's Tai Chi program, participants showed improvement in pain, fatigue, stiffness and sense of wellbeing.

Shreffler, Hackney, Martin, Charnock (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine) presentation at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta, Nov 2010

Tai Chi relieves arthritis pain, improves reach, balance, wellbeing, University of North Carolin

Scent / Aromatherapy

Green Apple Scent Cuts Migraine Pain

Hirsch, A. R., & Kang, C. (1998). The effect of inhaling green apple fragrance to reduce the severity of migraine: A pilot study.

Headache Quarterly, 9, 159-163.


Music Therapy

Fibromyalgia: This study demonstrates the effectiveness of music for reducing pain intensity and improving symptoms of depression in people diagnosed with FM.

(However, the study also highlights a lack of evidence regarding other specific symptoms of FM, such as migraine, fatigue, and morning stiffness.)

Given the low cost of this intervention, the lack of harmful side effects, and the relative ease of delivery, it warrants further study to investigate all potential benefits of music intervention using by nurses in patients with FM.

Effect of Music as Nursing Intervention for People Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia: Pain Management Nursing, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.pmn.2010.09.004

Psychological treatments

The consistency and magnitude of the effects reported provides some evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy may be a useful intervention for children with recurrent abdominal pain

Huertas-Ceballos A, Logan S, Bennett C, Macarthur C -Psychosocial interventions for recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in childhood(Review) Cochrane database of systematic reviews  (2008)


Largest US Yoga Study To Date Finds Yoga Eases Back Pain

Yoga classes were linked to better back-related function and diminished symptoms from chronic low back pain in the largest U.S. randomized controlled trial of yoga to date.

Sherman, Karen J, Cherkin, Daniel C, Wellman, Robert D, Cook, Andrea J, Hawkes, Rene J, Delaney, Kristin, Deyo, Richard A, A Randomized Trial Comparing Yoga, Stretching, and a Self-care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain, Arch Intern Med. October 24, 2011,  doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.524


Transcendental Meditation reduces the brain's reaction to pain

21 August 2006 - Volume 17 - Issue 12 - pp 1359-1363

doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000233094.67289.a8

Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology

Sea snail key to future of pain relief:

(2006) Dr Jenny Ekberg, a Research Fellow with the University of Queensland's School of Biomedical Sciences, has studied a toxin produced by a marine snail found on the Great Barrier Reef, which has the ability to precisely target chronic pain without severe side-effects. [The University of Queensland]

"Sometimes the truth is so near that we can’t focus on it"
GP patient of Dr Tullio Simonccini on being successfully treated)
CHRONIC PAIN. Drug-free evidence. Treatments.