There are dozens of other helpful therapies besides the 13 we've covered in these pages. Some others worth considering include:
Alexander Technique teachers believe pain can follow if a person does not hold the head properly over the spinal cord. This therapy reeducates your body about the right way to move, breaking bad habits and teaching ways to maintain posture and relieve tension. For a list of teachers in your area, contact the North American Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique at 800-473-0620 or www.alexandertech.com. For general information on how to improve posture and motion, read Back Trouble (Triad Publishing Company, 1987) by Deborah Caplan.
Using devices such as thermometers and electrodes, biofeedback patients learn to monitor their bodies' reaction to outside and inner stimuli. Then they retrain their bodies to respond differently--in pain-free ways. The latest research involves people with fibrornyalgia; patients learn how to alter their brain-wave patterns to match the patterns of people who aren't in pain, says Rob Kall, spokesman for the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB). To locate a biofeedback specialist, send an SASE to AAPB, 10200 W. 44th Ave., #304, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-2840 or visit its website at www.aapb.org.
- Egoscue Method
According to this therapy, injury can prevent the body from moving the way it's supposed to. As a possible result, chronic pain sets in, muscles atrophy, and the body deviates from its natural musculoskeletal design. Egoscue exercises can help undo the damage. To teach yourself some of the exercises, read Pain Free!(Bantam Books, 1998) by Pete Egoscue.
Pain is the body's response as it tries to heal itself, says Dana Ullman, M.P.H., owner of Homeopathic Educational Services in Berkeley, Calif. The quality of the pain, as well as the patient's reaction to it, help determine the right homeopathic remedy. For example, Coffea is good for headaches accompanied by restlessness, while Byronia is better for headaches aggravated by motion and accompanied by extreme thirst. See a homeopathic practitioner for chronic pain. For acute pain you can try an over-the-counter single or combination remedy; for guidance read Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine (Tarcher/Putnam, 1997) by Ullman and Stephen Cumming, M.D. For a directory of homeopathic practitioners, contact Homeopathic Educational Services at 510-649-0294 or www.homeopathic.org.
If ligaments become stretched, joints loosen and muscles tense up. To stimulate the formation of new cells, prolotherapists inject the ligaments where pain is held with concentrated solutions such as dextrose, a corn extract. The ligaments should then strengthen, the joint should be held firmly in place, and the painful trigger points in the muscles can relax. To locate a prolotherapist, contact the American Association of Orthopedic Medicine at 800-992-2063. --C.H.