Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tai Chi Tuesday: Holistic Approach to Fighting Pain Takes Root in American Medicine

There is no panacea for pain. We can take a pain reliever, but that masks the symptoms. Doctors are beginning to join forces with patients to alleviate the root of the problem — or, barring a cure, manage chronic pain.

According to the AARP, doctors have begun to use a holistic approach, joining mind and body, with long-term management options for chronic pain of arthritis, injury or other ailments.

Not surprisingly, one of the key elements of chronic pain management is exercise: tai chi, yoga and dance, to name a few. Doctors already have identified the value of tai chi with heart patients and stroke patients and also have identified its importance to bone health.

The AARP Bulletin article "Fight Pain" (April 2013) lists not only tai chi, but acupuncture and massage among the tools doctors have begun using to treat chronic pain (which, according to the article, "becomes a disorder in its own right").

In these cases, doctors prescribe pills and other medications cautiously because the relief is temporary and limited. Escalating doses don't always help and often lead to dependence on the medication.

To find a tai chi class near you, check with your local parks and recreation department or check with the International Taoist Tai Chi Society.

For those who can't easily make it to class: consider using a DVD at home. E-mail me for some suggestions.

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