What Can Holistic Care Provide for Patients with Chronic Pain?
Human health is extremely complex. While researchers and doctors know a lot about how to keep us healthy and safe, there’s still a lot that isn’t well-understood. Standard medical practices often involve using treatments that address the symptoms but do not take other factors into account.
People with chronic pain know all too well that there are limitations on what standard medical treatments can do safely. Prescription pain medication, for instance, can be extremely effective initially, but may become less effective or might cause physical addiction.
Chronic pain is frustrating and can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. Holistic medicine, which focuses on the “whole,” takes into account physical and mental health. It even considers emotional and spiritual health in healing problems like pain. In holistic medicine, it’s recognized that all of these elements are interconnected and affect one another.
So, how can holistic care help patients with chronic pain? Can it be more effective than medications and other treatments? Here’s what you need to know.
The Benefits of Holistic Care
Treatments in holistic medicine vary but may include options like acupuncture, meditation, herbal remedies, and changes to the patient’s physical environment. Holistic care offers many benefits.
First, patients are actively involved in their care. Holistic care involves a lot of self-reflection and checking in with your body and mind. Care providers customize the treatment plan to the individual and make sure that patients are involved in the decision-making process. It’s a lot more collaborative and personalized than standard medicine.
Holistic medicine is often cheaper than conventional healthcare, especially for chronic conditions. Over time, medications and conventional treatments can add up for people who experience chronic pain. While holistic medicine isn’t free and may not be covered by insurance, it can be more affordable overall
But the biggest benefit of holistic care for most people is that it doesn’t just look at the symptoms and try to treat them directly. It considers a person’s overall wellness and balance. It takes into account their emotional and spiritual health, their lifestyle, and their environment.
In essence, holistic health is about improving a person’s whole life to improve their health. The field recognizes the complexity of well-being and the myriad factors that may affect a person’s health. This can often lead to better outcomes for people struggling with pain.
Some people dismiss holistic care as ineffective or “woo woo,” but there are lots of benefits to trying the “natural” route for chronic pain. In fact, holistic care can be a great addition to standard treatment practices as they can complement each other well.
It’s important to remember that holistic care and traditional healthcare are two different fields. They use different methods, but that doesn’t mean they are in opposition to each other. Open-minded medical professionals often recommend combining the two approaches for better results.
Holistic Care in Healthcare
One of the biggest challenges in using holistic care in the conventional healthcare system is getting healthcare providers to collaborate without clashing. It can also be challenging to get coverage for alternative therapy under some insurance plans.
This is a shame, as there are some patients who swear by holistic remedies. For chronic pain, anything that can potentially work should be explored, especially if the side effects are minimal. Holistic care also encourages better lifestyle choices and preventative care, which can reduce healthcare costs and help people to become healthier overall.
Luckily, more healthcare providers are becoming more accepting of holistic methods and are even recommending them to patients instead of or in addition to conventional medications and pain management techniques. Education will be key in bringing holistic care into the fold of the healthcare field and improving coverage for patients.
Holistic Care: The Patient-Centered Approach We Need
Integrating holistic care into the healthcare system should not be challenging. It’s a patient-centered approach that can potentially help to reduce prescription drug use and expensive, painful treatments. While it can’t help every patient eliminate their pain entirely, it can help every patient better understand their health so they can take charge of their well-being.
Incorporating holistic medicine does not mean dismissing the importance of conventional therapies. It is extremely important to provide necessary treatments depending on the patient’s needs. What it does mean is that healthcare providers need to look beyond the symptoms and consider the whole person in front of them when providing treatment recommendations.