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6 Ways to Treat Pain

People frustrated by traditional medicine sometimes turn to non-medicinal forms of treatment for relief. Find out how some of these alternative treatments may actually benefit you. (Remember to always discuss these options with your doctor beforehand to make sure you are a good candidate for treatments of any kind.)

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1. Acupuncture

An ancient Chinese technique, acupuncture involves inserting thin needles at specific points on the body to treat disease. Some Western doctors now use acupuncture, or else refer patients to practitioners, to alleviate such ailments as stubborn back or joint pain or chronic headache.

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2. Chiropractic

The manipulation of the spinal column to treat disease was long condemned by the medical profession. Recent studies show, however, that it can relieve back and neck pain. Licensed in all provinces, chiropractors cannot perform surgery or prescribe drugs.

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3. Herbalism

Herbalists use plants to treat and prevent many illnesses. While some remedies may contain valuable ingredients, keep in mind that many plants are toxic. Check with your doctor to make sure that an herbal medication is safe for you to take.

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4. Homeopathy

This approach uses etremely diluted solutions of substances that, in large doses, can cause symptoms similar to the ailment. For instance, a solution of poison ivy or poison oak may be prescribed for dermatitis. Many traditional doctors attribute homeopathic cures to suggestion, but some believe they merit further study.

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5. Naturopathy

The field of naturopathy incorporates several alternative therapies, including herbal and homeopathic remedies. Although not licensed to prescribe drugs unless they are medical doctors as well, naturopaths sometimes work with traditional doctors.

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6. Osteopathy

Osteopathy is recognized as largely equivalent to traditional medicine. Practitioners emphasize a holistic approach that includes massage and manipulation, but they are also trained in conventional medicine and to practice surgery. However, there are still few osteopaths in Canada.